All students have arrived safely! Stay tuned for blog updates and photos!
Hello my name is James. It’s day 3 in the frightening nation if Coats Rica (*satirical). I was a leader of the day for the sidewalk group. Initially we were very disoriented while trying to visualize the completion of our prep work. At first I was very frustrated with the project since I couldn’t completely understand what our end goal for the day was, but eventually I was able to understand our end goal was to level out the dirt near the asphalt. As I was observing the prep work I synthesized an orderly approach to properly and efficiently complete the sidewalk project. Step one: you need an individual to man a pickaxe in order to break apart the surface of the dirt that has been compacted for many years by the footsteps of individuals and cars. Step 2: you need another individual to use a shovel to excavate the dirt from the region and properly dispose of the dirt preferably in the center of the island. Step 3: you need an individual with a rake to go over the raw area and properly rid the area of large rocks and level the region in order to complete the prep work process.
Hi this is Ravi and today was cheeky introduction to the school (La Escuela del Coco). In my group we did a bit of cheeky painting in the cafeteria. There were some bees acting like mugs and trying to sting us all, but fortunately only one person, Kaylin, was sacrificed, taking one for the team. Overall it was, like the Ticos say, ‘Tuanis.” Ethan and Aidan picked up a ton of trash with like 30 Costa Rican kids who were very eager to help out. We also cleared a lot of rocks.
After lunch we all visited a pottery shop/chicken farm and made our own ornaments and bought souvenirs. I think its safe to say we all had a great time!
Today we painted the “comedor” green. We had to communicate with a Tico who spoke no English to help us complete the job. In the end we learned that Costa Rican’s are primarily generous people. We learned new words in Spanish and new customs that are the norm in Costa Rica.
Today was a great accomplishment. As a team, we managed to set up all the wooden planks, saw all the pieces, and design all the ideas behind our new playground. We were able to get to know new people in our group that we had not been given the opportunity to previously connect with. We had a great time, and look forward to seeing how the playground looks at the end.
Today we worked on creating eco-bricks by stuffing trash into empty bottles. At first the job felt very tedious because we had to compact the trash into the bottles and there seemed to always be more space for more trash. It felt like we would never finish a bottle. As we went on though, people from other groups came to help us and together we filled more bottles a lot more quickly. We feel like the fact that so many people came to help us motivated us because we were all in it together and we were all determined to make a difference, and in the end we made enough bottles to build a bench.
Today we finished prepping the ground for cement and cut wire. We had an issue with supplies that caused us to have not much to do for a couple hours, but we were able to create new jobs for people to take advantage of while waiting for necessary supplies. We managed to get visible progress today, which is really encouraging. Our goals were to be organized, which we achieved when we organized our breaks and took turns cutting wire. Our other goal was to be productive, which we achieved despite the issue with supplies. Overall, it was a great day.
After a day of hard work, we went to learn traditional Costa Rican dance. We watched a group of Ticos and Ticas in traditional costume dance to three songs. The first two dances were very intricate, but during the third all of the dancers got us up and dancing together. It was really fun and super inclusive! We played a couple of games to learn Spanish words and loosen up and then we learned three dances step-by-step and it was easier than expected and an awesome cultural experience.
Lynn and Aidan were leaders of the day. It was really hard at first to get people motivated because nobody really wanted to be in the eco bricks group but once a few people moved to different work sites and we found out exactly what we needed to do everyone became more excited. We made a flower decoration out of the eco bricks and painted a podium with kids. All the kids called Aidan a gringo.
Today on the playground we worked on four major projects. We finished building a wooden half pipe that the kids could walk through, we built a ladder, we fixed a rope net, and we almost finished a new roof for one of the sections of the playground. The major challenges that we faced were the kids running around and being absolutely too energetic and interrupting our work, and not having enough power tools to keep everyone engaged. However, we were very productive and accomplished almost all of our goals. Aidan is a gringo.
Today we painted the beams of the dining hall black before 10. We needed to do this quickly because the children ate lunch at 10:30. After we got the inside beams of the dinning hall done, we painted the outside bars and the fragments of the beam that stuck out on the outside. Some of the kids helped with that, and we finished everything that we had to do before we had to leave. Cleaning up was a challenge because the paint needed to be scraped off with keys or a kitchen knife. Overall, our group was engaged in the task and the music. Aidan is a gringo.
At the bus stop today the main project was to finish one whole section of sidewalk. It took us about an hour to get our groove and all the materials; so everyone waited around and talked. Once we got the materials we got the job done quickly and everyone remained enthusiastic and positive. Because of this, the environment remained a happy and relaxing place. It was a little bit challenging to keep everyone on task because at the moment the job they were doing may have seemed trivial. But in the end everyone seemed satisfied with what they have accomplished for the day and the upcoming days.
Christian came into home base this evening to show us the four different ecosystems and all the critters that inhabit them. He showed us some cool footage of a volcanic eruption and its aftermath as well as up close and personal footage of a tiger shark investigating a group of divers. Christian is not only very passionate about what he does, but one can easily make the observation of how passionate he is about his field. When he showed us the final video, his face was buried into his laptop screen like he was experiencing this video for the first time even as all twenty-nine students had side conversations. I look forward to meeting up with Christian this Thursday afternoon and going on a guided tour into the wilderness.
Eco-Bottles (lynn and caroline)
Today we finished all of our projects that we had set out to complete. Our group decorated a boulder at a playground and completed a bench made from recycled materials like trash and bottles. We faced problems such as traveling to two different locations to finish our projects. Because of this, the day seemed chaotic and rushed but we completed our projects at both the school and the bus stop.
Painting at the school
Today our group did some finishing touches to the paint job in the school cafeteria and we then went on to painting the markings on the basketball court. This job turned out to be exhausting and it was really hot so everyone was lacking motivation but with the help of some good music and a few ice cold coca colas we managed to finish all the painting and after we had finished we went back to the home base and had a well-earned lunch.
Painting the Playground
Today we finished painting and fixing up the playground at the school. We drilled a few parts and added a few support beams before we began painting. Our main challenge of the day was trying to tell little kids that don’t speak English that they couldn’t play on the areas we were painting. We eventually managed to get everything painted and we are currently typing this with stained green hands.
Lunch and after
Lunch was another delicious meal made by Dona Veronica and Dona Lisette. After lunch, we drove to the amazing monkey farm. We saw raccoons running wild, baby horses conversing with goats, and adorable monkeys swinging from branches over our heads. We also saw a lot of different animals like rabbits, possums, armadillos, and many more. It was interesting to see the different species of animals in Costa Rica. We also learned about hydroponics. Hydroponics is an efficient water recycling system used to grow any type of plant without having to waste water.The monkey farm was full of Costa Rican culture and our amazing mentors even gave personal tours around the farm, describing the stories of each individual animal.
– Noie (Charlotte was of no help)
Dinner was another joyful meal consisting of rice and beans. Our main dish contained delicious lasagna topped with a side of sweet cranberry juice. After dinner we discussed what we could do after high school to continue to fulfill an adventurous lifestyle. Scott, our mentor, gave us an inspirational speech of his life experiences. Then we broke up into 3 groups and talked about a personal issue that we wanted to act upon to further better the community—James and Matt (pure savages like shooting stars in the night)