Monday June 18, 2018
We are so excited to kickoff the Costa Rica Animal Project 21 Day this summer! Today we met our students at the airport in San Jose. We took them to our beautiful home base in Orosi where we will be starting our adventure. The students who arrived earlier in the day got to explore the home base area which is so peaceful and serene. After a delicious dinner, the students winded down with games and icebreakers. The students are already so excited and engaged. We are ready to have an awesome summer!
Wednesday June 20, 2018
Hello, and welcome to the first blog post of GLA 21-Day Animal Rescue 2018! These blog posts will be updated frequently, so you can see what your child is up to day to day! I, Zoe, have volunteered to be the first blogger. In blogs, you can expect events that the group has experienced and their thoughts and feelings about them.
Since this is the first blog, let me tell you what has happened the past three days!
On the 19th, which was the first day ((technically, the first day was the 18th, but the group wasn’t all at Orosi yet!)), we were introduced to how GLA works, their rules, and the rest of the “non-fun” stuff. So, the first day altogether was pretty chill. The next day, the 20th, was our first day at the shelter! In total, there are 37 dogs that live at this shelter. Even though the dogs have a roof over their heads, they still have problems that they face on a day to day life.
Antonio, one of the staff at GLA, and his mother desperately need help around the shelter, and that’s where we come in! Some tasks that the students did were scraping off old paint, walking the dogs, and replacing the old, rotten wooden cages with stable metal ones. Even with our help, there are still important aspects that are needed for the dogs, especially for their health. There are no veterinarians that care for wounds on the dogs and they barely have enough food.
The dogs also don’t have a comfortable place to sleep, they sleep on the tile floor, and they don’t have any toys for them to play with. So, the students in this rescue group all separated into small subgroups to help with these problems! We are hosting a fundraiser so Antonio and his mother can pay for the aid kits, food, and other accessories [information about the Gofundme page we are creating will be shared soon], and also creating toys for them, posting flyers, so others know about the shelter, and much more!
GLA has been an amazing experience for me so far, the exotic food and beautiful landscapes are breath-taking. Costa Rica is such an amazing and wonderful place, and I’m grateful that I have this opportunity!
[first photo: all of the students attending this project, second photo: me with Perla, one of the dogs! third photo: Caca, one of my favorite dogs.]
Thursday June 21, 2018
Hey it’s Bryn checking in from GLA. Today we took a break from our service at the shelter to go horseback riding! Everyone was matched with a horse based on their experience level on the horses. My horse was named Pinto because he looks like a Pinto bean. We took a nice two hour ride, and other than a couple of frustrated horses and sore butts, it seemed that everyone had fun. We ate lunch at the horse farm before heading back to Orosi for some R & R.
In the afternoon, we decided to go for a hike up to the Tapanti owners house. Marvin Jr. (the owner’s son) decided to show us some of their “shortcuts” up the mountain. On the way up, we cut through the jungle, walking through lots of shrubbery. At the top, we met Nutella, a one year old happy Beagle. Nutella gave everyone lots of love and kisses before we left to return to the hotel. On the way down, we took the “best” shortcut according to Marvin Jr., which ended up being more slip and slide than train. For all that went down the hill, it was a very memorable experience, full of laughs and falls. We ended the night with some meditation and card games. It was an exciting day!
Friday June 22, 2018
Today was another day of volunteering at the shelter. We got plenty of things done today. For example, today I painted the new metal cages red so that they could last longer without getting ruined. Some people were painting the walls inside the shelter yellow and other people continued peeling paint off of the walls both inside and outside of the shelter. Our volunteering is making obvious progress in the shelter and the shelter is looking better everyday. While working we’re allowed to have some breaks during which we’re allowed to go walk a dog from the shelter which improves the dog’s mood.
After lunch today we left on a trip to Monte Sky and went on an hour hike to a waterfall which is said to have healing factors. When we reached the waterfall some people chose to get into the water. Reaching the waterfall felt like an accomplishment for everyone.
After the hike Marvin Jr. (son of the owners of the hotel) took us to his fathers new cow hotel in which we were able to see various animals. We were able to pet the calves and we were able to name some of them. Some of the names were: Venus, Cowdi B, and I named one of them Bambi. Some people also chose to milk the cows. Overall today was an eventful day which ended up being a very pleasant day for everyone.
