Time Capsule Letter
Believe it or not, our time in Costa Rica has come to a close! We remember bouncing up and down on the horses as they trotted through the mud, the impromptu cake and dancing in the restaurant in Orosí, and our final affirmation circle that left us all feeling so good afterwards. If we could rewind time, we would do it all again to cherish the moments that flew by so fast. We hope that you have gotten off to a strong start this school year, or are making the most of whatever opportunity you’ve chosen to pursue this fall. Each mentor is back in their home city, busy teaching and reminiscing on our impactful three weeks we spent together in Costa Rica
Rest assured that in each community we entered, you left your mark. Our journey began in Liberia where we were hosted by Don Jose and Doña Sharon. Your kind spirits and boisterous laughs made our hosts feel apart of the GLA family. Secondly, our team of awesome VIDA vets led us through Martina Bustos, where we conducted family visits and received an eye opening outlook into what life is like for many Costa Ricans. In Cañas Dulces, you worked alongside the vets to perform surgeries on cats and dogs, which ultimately helped create a healthier community for pets to live in and educated their owners on safe animal ownership practices. In Orosi, you shared your love with the dogs in the Asociacion Voz animal-refugio pet shelter, taking them on walks and beautifying their home.
One thing we can’t forget about is all of our community bonding time during siesta and activities. From white water rafting to ziplining through the canyons, we hold those moments dear to our hearts in which we were able to form genuine friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime. We experienced Costa Rica culture by learning how to dance to criollo music and making ceviche. Our host Marvin Sr. took us on a trip to his cow hotel, where we got a deeper look into how milk is processed and livestock is cared for. On the beach trip to Playa Grande, you had local surfers teach you how to ride the tico waves. Pura Vida!!
Remember your mentor group’s OMG – “One Meaningful Goal” – that we created at the end of the session? Delonte’s mentor group pledged: to use our experiences from Costa Rica in order to improve our community and ourselves. Hannah’s mentor group pledged: to take advantage of the opportunities presented to you, to give back to your community, and to be grateful for all that you have. Lastly, Kasia’s mentor group pledged: to look at yourself. Do you like where you are right now? If not, take action to your own hands. Remember to always be grateful and positive. Pura vida!
We would love to know how that is going! Have there been any changes in your home or local community? Let us know!
Delonte, Kasia, and Hannah
Thursday July 11, 2019
All students arrived safe and sound in San Jose on Thursday and we were thrilled to meet our second group for the summer! After a long day of travel (for most) we made our way to our Hostel Lajuela where we ate a delicious fresh lunch of veggies, falafel, and pineapple chicken. Students then spent time getting settled in their rooms and getting to know one another.
Many even jumped into games playing cards and of course, one of our favorites, Uno! When the majority of students had arrived we made a quick visit to the local bank where students exchanged money and then had a chance to purchase a few snacks for our travel day to Liberia tomorrow.
It was a great opportunity to get a little taste of San Jose before we embark to Liberia for the week! We closed the night with a scrumptious dinner- filled with more fresh and hot local foods. We are so excited to have this next group and are looking forward to our first orientation and travel day tomorrow! Pura Vida 🙂
Friday July 12, 2019
Today we went on our first community service mission: Family visits. We visited the homes of some families in Liberia with pets, and did a survey about their animals living conditions and animal welfare, and further educated the families on how to improve their pets life with what they have. We also de-wormed and gave them flea and tick medicine, which gave students a hands on experience. It was a very culturally emerging experience for students, and also was an eye opening opportunity.
Saturday July 13, 2019
Today was pretty cool. NEVER a dull moment. We woke up before 7 am, which was a first time in a long time for me. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were solid. I garnered a group consensus that the pink drink tasted like bubblegum-flavored medicine, but some people liked it so I don’t know. Group activities were fun. The bus was loud as always. I heard someone’s pet peeve is people being loud. Colby had trouble with a riddle.
We laughed at him. Will tried to show everyone his “magic trick” to which everyone was disappointed. Many bracelets were made. Group activities were fun. Speed-dating and capture the flag was fun. Multiple points in CTF were taken away because they kept changing the rules, but the winners indeed still won like it’s nothing. Shoutout to Kylie for a clutch flag capture and Will for putting his body on the line to win the game. He ran into a bush. He has cuts across his back.
Sunday July 14, 2019
Today was our first clinic day!! We woke up bright and early at 6:00 to eat breakfast at 6:30, which was gallo pinto, eggs, and toast. Then, we went to the clinic to participate in surgery on the animals. While only some of us had the chance to work as an assistant surgeon, the rest of us were “anesthesiologists” and learned to record the heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, and more during intake, surgery, and recovery. We met some very good dogs and cats and finished early with a very successful first clinic day overall.
After we got back to the hotel, we had a very delicious lunch, which was salad, beans, and rice. During “siesta time” we continued making friendship bracelets. Some of us even learned how to make them correctly today!! We then took a short trip to a town in Liberia, where we had ice cream, danced to music, ate some food, and met some cute dogs!
After that, we took a quick stop at Walmart to get some snacks, necessities, and matching clothing. When we got back to the hotel, we quickly reflected on our day and ended with dinner of chicken with vegetables, corn, and French fries prepared by the fabulous Don Juan and Doña Sharron. We can’t wait to spend more quality time together the rest of this trip. ¡Pura vida!
