Thursday July 12, 2018
The day has finally come! Session 2 of 21-day Animal Rescue project has started and our students have arrived for what will be a fun and fulfilling 3 weeks!
We arrived little-by-little to the airport and met our new GLA family as we arrived to La Juela Hostel. The owner, Laura, welcomed us with open arms and cooked us a delicious lunch and dinner that included local specialties, like Casado for lunch and Patacones for dinner. Once we were (almost) all there, we took a walk around the area, stopping at a local museum and a park. Then we played a friendly competition to learn some local slang. Que chiva, mae!!
That was enough action for arrival day, but we are looking forward to a busy Day 2. Our orientation begins with a swim test and GLA policies. Then we’ll play a name-game, reminding us how we are all connected and here to support each other. Finally, we have our Vida orientation, where we will learn about our responsibilities while working with the travelling veterinarian clinic.
It’s a big day and we can’t wait. We have an amazing group of students that are already bonding and ready for this giant adventure!
Stay tuned for more updates! Pura Vida!!
Saturday July 14, 2018
We started off our third day with a delicious breakfast of eggs, plantains, and, the Costa Rican traditional breakfast dish, gallo pinto. This fueled us for our day of visiting the locals to discuss the meaning of animal welfare with them. The day was hot and humid, but everyone stayed in great spirits and had a fun time! Each student was able to learn and reflect on the drastic differences in the culture and treatment of the animals. Through the help of veterinarians, we suggested ways to improve the quality of life for the animals.
After this trip through the town, we headed back to our hotel, Wilson. On the way, our bus driver spotted a sloth in a tree! We were able to huddle beneath the tree and take pictures for our families to see! We also made a slight detour to the beach. The ocean was beautiful with rolling waves. Perfect for a picture!
By the time we made it back to the hotel, everyone was ready for lunch. Arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), beans and a salad. After our meal, we spent time doing group activities to learn each other’s hopes, fears, and boundaries. Everyone wants to make sure that no one feels disrespected or uncomfortable. To commemorate our aggreements, we joined the locals on a playground and played games in the hotel! Finally, dinner came! After the eventful day, everyone enjoyed hamburgers and fries, or noodles with veggies.
Our amazing student leader of the day, Ava, ended our fantastic day with a fun game of “Ninja”. But unfortunately, the day had to come to an end. Everyone went to bed with the thoughts of our upcoming first “clinic day”!!
-by Sarah C. and Kaya G.
Sunday July 15, 2018
The day started off bright and early at six in the morning. After a filling, delicious breakfast we headed to the bus and made it to the clinic in Parrita.
To begin we established three stations: surgery, intake, and recovery. After the set up we split up into five groups, which consisted of about four to five students who each participated in each station. During intake, the groups were to do a physical examination of basic information such as weight, responsiveness, temperature, and heart rate. We prepared medication for surgery, administered prescription medications for the patient, and then injected the anesthesia into the animal’s muscles. We shaved off the belly to perform the neutering and shaved the wrist to place the catheter.
Subsequently, we placed the animal on the surgery table, while the surgeons place gloves on and get to work on removing the reproductive parts whereas the an-esthetician take the parameters during surgery to ensure there is no abnormal heart rate, capillary refill, or respiratory rate. Once the surgery is completed, we took the patient to recovery and continued taking parameters as well as petting them and ensuring they are comfortable and stable enough to return home.
We finished volunteering at the clinic and headed back to our hotel where we ate lunch, which included veggie wraps, rice, chicken, and salad. After our hard work and constant participation, we earned a break where we could shower, take a nap, or just hangout with friends. Soon our break was over and we headed across the street to play chief and Indians, the activity chosen by leader of the day, mentor groups where we discussed our needs, feelings, and overall well-being. During this time, one of our mentors, Michael, led a Zumba class in the park. It was a fun way to get some exercise in during our busy day.
After a quick break, we met at the bus for dinner. We drove all the way to the next city over: Jaco. After a great dinner we walked next door for good ice cream and milkshakes, then headed back to home base and got ready for a good nights sleep.
-by Ellie M. and Lena B.