Saturday June 23, 2018
Hi, I’m Riley from GLA, and this is our 6th day in Orosí, Costa Rica. Today, the schedule was supposed to go as: service at the animal shelter, then lunch, then visiting the ruins of an abandoned church and visiting the oldest, still-operating church in Orosí. It didn’t quite go like that however. As Costa Rica is in its rainier season, unsurprisingly it was raining this morning, causing us to unable to go to the shelter. All of the dogs are kept outside during the day and they couldn’t go outside due to the rain, leaving us unable to work on the inside.
Although we were all a little bummed to not get the chance to see our favorite Costa Rican dogs, the blow was lightened when we were told we were going to have a “movie morning”, and took a vote and ended up watching Pirates of the Caribbean. After watching most of the movie and having lunch, GLAh left for the “Ruinas de Ujarra”. When we got there, our director mentors explained what they were exactly: the ruins of an abandoned church.
As you can see, it’s very pretty. We saw several lizards and were able to take some pictures and do a leadership activity there. It was a pretty cool place. After that, we tried Togo see the older church in Orosí, but there was a wedding taking place and we weren’t able to do that. We then decided to head back to the hotel and do some activities. We made dog collars for some of the dogs at the shelter and played soccer and kickball.
We got the collars done and then went to dinner, and of course it was really good. We ended the day with a fun game!
Sunday June 24, 2018
Hey it’s Sarah’ Today we went Zip lining and visited 2 monuments! We also got the opportunity to walk around and practice our Spanish in local shops.
While zip lining, there were a total of 11 courses, 3 of which were long courses. This was a cool experience because if you wanted to go fast you had the opportunity to shoot like a torpedo, but you always had to make sure you had your brake ready!
The first monument we visited was the church: “Bisilica de Cartago”. This was a unique church because it had an unusual backstory. There was a young girl who found a statue upon a rock and took it back to her house and the next day it reappeared on the rock, so the girl took it to the priest who locked the statue in a box. But, the next day the statue moved back to the rock and the church they had built was hit by an earthquake after they rebuilt it, so the people decided that they should build the church by the stone at which the statue kept returning to. —-The original rock is framed into the wall of the church and only some of the rock is shown for people to place a hand on and pray and leave offerings.
The second monument was similar, but more spookier than the first monument because it is supposedly haunted. The unique story that this unfinished church has is that there were two brothers both going after the same woman. One brother was a priest and the other was lazy, but loved by the city. The woman chose the lazier brother, which made the other brother (the priest) infuriated and caused him to kill him in a church. To make up for this he decided to build a church. But, the church was never able to be finished because whenever construction started on it, an earthquake would knock it down and cause construction to stop. Rumor has it that you can see the headless priest (we don’t know how he got beheaded) as he roams the insides at night.
We finished our last day in Orosí by celebrating my 16th birthday (by throwing my head into a cake) and packing up for Liberia and Perrita. Tomorrow begins our first day working with Vista!
Adiós for now and Pura Vida!
Monday June 25, 2018
Hi I’m Piper and I’m today’s blogger of the day. Today was a travel day! We drove two hours to San José where we met up with the new staff we would be working with during the veterinarian part of the experience. We met up with them at a Best Western hotel where we were given a presentation and then had lunch. We also utilized the fact that the facility in San José had a pool so we took our swim tests there (we all passed!).
After wrapping up, we boarded the bus that would takes us to where we will be for the next three days, Parrita! We drove three hours and along the way we stopped at a souvenir shop, a little local cafe, and we even saw some crocodiles underneath a bridge we crossed! When we arrived in Parrita, we got all settled in our rooms and finished off the night with a long awaited shower and a dinner of chicken nuggets and fries. We can’t wait to tell you more about our experiences in the upcoming weeks so stay tuned! Signing off!
– Piper Wallace
Tuesday June 26, 2018
Today was our first clinic day in Parita! I slept well for my first night here other than rolling off the bed. When we got to the clinic there were many dogs and owners waiting for us! We got into our setup groups and began transforming the room. I was in the intake group and Diana showed us how to label the medicine and organize the equipment. We began by doing a physical exam of the dog and calculating it’s medication. My dogs name was Burusca and was there to get spayed. I learned how to calculate the medication and check the dogs vitals. When we began surgery the goal was to spay the dog, however, our doctor discovered tumors in the spleen.
