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My Journey in Costa Rica

by Sheida Kaola Idjilani, Fundpro Philippines

Team Manager

I was born to be a dreamer, it’s about time to make my childhood imaginary world turn into reality. The world is wide to be stuck within the four walls of our homes and be comfortable with our comfort zones. The clock ticks. It is now or never.

These are the words I said to myself when I was offered to work abroad in Costa Rica as a professional fundraiser, changing the lives of children while making my own story. I wish to believe that it was adrenaline pumping through my veins that made me feel the unexplainable emotion. I was uncertain of what was about to unfold or what would happen, but one thing I am certain of is this is possible, and nothing can beat the character of perseverance and determination.

This experience that FundPro gave me and my colleagues is truly a pride for being a pioneering batch to be sent internationally. No one knew how it would be and what’s gonna be, but instead,

we chose to trust the process and be with the flow of the river. And saying yes to this has been so far the wildest yet the best teacher I have experienced.

We worked with local ticos and ticas fundraisers here in Costa Rica campaigning for UNICEF - para cada infancia. Ida, Krisha, and I were placed with a great host for the first two months. The owner of the Airbnb was so hospitable, generous, and loving. They made us feel like home away from home. We even called them Mama and Papa. But the language was a challenge for us in conversing with the people. Even I, who has knowledge of the language, was also challenged when we immersed ourselves in the culture of the country. When we also started with our fieldwork, we were thrilled by the people that we got to talk to but it never stopped us from hitting our daily target and our willingness to set the expectations for the team both in Costa Rica and the Philippines on our first day. As days, weeks, and even months went by we were able to adjust and become more comfortable with the people we got to talk to and the team. 

To our surprise, the three-month target was hit in two months. When times aren't sure if we can work it out, we set the mindset of being a victor. We toured the country, got to know more of the people, friendly enough to the staff on where we were assigned, and made sure that we left a good impression on every ticos and ticas of how Filipinos are. It always made our day when our donors would always say “I like you, you’re so friendly” “You’re so enthusiastic” “Thank you for being here” and “I love Filipinos.” These statements would make us kilig because we felt like we were taking pride, not just for us but for the whole Filipino fundraising industry and the country.

The dream to work and experience hustle while immersing ourselves in a foreign country is not easy. But the moment you step into it, you must embrace what comes along the way and you are firm with your ultimate goal. I must admit that it changed a part of me, for the better. It opened a lot of perspectives and taught me significant events in life. I know that this time and again, I will keep remembering those beautiful people whom I met at the crossroads of life - the staff, the Uber drivers, the stories of different people we talked to, the team in Costa Rica, and random persons we met. 

I have learned that the world is healing while maintaining its beauty. Many are feeling the tickles to get on our path just to experience what we had - waking up in an unknown land, embracing authenticity, and cultural diversity. 

I am humbled and honored that FundPro made me experience this opportunity that not everyone would have this door. A rare story of being in a company that makes you wander the world while learning, earning, and helping. This helped me heal, and feel happier, freer, and more alive while soaking in every bit that the journey has to offer. 

Again, the world is wide, and life is short. Let us all be out there and be completely in the moment.

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