Monday July 16, 2018
Today we started our 5th day bright and early at 6am. It was our second clinic day and we were all very excited. We ate a traditional breakfast of eggs and gallo pinto. After a fast set up in the clinic we were ready to start the intake process. Most groups were able to do one surgery while some groups were able to do two. With the help of the vets and vet techs we got seven surgeries done, which was one more than our previous day. Go us!
After a long day at the clinic, we were served a nice lunch of pasta and salad. Once we had our siesta we went into town for a bit and we were able to buy smoothies, clothes, and any toiletries we needed or forgot. Our next group activity was to get into our mentor groups and do a workshop on our self stories. A self story is how you got to where you are and the events or just one event that has shaped you or your values. These stories will be shared in the mentor groups over the next couple of days. These help us get to know each other better. Our leader of the day, Jedidiah, gave great instructions throughout the day and kept us informed on all of our activities. He made sure everyone knew what was happening and when. He also made sure that any questions we had were answered. Lights out tonight at 9:45 so that we can be well rested for our school visit tomorrow!
-by Ava and Anneliese
Tuesday July 17, 2018
We started off the day with a wake up at six fifteen. We had a breakfast with eggs, bread and gallo pinto (rice and beans). We packed and got on the bus at seven thirty with all of our luggage and headed to a primary school in the heart of Parrita.
We used the morning to educate second and third graders on Animal Welfare. We rotated through four stations. Station one was drawing wild animals. Station two was talking about the anatomy of a dog and a fun game of hokey pokey. Station three was talking about what foods dogs can and can’t eat. Station four was the importance of spaying and neutering dogs. At first we thought the language barrier was going to be a challenge but the kids and the GLA family all had a great time.
After we visited the school, we got on the bus and drove about an hour to lunch. The four choices were pizza, pasta, nachos and salad. Although we enjoy rice and beans, it was nice to have a taste of home. After a nice lunch we headed to our next home base in Liberia.
After unpacking a bit we had dinner at the hotel. Then we went into mentor groups to reflect on the day share our stories of self. After mentor groups we had almost 3 hours of chill time until lights out at ten, looking forward to our upcoming beach day!
Wednesday July 18, 2018
As a reward for our hard work yesterday at the school visits, we slept in until 7:30. We ate the normal breakfast of gallo pinto, eggs, plantains and fresh fruit. Following that, piña, our bus driver, took us on a 45 minute ride to the beach.
We were given the option to either paddle board or surf. The group of surfers were taken on a boat ride to a secluded part of the coast to catch better waves and paddle boarders immediately took off from where the bus originally stopped. The surf instructors gave a brief demo of the proper technique, and then we were off to catch some waves. Surfing was a load of fun and the water temperature was perfect. The clear waters helped us beware of the stingrays in the water. The beach also held other activities such as playing soccer, volleyball and tanning.
After eating lunch at the beach, we left in the afternoon and along the way we stopped for some fresh coconuts and some refreshing popsicles. Then we came home for a quick shower and piña took us to the pipe, a traditional Costa Rican restaurant. We were each given five delicious options: chicken, beef, pork, fish, or veggie. Many of us enjoyed some popsicles and cake, and then we came home for some down time and headed to bed early to prepare for our last clinic day.
-Liv and Jacy
Thursday July 19, 2018
Today appeared to be a ruff day since we had to wake up at 5:30am. However, the day became brighter when we arrived at our last location with the traveling clinic and were greeted by 7 little puppies, who stayed to comfort us through a long day. After completing 7 surgeries, we were sadly forced to part from the adorable puppies and more importantly, the vets from Vida that we all came to know and admire.
After a little siesta, we wandered around town to do a bit of shopping and stopped in the park for a group activity. Upon getting back to the hotel, we had some dinner and packed up to get ready for our big upcoming travel day. Next stop is Orosí, our beautiful home base, where we will spend the next 11 days working in an animal shelter.
-Jedidiah and Ruben
Saturday July 21, 2018
Today was our first day of service at the puppy rescue, which is run by Antonio and his mother. We split into groups of five and each group did various tasks like painting the kennels, chipping the paint on the walls, and fixing wood.
