The Odyssey

Making a Difference
Trek Connect
Time Machine

Teacher Zone
Latin America Monica Dispatch

Lemonade with a Nobel Laureate

Oscar and Monica
Phew! I can't believe I just interviewed Oscar Arias, the former President of Costa Rica and 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate!!! By the time of the meeting, my stomach was so full of butterflies from anticipation, I felt sick! My nervousness started when I got an urgent e-mail informing me that I had two days to get to Costa Rica for the interview of a world-famous leader (which you can read about in "I Need to be WHERE?!? WHEN?!?", and it just kept building until the last, slow hours before the meeting. I'll tell you, it was really nerve-wracking!

In the taxi!

The five of us trekkers and two people helping with camera equipment met this morning at 10:00 a.m. We took two taxis to Dr. Arias's house, but we didn't even have to give the taxi-driver the address! Evidently, everyone knows where he lives! In the U.S., if you tried to just drive on in to, say, Ex-President Jimmy Carter's house, you'd probably have to get out your phone book to call for directions. Once you got there, I don't think you would receive the same kind of greeting as we did. Dr. Arias's butler answered the door and showed us into one of the sitting rooms. My knees were shaking!

Shawn got right to work finding the best angle for the light and positioning; the rest of us waited. Kavitha looked at Dr. Arias's pictures of his family and of him with heads of state, while Kevin and I (nervously, of course) practiced the questions. Abeja stayed calm and serene on the leather sofa.

Finally, he arrived. Kavitha had the chance to show him our website, while Abeja explained a little about the Odyssey. After some preparation, much less than what we faced with the Rigoberta Menchu webcast, we were ready: "Estamos listos!"

Oscar Arias and the Team!
Dr. Oscar Arias drank a cup of lemonade without ice, cleared his throat, and proceeded to regale us with his story in the most eloquent language, beautifully phrased thoughts, and very clear voice. Please share the experience of that opportunity with us on our website when we put the audio, video, and written transcripts of the tape online. (If the video tape gets back to the States next Tuesday like it's supposed to, it might be on the website by Friday!)

Let's just say that afterwards, my inspiration was renewed. One person can truly make a difference. If you don't believe me, just read Oscar's Story and find out how one person's diligence and dedication to one thing - the establishment of a lasting peace - can truly affect other individuals, societies, nations, and the world.

PS. Have you written to help Protect Guatemala's Street Children yet? Check it out in Making a Difference!!!


Abeja - Inside the Heart of a Volcano!
Abeja - Eye of a Hurricane: Honduras After Mitch
Kavitha - Oh Say Can't You See? - Bill Clinton's Too-Brief Visit to Nicaragua
Abeja - It's a Bird...It's a Plane...No! It's a Gigantic Doll!!!
Kavitha - A Tale of Two Cities: Nicaragua's Divided History
Meet Monica | Monica's Archive
Meet Monica


  Basecamp | Making a Difference | Guidebook | Trek Connect | Time Machine
Home | Search | Teacher Zone