In addition, there was a hemorrhage which resulted in a lot of blood. During the surgery we have to check the vitals every 5 minutes. When the surgery was over we took the dog to the recovery station and I washed the instruments. In recovery we track the vitals and comfort the patient. I was so happy when I saw the owner receive their pet! When we were done at the clinic we got ice cream/popsicles and ate them on the beach! The view was breathtaking! We then arrived back at the hotel and had a siesta. At dinner we got to get to know each other better with a game and reflect on the days work. To finish off the day we are relaxing for the adventures to come!
– Alex Nelson
Wednesday June 27, 2018
Today’s the 27th and we started off the day doing home visits. I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go or what it really even was, but I was pleasantly surprised. Connecting with the community and actually really interacting with them was incredible. We had pet owners fill out a survey and gave their animals wormers and such and suggested anything they should do to help their animals. One lady really stood out to me, she was at the last home visit that my group saw.
This woman had taken in many stray dogs that where thrown in a river or abandoned by their past owners and took them in as her own. She had about 9 dogs, many cats, and baby kittens. This women was so dedicated to saving animals she had gone weeks and even months before without light and electricity just to be able to feed all her animals.
Seeing this was very inspiring to me, knowing that their are many incredible people out their doing everything they can for something they believe is right, I think other people could learn a lot from this woman. After that we went to the beach and saw a stunningly beautiful sunset, it almost looked fake. Then after that we went out to eat and celebrated Bryns 17th birthday and went back to the hotel. Overall today was a day I will never forget.
Thursday June 28, 2018
Hello All! Happy Thursday- the group started off our day visiting a small primary school in Parrita, Costa Rica. Split into four groups, we all got a group of kids and taught them about the importance of properly caring for pets. The activities included making lists of what dogs can and can’t eat, talking about what vets do, the importance of spaying and neutering your pets to prevent overpopulation/strays, and the difference between house pets and animals that live in the wild! In between the activities we played fútbol and jumped rope. In the afternoon we traveled to Liberia, our third and last location we will be staying! (before heading back to Orosí for another week) More clinics and fun activities to come
Saturday June 30, 2018
Hi everyone! Aishah here!
Today was yet again, another amazing beach day! We made our way to Playa Hermosa in Carillo which was around an hour away at 9:00AM. The students were split into their chosen activity of either surfing or paddle boarding. When we arrived, the surfing group went on a boat to an area where there were much more waves. The paddle boarding crew stayed where they were in the calm waters. I personally did paddle boarding and the experience was amazing. Everything about it was calming and the view was even better.
Each group received an hour to an hour and a half lessons and then returned to the main beach for lunch at 1:15. We had the choice of a delicious fish or some savor full chicken with the typical Costa Rican sides.
After lunch, we were able to spend the rest of our time by the beach tanning or in the waters. Around this time, if you didn’t have any sun screen on, you definitely regretted it. In fact, I wish I applied it much more often, and I almost never burn.
Everyone went into the waters aside from a few staff members. We talked and played around and even met a a few locals. The competitive ones in the group joined in on a soccer match against the boys and it was just all a lot of fun.
At 5:30, we made our way back to home-base where we continued with our regular evening activities such as dinner, mentor groups, and briefing. Today was a really nice day, and I would say highly needed after all our hard work!
Monday July 2, 2018
Today was our last clinic day, and our last time working with VIDA staff. We loved working with them during clinic also learned a lot from them. On our last surgery things went a little hard for one of the oldest dogs we took in today, the dog was in a really bad condition and had arritmia, which made us have some complications with the anesthesia. The dog had a low chance to survive the surgery, but if we didn’t have the surgery she wouldn’t survive. However, after facing all those challenges and a hard surgery, everything went as expected for the dog and she was delivered to her owner.
Tuesday July 3, 2018
Hi! Today was our first full day back in Orosí and we returned to finish the job at Antonio’s dog shelter and continued chipping paint chips off the walls and repainting the wall as well. Also other students were grooming and walking the dogs. During the afternoon we toured a coffee plantation and tasted some exquisite coffee and were also able to buy some as well. The coffee was only sold there and few small markets and the coffee beans are grown, roasted, and crushed there and sold as beans or ground coffee. It was a very intriguing day.