We returned to the hotel around 11 and had a siesta, then ate lunch. We went to a viewpoint called Mirador, that had stunning views of the valley of Orosi and the river that runs through it. After, we explored the town where some of us got smoothies or chocolate bananas (and had a dance party in the van as we waited)
When we returned we did a “bookend activity” to debate the topic “should whaling be legal/ what restrictions should there be?”. Each group represented a different organization: Greenpeace, an aboriginal group, a conservation group, and IWC.
We had another siesta and then enjoyed an hour of (long awaited) wifi.
Bye for now!
-Eileen and Jackie
Sunday July 22, 2018
Today we started early, ready to help some doggies. At the shelter we helped chip paint off the walls (so that we can soon paint a new coat), walked some dogs, painted the cages, and collected rocks for a garden. With the dogs there to keep us company, the time flew by.
After service we went back to the hotel for lunch and got ready to go to the nearby hot spring! It was super beautiful and the water was really hot, it’s geothermaly heated! Everyone had a blast relaxing and enjoying the view. We ended the night with a fun game our leader of the day, Riley, taught us called categories. Everyone got competitive and it made it even more fun. Sibelle and Rachel had to kill their first roach. They did not handle it well. We were all tired and ready for bed by the end of the day. So excited for tomorrow.
-Sibelle & Rachel
Monday July 23, 2018
We started off the days waking up at 6:30am with breakfast following at 7am. After a short delay due to the rain, we headed out to the local shelter at 8:20am. After getting there, students continued the projects that they had been working on for the past two service days. We chipped paint, painted the dog cages, helped plant a garden in a few tires we had previously painted, and walked dogs. One special little dog whose back legs don’t quite work finally got his wheelchair and was able to go out on a walk!
Following the morning of service, we came back to the hotel and had an hour to relax before lunch. After lunch, we split into two groups to do two important leadership activities. During “What is Leadership?” we learned about the three different styles of being a leader: direct, relational, and following. For “Bucket of Dreams” we implemented those styles, and had to work as a team to complete a very difficult challenge.
We were rewarded with an afternoon “cafecito”, a quick coffee break with some costa rican snacks. Our guest speaker/dance instructor brought fresh coffee made by a local organic farmer.
Immediately following students participated in a costa rican dance class. We learned the basic steps and how to turn to salsa and bachata, finishing the class with a silly costa rican version of the “Macarena.”
Later that evening, our student leader Nova, led us in two games of “manhunt” around the hotel. It was loads of fun for everyone. After a long day student had lights out at 10pm so the could prepare for the activities the next day.
-Jen and Hannah
Tuesday July 24, 2018
The day started off bright and early with a 6:00 am wake-up call from our leader of the day. The first ziplining group departed from Hotel Tapanti around 7:00 am, while the second group stayed back to enjoy some relaxing movie time until their excursion.
After a mixture of walking and taking a shuttle up the road, we arrived at our starting point, where we geared up and began the short hike out to the first ziplining platform. The rainforest floor was slick with mud and leaves, but we all made it out in one piece! One by one, we made our way through the network of ziplining cables in the canopy. We looked down at the forest beneath us and the gorgeous, expansive views beyond the trees. It was a truly breathtaking experience! Along the way we told riddles and all worked hard to solve them, which provided a fun activity while we waited for our turns. The last three ziplines were the longest of the group, and the rides were indescribably fun! We passed over dense trees and open fields while flying through the air. This was a completely unforgettable adventure for all of us.
Once we all reconvened at the hotel, we enjoyed lunch around 2:00 pm before embarking on an afternoon trip to Cartago, a city about twenty minutes from Orosi. There, we visited the Basilica de Los Angeles, which is a very important religious destination throughout Costa Rica, as well as in other places around the world. We observed beautiful architecture and art, as well as learned about the history behind the basilica and looked at offerings brought to the site. We also enjoyed some delicious food in our time in Cartago, including fresh churros and smoothies. Lastly, we visited a marketplace, where we put our bargaining skills to use by purchasing souvenirs.
