Atmos colleagues in Costa Rica continue to share their community spirit with a surprise visit to Hogar de Ancianos nursing home Piedades de Santa Ana.


While the nursing home is financed by the Costa Rican government, budgets are limited and staff numbers are minimal. What makes this nursing home unique is the residents’ backgrounds, all are at risk and some used to live on the streets. With little family support and limited funds, many are lost in the system with some not having any ID or even knowing their own nationality. While food, shelter and medical care are covered, social inclusion such as entertainment is not. This seemed an ideal opportunity for the creative colleagues from the Atmos Costa Rican office to get involved. As well as talented engineers and project managers, the team has some surprising talents. Included in the Atmos entertainment team were singers, dancers, magicians and even a bingo caller.


The Atmos volunteers arrived at 8.00 am on a beautiful sunny day in Santa Ana, where the nursing home is located. The combined team of 16 employees and two ‘significant others’ were ready to start the day of activities with a mixture of entertainment, social interaction and maintenance support. Looking forward to something different and fun for their weekend, the residents are entertained by Atmos’ very own singer – Fabricio. As well as singing in Spanish, Fabricio has a unique talent – he can sing fluently in Chinese and in English. Each song has a meaning and takes the audience on a cultural journey. For many of the residents, their lives have rich tapestries and music can connect everyone both in the present and in the past. With smiles and applause so early in the morning, the whole experience puts the Atmos team in a good mood, underlining why they take time out of their weekends to give something back to their communities.


Traditional Costa Rican folklore dancing is the next act as Rafael and Rosalyn take the stage. They’re mesmerizing, no one can take their eyes off them and the audience starts dancing in their seats. As the music gets faster, the dancing picks up pace and panache, while residents dance in their seats. For those who are a little more mobile, the dancing duo encourages them to get to their feet and join in.

With a party-like atmosphere now surrounding the residents, Atmos training manager Daniel and his wife Wendolyn present a special version of charades. A resident, Don Javier is on the ball, guessing each one right and is awarded prizes of chocolate.

After the Atmos magicians Cristian Calvo and Jorge Zamora provide some magic, Bingo begins. It would seem the curious convention of naming the numbers travels to every location. In Costa Rica, it is no different with religious connections such as Jesus’ age for 33 and ‘The War’ for 48 (marking the Costa Rican war of 1948). 22 is perhaps universal (a pair of ducks, two little ducks). One of the residents, Don Rafa, wins three times.

As the morning entertainment draws to a close, each of the Atmos volunteers joins residents for lunch sharing a table where storytelling and jokes are told. With lunch over, residents retire for their afternoon rest. On departure, each guest receives a small gift from Atmos while the Atmos team gets a surprise as one of the residents takes to the microphone.

“Before we leave, we want to say something. We’d like to thank the Atmos Volunteers for being with us today and the fun time we had. You have done something very different from what other volunteers do. And thank you for a lunch worthy of a millionaire.”


The day wasn’t over for the Atmos team, however. They then got to work helping the maintenance manager achieve two days of work within 2 hours!

Fabricio Marin, Maintenance Manager for Atmos International, commented “The highlight of my visit was a man called Asdrúbal. He called me after my presentation and told me he was very moved by my singing. He wanted to show me a song he wrote himself and pulled up a notebook full of poems and songs. I then understood he was very passionate about poetry and music. We went outside the hall where the activity was being held to better listen to his song, as he was singing it himself and his voice was no longer very powerful.

“When he started singing, I could hear the joy with which he sang his poem, and I decided I would learn his song and sing it for him. He was quite happy when I told him, and said he looked forward to it. I then took his sister's phone number (he didn't have a cellphone himself) to coordinate the visit. Unfortunately, the current situation regarding Coronavirus has prevented me from visiting him, but once this is all over, I'll make sure to pay him a visit.”

Sister Inés, who runs the Nursing home added: “Thank you for your presence on Saturday, March 7th at the Nursing Home, the activities were received with much joy by the elderly who are very thankful for the attention and details. Also, the Nursing Home would like to thank you for the storage room cleaning. The group showed a high level of maturity, responsibility, and teamwork. Remember that this is your house and you’ll always be welcome here.”