I usually do longer, more formal reviews, but I think I'll save that for when you post the rest of this story. That's a hint. I'd like to read more about this character. For now I'll just give you my impressions.
I like what you've done.You've skillfully created a visual scene that is easy to imagine. Great choice of adjectives in every description. Clean, concise writing with a good mix of long and short sentences.
Very atmospheric. I can feel the rain, smell the dirty streets, sense the poverty. I've never been to Costa Rica and never seen a barrio, but I now have a good idea of what it is to walk through one.
I don't have any real criticisms, other than that you left me hanging, wanting to know more. But that's good.
Oh, I guess I should find something negative to comment on. I always find that totally positive reviews are gratifying, but don't help me much to develop.
1 - Punctuation:
a) "The smell of poverty is pervasive and in the rain; Lomas smells like a dirty, wet dog." Great sentence, but I think you need "The smell of poverty is pervasive, and in the rain Lomas smells like a dirty, wet dog."
b) "garbage washes down the gutters plugging the few drain grates" - need a comma between 'gutters' and 'plugging' or a minor sentence rearrangement.
c) "electrified wire these fences" - same deal, needs a comma between 'wire' and 'these'.
Anyway, punctuation is a job for your editor, and it doesn't detract from your piece.
2 - A couple of spelling mistakes. I'll let you find them.
2 - I wasn't sure what bothered me about "It occurs to me, not for the first time, that life often sucks." Then it occurred to me . Your character is so well-spoken and observant of life that I would expect a line with a bit more of a philosophical tone. The line seems a tiny bit out of synch with the rest of the character's persona. There are certainly a lot of interesting ways to say that "life sucks."
3 - You've got the color nailed. Now you need to get into some action between characters and some dialog. That will really flesh it out and draw the reader in.
Let me address the questions you asked.
You definitely have an aptitude for writing, to put it mildly. You caught my interest in the first two paragraphs, and I'm not a patient reader. I start a lot of pieces here and give up in the first five minutes. I only comment to an author if I see something that pulls me in.
You should definitely continue screaming therapeutically. On to a word document. And when you're done, post it here for all of us to hear.
Maybe we just come from similar places and that's why your writing gets to me so easily. I'm almost your age, live in a place that starts with 'C', have been a million places and done two million things to make a living, started writing in public relatively recently and have a wife for a first critic and editor. However, she does speak English, so I guess maybe she is a harsher critic than your wife.
Again, very good scene, and I would really like to see what you develop this into. Please continue with this story. And others.
I gave you a 4.5, because only Ian Rankin, Roddy Doyle, Tom Robbins, Barbara Kingsolver and Dennis Lehane get 5.0. Maybe a few others.
allenalien aka Jeff