We returned to the hotel around 6:00 and ate dinner soon after. We wrapped our our restful day by meeting in our mentor groups and participating in various fun activities, such as board games and card games. We headed back to our rooms for bed later on, refreshed and ready for our next day of service.
-Casey & Lena
Wednesday July 25 and Thursday July 26, 2018
On Wednesday the 25th (which is a very big holiday in Costa Rica that celebrates when Althea northern part of the country joined Costa Rica from Nicaragua) we started the day off with service! After that we had a quick lunch and headed to the botanical garden! The plants and flowers were beautiful. In the evening, we played a ridiculous game where we made fun of each other and learned some more Costa Rican slang words.
The next day we got up at our regular 6:30 am and after breakfast we went for an amazing hike. The trail would eventually lead us to a waterfall called “monte sky.” This waterfall is said to be magically and can even heal sickness. Some of us went under the water although it was freezing! The half way point of the hike was marked by an big old white house.
Our guide, Marvin JR (who is also the son of the owner of our hotel), told us that the house was made by a man who’s wife had cancer and wanted her last moments to be lived in the mountains surrounded by the magical water. After lunch we had a tour of a coffee farm. The guide, Ernie, told us the everything about coffee, from the fungi they need to be careful of to the process of making coffee. When we were done, we sampled the coffee. It was delicious and some students were converted to coffee drinkers! In the evening, we went on a sunset walk.
Friday July 27, 2018
We started off the day with a delicious breakfast then made our way down to service.. we painted, sawed wood, walked dogs and started the painting we are going do on their walls (paw prints, dog bones, and a dog house). After we were done we made our way back for lunch then went to the “cow hotel”. It’s going to be a new hotel by the owner of the one we’re staying in. It’s a farm on the first floor and a hotel above! The cows were very cute. Some of us milked them and they loved to suck on our fingers! We got to name them as well!! After that we had a cooking class and made bean and cheese empanadas and a dessert made with plantains, cheese and condensed milk!! After dinner, we watched the Ted Talk “Danger of a Single Story” and discussed in our mentor groups how to come home to our country and share more then a “single story” of Costa Rica and Central America.
Well that was our day! We will keep you updated on the rest of our adventures throughout our journey of dogs!
-Riley and Nova
Sunday July 29, 2018
Today we drove to San José to go to Zoo Ave, a national animal rescue facility. We saw turtles, birds, ocelots, sloths, peacocks, monkeys and more! There were also lots of spiders hanging around. We had lunch in a nearby park and went to to an artisanal market to shop for souvenirs. Everyone loved looking around and shopping for themselves and friends. There were so many things to look at we spent two hours there! We then drove back to the hotel where we rested for an hour and then gathered for an activity where we reflected on what we hold most dear. After dinner we played hide and seek and then gathered for our last mentor groups.
Today was our last day in Costa Rica, but it was certainly one to remember! We started the day early with a traditional breakfast of gallo pinto. At nine a.m. we left for whitewater rafting! After receiving directions, we started our adventure. We worked together to navigate through a series of super exciting rapids, enjoying the gorgeous weather and amazing views of the lush mountains along the way. The cool water was very refreshing as today was surprisingly sunny! We returned for lunch and then began our activities for the afternoon. First we did our last group activity, which was called the Appreciation Circle. This activity allowed us to show other people what they meant to us and was very heartwarming; it made us all feel very happy to know how we have affected and been affected by others in the three weeks we have spent here.
Afterwards, we took a survey to provide feedback on our experience, checked in for our flights home, and wrote thank you cards to all of the people who have helped us to have the best possible time here. It was great to reflect on our journey over the past several weeks and be able to thank all of the people who helped us to be comfortable and happy here. We then went back to our rooms to pack up before having a simple yet tasty dinner of rice, beans, and pasta. We had a good amount of relaxation and quiet time before lights out at nine o’clock; we needed to rest up before departing for San José at two in the morning! We are all so thankful for the service we have been able to do, adventures we have been able to have, and friendships we’ve made. It will be so hard to say goodbye, but we will always keep the memories of this trip close to our hearts.
Casey and Ellie