Tuesday August 6, 2019
Hola from Costa Rica!
We started our first day here by moving into our hostel in Alajuela. As we waited for our peers to arrive, we got to know each other and settled in to our rooms. In the afternoon, we took a walk to the town center and enjoyed some Pops ice cream before the rain started. After dinner, we played an ice breaker game and started learning about what to expect in Animal Rescue Project. We are heading to bed soon, but still expect Ayla, Eve, Tai, Sophia, and Penelope to join us later tonight.
Thursday August 8, 2019
Today was our first day of service with Vida, we commenced home visits for families that are in need of help. In the morning for breakfast we had gallo pinto, toast, bananas, and eggs. During the home visits we got to see how some families in Costa Rica live and helped the animals by giving them flea and tick medication as well as a pill that helps prevent worms.
We did surveys with the owners asking how they take care of their animals. We came back to the hotel and had an amazing meal for lunch including pasta, beans and rice, corn and salad. After lunch we went into town, did a scavenger hunt. It was fun and exciting to be able to explore the town better and to bond with each other.
After the scavenger hunt, we went to an ice cream shop called Pops. After we filled our bellies with ice cream, we went to a super market and explored the different kinds of food and got snacks for ourselves. Tomorrow is our first day of working with the veterinarians, working with the animals. We will be helping with the intake, surgery and recovery of the animals. During this we will be learning, handing the veterinarians tools needed, and helping them as much as needed.
-by Sophie and Milah
Friday August 9, 2019
Today we did a service day at the clinic, where there were three stations to go through; intake, surgery, and recovery. We had groups of three and followed our patients through all stations. We experienced dogs with different conditions and there was also one cat patient. Along with creating a personal bond with all of the patients, we were able to learn and see what really goes on at a vet clinic. It was really nerve-racking to help with surgery, depending on the patient.
Specifically, there was a high-risk patient named Ginger, who had to have a quick spay surgery due to how ill she was. Ginger had a sexually transmitted tumor and an infection from giving birth and has been ill for 11 months. When we did home visits, the owner was reluctant to bring her in, but she thankfully brought her and two other dogs in to get spayed and neutered. Ginger was not expected to make it through surgery, and we were all very emotional, but she made it through surgery and went back home! After a successful day impacting the community, we were able to participate in a soccer game with GLA staff along with a relaxing time at the pool right after.
– by Teagan Widman & Kamyah Hugee
Saturday August 10, 2019
The morning began with bright faces, and even brighter attitudes. We all were eagerly anticipating a fun filled day with high action, life changing experiences. Quickly after the sun rose, we found ourselves eating a scrumptious breakfast. The beautifully prepared meal filled our stomachs with food and our minds with a ravenous need for adventure. With no time to waste, we quickly made haste towards the bus. The bus sped off into the horizon with us, who wanted nothing but a highspeed trip through the canopy. Upon arriving at the zip line facility, we were given a safety briefing followed by getting strapped into the expansive system of wires and rock walls that span across the Costa-Rican canopy.
Like a troop of monkeys, we swung from tree to tree via thick wires hooked into the even thicker trees. After about an hour and a half of high-speed fun, our focuses shifted to the local equestrian population. Each one of us was assigned a horse, the leader of the horse pack Mr. Bean, or as the locals would say, Señor Frijole. We trotted through the jungle and made our way to a cute little waterfall. We jumped, we swam, we splashed, but most importantly, we laughed. When our time at the water was up, we quickly mounted our four-legged friends, and trotted back to the bus. This peaceful mood was so rudely interrupted by the large dark rain clouds looming above. The downpour began! Those of us who didn’t partake int the swimming for fear of getting wet felt like fools. As a group we learned to simply enjoy the downpour.
The horses sped up, and so did the rain. After an eventful 10 or so minutes, we made it back to the bus. The group was sopping wet. After some time to recuperate and lunch, we went to a local beach for an hour or two of much needed relaxation. Upon arriving home, we all took showers and had a good laugh. This was undoubtedly the best day yet. We lived, we laughed, and we learned. The End.
– by Jackson Derrick & Ayla Leuenberger
Sunday August 11, 2019
Today we started the day early and excited to set up the clinic. There were six patients in line before we opened. Today went by quicker since we were all experienced. All of the surgeries were spays and neuters, and we learned a lot about veterinary medicine.
