Never Have I Ever…

Written by Diego Sanchez

The day started when our group headed to “La Casa de Tiburon”. It begun like every other day we spent in Costa Rica—the schedule was very spontaneous and I never knew what to expect. The beautiful walk up to “La Casa de Tiburon”, or Tiburon’s House, the path seemed so unreal with the road filled by green scenery and bamboo trees. As the sun beat hard overhead, I decided to wear my Ray Ban sunglasses. Although not the best idea

to take these glasses on the trip, it was hard to leave them behind after I had taken them with me to every destination I traveled to in college. Once we arrived to the house, I was amazed by the structure, seeming less like a house and more like a vacation home, made from bamboo and other locally cut wood from the area. The first thing I did was rush to take as many pictures from the home looking out on the picturesque scenery of La Cangreja National Park in the distance.

I decided to head over to the bathroom and by no surprise, there was yet another composting toilet!

One of many glamorous wooden compost toilets we encountered on our trip.
One of many glamorous wooden compost toilets we encountered on our trip.

This one was a bit different, however, and not because it actually had a toilet seat, but because when I opened the top, down below there was a dark, black layer of 2-3 inch large cockroaches! I was astonished and decided to take a picture. Little did I know, I had forgotten that I placed my sunglasses on my head. As I leaned forward to take a picture of the cockroaches at the bottom of the composting toilet, my sunglasses fell into the 4-foot deep composting toilet.

Let's play a game.  Find the glasses in the pile of cockroaches!
Let’s play a game. Find the glasses in the pile of cockroaches!

I stood in shock, not knowing how to react to the situation at hand.  Our instructor, Jennifer called over Ryan, one our awesome tour guides throughout the trip, and he tried to get my sunglasses out. Minutes passed by without success. I was creating such a scene because I did not know what to do, when someone suggested moving the toilet and reaching in to grab the sunglasses. I looked at the people around me and their looks said it all.

“Diego, how badly do you want your glasses?” Someone asked from the crowd.

I wanted them back so badly, and I knew I had to reach in the composting toilet, surrounded by cockroaches, and grab them. I posed for several pictures as I reached in—I then realized this would definitely be a story for the books.

This experience taught me about willingness to do new things, and how effective it is to push boundaries I never thought could be reached before. Much like every activity on the trip, I was pushed to challenge myself in many ways that helped me grow and see things from new perspectives.

Sometimes there are invisible boundaries, which we set up for ourselves that makes us stay enclosed and allow us to live in fear. Never have I ever imagined myself reaching into a compost toilet for something I valued so much. This program and specifically this experience sparked curiosity in me and I have taken away the value of “willingness” to find new life experiences that at the moment may seem challenging, but will turn into memories shared with other individuals I can reflect and look back on.

The post-compost toilet cleaning of the glasses
The post-compost toilet cleaning of the glasses