Saturday, May 06, 2006



Today was the feria for the Cloud Forest School, where Kevin and Catie go to school. This is an opportunity for the school to raise money by selling food, used clothes and sponsoring games. I volunteered to help with the cachivache, the used clothes sale. At our last parents' meeting, we were asked to come to help out at the school around 1:00 pm on Thursday. Only two other mothers turned up, so we got to work opening bags and bags and more bags of used clothes that had been donated for the sale. The clothes were stored in the prepa classroom, and so we had to carry everything up to the colegio, which under normal circumstances is a pleasant walk uphill through the woods. It was less pleasant lugging several hefty bags full of clothes. We worked until 4:00 pm, and realized that we would need to come back on Friday to finish.

On Friday morning I picked up my new friend Lidieth and we drove to the school together. Her daughter Rosie is in Kevin's grade, but in another class. We were the only volunteers, and so we got to work separating all the clothes. We had a lot of fun because some of the clothes were pretty outrageous, straight out of the '70's. Some of them looked like they might have come with the first wave of Quackers. (Monteverde was founded by a group of Quakers from the southern U.S. in the 1950's.) We worked until school was dismissed at noon, and then figured we would all go have lunch at my house and come back and finish up.

The car wouldn't start when we went to leave. This happens with some frequency, and I have to take my wrench and bang on the battery cables, which usually fixes it, and the car starts. No such luck. A teacher at the school, Kevin, tried to jump the car, and when that didn't work, tried to clean out the alternator and then checked the battery water level. That didn't work either. I called the taller where I had taken the car earlier in the week to fix the brakes, clean out the air filter and afix the rear view mirror, and Ramon and Carlos were there within minutes to check it out. They didn't have any luck either. They checked all the fuses, admitted defeat, and said they would be RIGHT BACK with more tools. I should not have believed them. An hour later when they hadn't returned I called the taller to find out where they were, and the manager expressed surprise because he thought they had already fixed my car. They were back working in the taller and hadn't said anything to anyone. ARGHHH! I couldn't get angry; the manager called me Donita and said he would take care of it. Sure enough, the owner Jorge arrived on the scene in about 5 minutes. He deduced that the alarm system had somehow cut off the supply of gasoline to the engine, and said he'd have to tow the car back to the taller. This involved tying my car to his car using a length of fireman's hose. We all piled into Jorge's car and drove back to the taller, towing the Land Rover. Jorge told me he would work on the car in the morning, which he did. He never did find out what was wrong... after giving up on it, he started the car and it started. And he only charged me 15,000 colones, which is about $30.

Back to the cachivache - I didn't realize that I had the key to the classroom where the cachivache was to take place, and there was an eager crowd waiting to get in at 9:30 am for the sale which started at 10. One of the teachers had to break in, as no one knew who had the key. I got there right at 10, and the sale was in full swing. It was like a scene from Filene's Bargain Basement on a holiday sale day. I had no idea the cachivache would be so popular. It makes sense, though. There is really nowhere to shop in Monteverde, and new clothes are rather expensive. The prices at the cachivache were 300 colones (about $.60) for all the women's and children's clothing, and 500 colones (about $.95) for all the pants, shorts and skirts. Such a deal! I had to leave to pick up my car before the taller closed at noon, and so I couldn't stay until the end of the sale at 1:00 p.m. I'm sure the school made a lot of money even though everything was so cheap because we sold so many things.

Kevin bought himself two pairs of overalls, 4 shirts (one of them says "WANTED: Will trade sister for new bike", and one is a Life is Good t-shirt), 2 hats and a belt for approximately $6.00. I got 2 pairs of shorts, three shirts, a skirt and two scarves. Catie bought a stuffed cat that has a pouch for the baby kitty. A good time was had by all!

Kevin and I modelled some of our purchases when we got home.

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