Hello PURA VIDA team and Happy Hippos! ☺
By the time you read this, you will all be wandering off to new adventures! Either at home, school, vacation, or with other communities.
It seems like yesterday that we were at the airport, welcoming a group of 23 energetic and warm-hearted students. YOU! Our very first day, all eating rice and beans and POPS together and getting ready to meet our hundreds of new dog friends.
But first, let’s remember San Jose! Lunch at La Tortilleria and touring the town- history, sights, coffee tasting… and Joe! After we broke off into small groups to practice our Spanish with locals. It’s no surprise that Kelly’s group won the challenge! 😉 Churros and staring at a tree untill we convinced others to follow – memorable! Also, “donde estas” instead of “como estas” was unforgetable as well ☺
We finally arrived at Territorio de Zaguates to meet our new friends. Spending time every day around so many dogs was so amazing! Groups worked extremely well together and over the two weeks, we worked on a beautiful mural at the front gate painting a sloth, toucan, mango trees… and let’s not forget the day when Alvaro came to visit, surrounded by dogs, a flood of dogs!!! We also continued tiling the much needed vet clinic, and pushed ourselves to dig holes, mix cement, and build a fence for the cat house. When that was done, we got a big group together to build a long fence around the entire property! You all learned a lot from service by doing something new – and we are glad we were there to see this process happening. All our hard work paid off and we were able to pet lots of dogs throughout our time at TdZ.
The hike with all the dogs and staff from Territorio was awesome; how many people can say that they hiked surrounded by literally hundreds of dogs while admiring beautiful views of Alajuela and San Jose?
You were one of the most hard working groups! You knew very well that we have an aim to everything we do… and that we also have fun!
GLA is all about learning, service, but also about fun and we had so much of it. The adventure days were exhilarating! We zip lined over rivers and through the jungle, enjoyed a nature walk where we saw wild animals, and took an aerial tram to the top of the canopies!
Who could forget the hot springs?! We had a relaxing day with awesome views, great food, birthday cake and an awesome yoga class.
What about the coffee tour? We learned A LOT about coffee and got to try a bunch along the way and our hosts there were super funny.
Our student led activities were fun as well. It was obvious we had a lot of natural leaders in the group. We remember cheerleading, games, soccer in the park, and we all enjoyed having fun and working together as a team.
Also, we visited together Zoo Ave rescue center and found out the story about Grecia- the famous rescued toucan with the reconstructed beak. It’s amazing to see how technology can change the life of animals and the passion that people have for improving wildlife. Let’s not forgt that we also enjoyed ice cream and smoothies at the same place!
Then there was the waterfall hike! We pushed ourselves to climb down, then up, 42 flights of stairs to see one of the tallest waterfalls in Costa Rica up close! It was so beautiful to be surrounded by pure nature, walls of moss, and to hear the strong sound of the waterfall.
Thanks to an addition in the schedule, we got to have a beach day! We met our awesome team of instructors, enjoyed surfing lessons, playing soccer on the beach, and having fun together in the sun. Burritos for lunch aaand… pizza for dinner!
Back at work, TdZ staff handed armfuls of puppies to be washed and had a puppy circle in the sun to dry them off and keep them warm. Level of cuteness- overwhelming!!!
Our final hike with the dogs was challenging, but rewarding. Seeing hundreds of dogs run free and cuddle with us reminded us why we were there in the first place.
Every day with you felt like a blessing and we are thankful that we got to watch you all step out of your comfort zones and grow as leaders. You were all very open minded and adapted to the local culture well.
Our wish is that you will continue to grow every day, and that the new perspectives you gained in Costa Rica will help you take initiative to positive impact your communities at home, and that is wherever in the world your home may be. You all have such great energy, I hope you spread it everywhere you go!
Thank you so much for being part of this Costa Rican adventure, we also learned so many cool things from you!
The best is yet to come!
-Samara, Kelly, Pepe, Daniel and Ricardo