This is a snapshot into the life of a child growing up in an SOS family in Costa Rica. Oscar* is eight years old and lives in SOS Children’s Village Tres Ríos.
At 5 am every morning, Oscar is one of the first to get up in the house. Once SOS mother Tania wakes him up, he's ready to brush his teeth and start the day. He loves mornings. Breakfast is always Gallo Pinto (a traditional Costa Rican dish of cooked rice, black beans and spices).
"I love Gallo Pinto and I always ask mom to cook it," says Oscar.
When a day is so full of activities, bedtime is always at the same time at 8pm, because the next day is another early wake-up call. However, on weekends, that may change a bit.
"Sometimes we can stay up a little bit later, if there is something good on television or if I am chatting to my brothers. But, if there’s nothing good, I go to sleep at our normal time," says Oscar.
There are three SOS children’s Villages in Costa Rica, with altogether 35 SOS families providing loving care to 272 children. Oscar lives in SOS mother Tania’s family with eight other siblings.
SOS Children’s Village Tres Ríos is the oldest in Costa Rica, having opened its doors in 1975.
Due to child privacy restrictions, it is unlawful to show images of children in Costa Rica, but Oscar wanted to show his world in 24 hours.
This photo essay depicts 24 hours with Oscar.
05.00 - Oscar is one of the first to get up. Once SOS mother Tania wakes him up, he's ready to brush his teeth and start the day.
05.30 – Breakfast is always Gallo Pinto (a traditional Costa Rican dish of cooked rice, black beans and spices). "I love Gallo Pinto and I always ask mom to cook it," says Oscar.
07.00 - "I like Maths and English, although I still do not know many words," says Oscar about his favourite moments in school. In his class there are more than 20 lively children, but almost always they pay attention to what the teacher says. They also have lunch there.
13.00 - Accompanied by an SOS aunt, Oscar and some of his brothers walk 300 meters from the bus station.
On the way home they usually eat fruit, like mango. "It's one of the fruits I like the most," says Oscar.
13.30 - When they get back home, Oscar and his brothers must leave their clothes in the laundry room and wash the things from their backpacks, like their water bottles. "He is one of the most ordered, although sometimes I have to remind him of the bottle," says Tania, smiling.
14.00 - Shortly after arriving home, Oscar sits with his mother to review homework and talk about what happened at school that day. It is also time for Tania to see if the school sent her any reports.
15.30 - Once a week Oscar travels almost 40 minutes, by bus, with one of the SOS aunts (assistant caregivers) to go swimming in Cartago. "I'm learning, but I really enjoy the pool. Although I still can’t swim much without the kick-board."
17.30 - If there is still energy, when he gets back home, Oscar has some time to play with his brothers on the trampolines or to play with a ball. However, when winter arrives, it usually rains in the late afternoon, which forces them to play inside.
19.00 - After playing and taking a shower, dinner time may include a delicious soup with chicken, very useful to recharge energies for the next day. "At school they always tell us that we are at the age where we still grow and that we have to eat well, so I pay attention," says Oscar between each bite.
Canadians wishing to help children like Oscar are encourage to sponsor a child, sponsor a Village or make a one-time donation. Your support will help change the lives of orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. Please help today.