Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
Time has flown by since our 10-day Beachside Service Adventure program in beautiful Playas del Coco at the beginning of Summer 2016, but we left it with lasting friendships, fond memories, and a ton of experiential learning takeaways that will stick with us for life. When the spirited group of 34 students from all over the US came together on Day 1, we had no idea just how much we would learn from our surroundings, challenge ourselves both physically and mentally at service, escape the warmth of our comfort zones as we raced down rapids in inner tubes and flew across a canyon on a zipline, all the while forming into the close-knit group we would become by Day 10.
Working at 3 different service sites – the bridge, Escuela Obandito and the recycling centre at Escuela Sardinal, we put in countless hours of shoveling, painting, mixing and pouring cement, while doing our best to connect with the Tico community we worked alongside of, and to play with the kids who showed us boundless energy and curiosity.
Aside from service, we had the chance to participate in some awesome cultural activities, from making pottery with a local artisan, to dancing salsa and bachata with Daniela, to tasting some delicious tropical fruit smoothies at a workshop at the home base. All in all, we witnessed some spectacular sunsets on the beach, ate amazing food thanks to Doña Verónica and her catering team, learned, reflected and got a little deep in our nightly mentor groups with Allie, Siushan, Rachel and Kevin, and jammed out to some great Latin beats courtesy of our bus drivers Lenin and Orlando.
Here are just a few of the Unforgettable Moments from this Session:
- Holding the octopus that our guides found while snorkeling in the deep blue
- Siushan’s service group at the bridge digging holes and mixing cement until their backs ached and sweat dripped in their eyes
- Michael blowing out the candles of a delicious cake to celebrate his 17th birthday
- The girls on Rachel’s boat belting out Taylor Swift songs in the pouring rain after an afternoon of snorkeling
- Playing pato pato ganso and freeze tag with the kids at Escuela Obandito.
- Arley vs Paz: an ongoing battle of Arley’s impressive ability to make noise against Paz’s best efforts to maintain quiet order and peace throughout our program
- Lizzie’s awesome Latin dance moves during and after our salsa and bachata class with Daniela
- Hearing Don Gato, the groundskeeper at Escuela Obandito, share his life story with service group
- Conversation and singing exchange at the beach with the Costa Rican youth group
Summer Blog Posts
Despite cancelled flights and heavy rains, all 34 students are now at Playas del Coco for their Beachside Service Adventure. After enjoying a beautiful sunset staring into the Pacific Ocean, participants got a taste of typical Costa Rican meal: rice, beans, seasoned chicken, a vegetable dish of corn and chayote (“vegetable pear”), and baked plantains with cheese.
There was also a special treat as Michael Z. celebrated his 17th birthday. He was feted with a lively version of Feliz Cumpleaños (“Happy Birthday”). The students being their service projects in the morning!
Photo: The entire group (credit Paz Magat)
Photo: Sunset at Coco (credit Kevin Yochim)
Photo: Michael Z. and his birthday cake (credit Allie Morris)
June 23, 2016
Day 5 was probably one of the best days and I think most of the group can agree. The group working at the bridge completed 2 columns of support for the town’s bridge. We are all super proud of it and definitely feel like we are making a difference. Later in the day we got caught in a rain storm after snorkeling off the beautiful coast of Costa Rica. My boat made the best of the rain and sat on the front of the boat singing Taylor Swift songs at the top of our lungs. Today was definitely a day to remember.
All of our participants have left the Home Base, and suddenly Playas De Coco feels so empty.