Monday July 15, 2019
Today was an adventurous day. We did so many fun activities like zip-lining, horse back riding and even went to a black sand beach. We started our day at 8 o clock with horse back riding. We rode horses through a beautiful Costa Rican forest until we reached a cove that had a really cool waterfall. After we finished swimming we hopped back on our horses and headed back to go zip-lining.
Zip-lining was so much fun and contained many different activities like rock climbing and even a rope swing. Later in the day it began to get cloudy although we still went to the beach. Swimming in the crashing waves, looking for hermit crabs in the tide pool, and the overall exploration of the beach made the day complete. When we were all in the ocean we had sand fights and splashed in the water. At the end of the beach day it started to pour so we had to rush to get our stuff but the rain just added to the fun.
-by Matthew P.
Wednesday July 17, 2019
Today started bright and early at 7 when we departed, after an amazing breakfast of pancakes, for our last day of service.
We spent the next 5 hours working hard, and were able to spay 3 cats and 6 dogs. After service we headed home to have lunch and say goodbye to our amazing vets who accompanied us in the clinic.
Later, we went across the street to hop in the pool, play paintball, or hang out and watch.
We had chow circle which is when we all talk about our day or write in our journal. Dinner time!!
For dinner we had spaghetti and salad! It was delicious. Now everyone’s favorite part of the day… siesta. Then bed time, for our big beach day tomorrow.
-by Toby M.
Saturday July 20, 2019
Today was our first full day in Orosí. We started the day by going to an animal shelter. At the animal shelter we scraped paint off the walls, painted the cages, weeded the garden, played with the dogs, and took the dogs for a long walk. There was this one dog that especially stood out to us. We called her big chungus because she was overweight but very cute. She was so sweet and loved to get belly rubs. Although it was not as educational as working with the vets, it still felt good to help those in need.
After our work at the animal shelter, we went back to the hotel where we were met with a brief lunch complete with a chocolate banana smoothie and scrumptious mashed potatoes. For our afternoon activities, we traveled to a popular mirador site with the most beautiful views. We all had a great time watching the boys goof around with their photo poses. For our next stop we traveled to some ruins next to a playground where we all took turns showing off our gymnastic skills and athleticism. To top off our afternoon we stopped at a smoothie shop and stocked up on snacks.
Overall it was yet another great day in Costa Rica and we can’t wait to spend more time here.
-by Mia and Colby
Sunday July 21, 2019
This morning we returned to the shelter to continue painting and walking the dogs. Attempts to adopt a few of the dogs were made again to no avail.
We went hiking up a trail by our hotel after lunch to the hotel owner’s home. The hike was tough but the view was worth it. On the way down we either ran or walked which was fun. We then had siesta where we bonded with each other some more. After dinner we got dance lessons from the hotel owner’s son.
Monday July 22, 2019
Today the GLA group went to Haciendas, a hot springs oasis. There were three different pools, one hot, one warm and one cool. The hot springs were high up above the central town of Orosi. The view was absolutely stunning! We spent most of our time relaxing in the steaming pools, or eating food from the bar. I would totally return again, it was one of my favorite experiences so far. Adios! Pura Vida 🙂
Wednesday July 24, 2019
Today GLA groups went to service, then we went hiking at Monte Sky. We are able to go see the beautiful nature of the rainforest and also go to see two different waterfalls. The weather changed on us many times during the trip, it rained a couple of times. Later we returned back to the hotel and ate lunch and after that went into town and bought stuff at a local store.
Thursday July 25, 2019
Today, we took a hour and a half bus ride to the volcano Irazú, it was very cold because we we were at a high altitude so we all came in a circle for body warmth. After the fog cleared up, we were able to see the crater which had a very small and light blue lake at the bottom. We stopped at a overview of the city, and took pictures. When we came back to the hotel, we ate lunch, and had our dance class for an hour. The class was fun and the teacher was very outgoing. After the class, we played capture the flag and a little bit of soccer.
-Moriah Galindo, and Jared Beaufiat
Sunday July 28, 2019
Today we went to the animal shelter again. We were put into 3 groups and rotated bathing the dogs, walking the dogs, and painting the walls. After, we went back to the hotel and wrote for the dogs to post on Instagram to give them more recognition. Then we ate lunch and played soccer. After, we had a cooking class and made mango ceviche which tasted very good. Some of us even tried habanero peppers which were REALLY spicy. We then had a delicious dinner and did a group bonding activity. Afterwards, we went to mentor groups.
Today was such a beautiful day. It was the warmest it’s been in such a long time. Blue skies and barley and clouds, which made it a perfect day for white water rafting. White water rafting was so much fun and very dangerous. The rapids were nothing like I’ve ever seen before. We were in groups of 5 and 6 and had excellent instructors that guided us the whole way. We even got a chance to let our boats become slides and swim in the water. Rafting was definitely a highlight of the trip.
After white water rafting we came back to the hotel, had lunch, then headed off to a beautiful cow farm. The farm was on the edge of a river which was also surrounded by huge green mountains. It was now almost 6 o’clock and we started to get dressed for dinner. Dinner was made up of Costa Rican entertainment and then we had delicious homemade pizza. What an amazing day.