After the clinic, we went to visit Llanos de Cortez and swam in the waterfall. The waterfall was around 60 feet tall, so we were not allowed to jump off. We saw a lot of native animals, like monkeys and scorpions. A scorpion crawled onto a small boy’s shoulder, Max. We headed back home for a well-needed siesta and enjoyed a delicious dinner courtesy of Jose and Sharon.
– by Jared Segota and Eve Pace
Monday August 12, 2019
The morning was bittersweet, both exciting and sorrowful. We all got up early for a delicious breakfast, then quickly moved onto the bus to get the last clinic day started. The clinic started slow, but with some encouragement from the Vida staff we successfully spaded and neutered our nine patients. We then had to give a very heart wrenching goodbye to the lovely Vida staff.
Once we wished the best to the Veterinarians, we came back for a much-needed two-hour siesta. The siesta was followed by a long day of competition. We were split into groups of three and faced off mentally, physically, and socially challenging games. By the end everyone had a great time and got to know each other better. Afterwards, we all gathered together to congratulate each other on our hard work. Today was fun and we are excited to depart to our next hotel and continue our journey to make a change.
Jackson Wentworth & Max C.
Wednesday August 14, 2019
This morning we woke up. We were excited to do service at the dog shelter, but because of poor weather we were not able to. Instead we went to the shelter and introduced ourselves to the dogs and learned how Antonio and his family run the shelter. After that, we went back to the hotel to have our breaktime and lunch. Then we proceeded to go to the aguas termales (hot springs). We spent a couple of hours at the hot springs enjoying our time and becoming closer friends. After that we rode the bus back to the hotel and did our daily chow circle. At the circle we shouted out each other about our special accomplishments we made during that day. In all it was a wonderful day.
-by John and Owen
Thursday August 15, 2019
Today we were able to help Antonio paint the shelter which gave it a more vibrant look and look more inviting. We were also able to walk the dogs in a beautiful setting, which was fun and eye opening to be around animals in a different environment. But we also faced some struggles because some dogs were more difficult than others, but it was fun to learn from each other on how to face those problems. In the afternoon we went on a steep hike up to a big waterfall Monte Sky. It was a challenge to hike, but it was beautiful. We also took a cooking class and learned how to make tortillas.
-by Penelope and Diego
After our 8:00 AM breakfast of eggs, toast, gallo pinto, and ham, our bus driver, Shampoo, hauled us to Antonio’s shelter. There, we participated in an excitingly fun dog walking and painting session. While one group walked dogs, the other group painted the walls and dog cages, after an hour we switched. Our arrival back to the hotel consisted of a quick nap sesh and a glorious lunch consisting of delicious pork and rice. A 30 minute bus ride brought us to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels. At the church we learned about the history and were able to purchase souvenirs and drink holy water. We then ventured to the mall where we were allowed to walk around with a buddy for two hours. We got back to the hotel and had an intense dance session where we learned the ‘Lovers Quarrel’. After dinner we engaged in the leadership activity where we wrote down and discussed our One Meaningful Goal. We are super excited for our last day of service tomorrow!
-by Maisy & Sydney
Saturday August 17, 2019
Today was the final day of service at the shelter. The students spent their morning walking the dogs they have come to love, as well as finishing their painting project at the shelter. Antonio was extremely grateful for all the work students have done this summer, and while it was hard to say goodbye to the sweet pups they have bonded with, the service they completed made a huge difference for Antonio and his family to help them run the shelter. After lunch, we went on an afternoon hike to Turrialba – an active volcano in Costa Rica. We were able to see the impact zone, where trees were burnt from previous eruptions. After an exhausting day, we had a pizza dinner and spent time together.
-by Mentor – Julianne
Sunday August 18, 2019
Today we had breakfast at 8:00 AM at the Tapanti hotel, then we headed out for San Jose. We made a pitstop at a beautiful lookout spot along the way. We arrived in San Jose and went to the souvenir market. We were there for about an hour and 30 minutes. It was very cool, there were a lot of different things, including homemade things. We were all able to purchase souvenirs to bring home to our friends and families! After the market we went to the Hostel where we ate lunch. We then went to Zoo Ave and looked at all the different animals. Zoo Ave is a zoo and rehabilitation center for animals in Costa Rica. We saw a jaguar, mountain lions, moneys, birds, and a sloth. Afterwards we went back to the hostel and had our final dinner. We spent the evening with our friends we have made over the past two weeks and will be sad to leave them tomorrow.
-by Tai and Teagan