-Written by Antonio/Gustavo
We also set up a GoFundMe page to support the dog shelter here in Orosí, Costa Rica! Any donations would be greatly appreciated everyone at the Animal Rescue Project and especially the dogs!! Here is the link: Animal Rescue Project GoFundMe Page
Wednesday July 4, 2018
Happy Fourth of July!! Hope you and your family had a nice celebration. As you may know, here at Costa Rica, the locals don’t exactly know what the Fourth of July means, so we kept our celebration “private” as you may call it. Instead of traditional fireworks, we went to the hot springs in the afternoon! The location of the spring was magnificent, and completely breath taking. The students all enjoyed the perfect temperature of the water and the peace that was present as soon as we arrived. I am happy to say that this Fourth of July might’ve been the best one for me!
I would also like to note our gratitude for the donations that have been given to the Go Fund Me page we set up! Thank you so much for those who have donated! Señor Antonio is very thankful for this help that is given to him and his mother.
-Blog written by Zoe Bishop
Thursday July 5, 2018
Hey it’s Sarah! Today we went on a 2 hour bus ride to “Zoo Ave”, where it had Jaguars, monkeys, birds and HUGE iguanas. After we went to a market that was located in San José. We spent hours there looking at things to buy for friends, family and ourselves. The market had everything from bags to hammocks! After getting back on the bus we headed back to Orosí and had a siesta. Then we did a cool activity that involved learning about greetings from different cultures.
My cultures greeting involved placing a hand on the persons shoulder, dancing, and screaming “HEYYY”. (These cultures are made up and are used to show us that we need to learn about the culture and what is referred to as respectful and disrespectful). Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog about the Cartago market and Salsa dancing!
Friday July 6, 2018
With two days left of this trip, an unfortunate downpour had to hit us on last day of shelter. We spent the morning wrapping up a bookend discussion/debate that we started at the beginning of the 21 days. Split up into 4 groups, we all had to come to a consensus. The groups were the government, the aboriginal Bequian people, Greenpeace, and Sea Shepards. The argument was if the Bequian people should be able to continue whaling. With lots of mature discussion and a little heated debate, we all came to a conclusion of yes, but with more regulations. This debate helped all of us become better at understanding opposing viewpoints and different cultures.
After that Antonio’s friend Luis, who drove all the way from Alajuela (2 hours), gave us Salsa lessons. For an hour we all danced around with our partners learning some new wonderful dance moves and a beautiful piece of Latin American culture. Pictured below is my friend Alex and I showing off our moves.
In the afternoon, we went to the mall in Cartago and immersed ourself more in ordinary, day-to-day culture of Costa Rica. We did this through a scavenger hunt. We had to talk to strangers and ask them about their community, talk to different shop owners and take selfies, and find various other things around a foreign mall. It was a lot of fun! Pictured below is my friends Bryn, Sarah, and I taking a selfie with a stranger (a person dressed in costume promoting the new Transylvania 3 movie).
Hopefully, we will have a chance to quickly stop by tomorrow to say goodbye to the shelter and all our doggy friends.
Hello! It’s Aishah!
Today was such an exciting, yet sad day. We spent a good amount of the day White Water Rafting. We rode class lll rapids. At first, many of us thought the rapids wouldn’t be as fun because many of us have experienced class IV and V, but we were wrong! We ended up having a blast and making some unforgettable memories!
Afterwards, we came back, had lunch, and did a few closing activities. Soon after this, the time went by way too fast. We said our good-byes to our four- legged friends and Alejandra at asociación voz and before we knew it, we were having our last dinner together. Yummy tacos, pizza, cookies, and fresh juice!
We then had another siesta and met up in the living room where the mentors and some staff members said a few words that were really touching… let’s just say almost everyone was in tears…
We did some dancing, some singing, a random Spanish lesson, and took a whole bunch of pictures and videos. Here we ended our amazing last night.
This day and everyday before it were ones we will never forget. GLA has shaped us all in one way or another and I know for sure it will always be a part of me. I thank everyone, students, mentors, directors, staff, and even locals, for this impactful journey. Without any of you, this trip would not have been as profound as it is. I think we could all agree this trip was a great opportunity that does not come around everyday.
So without me babbling on and bursting into tears while writing this “short” blog, I just want to thank everyone once again. Even parents for making this happen! Of course without you, this program would most likely not have even been possible.
Continue GLAing guys💗
Forever remember your crazy gal,