Everyone’s morning started out early, no one managing more than 4 hours of sleep before we started our journey to Costa Rica. We arrived with flights ranging from 2 in the afternoon to 7 at night. The early group was able to enjoy a delicious meal of chicken rice and beans followed by a walk down to the beach. This is when the group began to really connect through getting knocked over by waves and being taught how to live through a riptide. Through this many people connected over being too short to live through the waves or getting sand stuck in every crevice of our body. When we got back to the Home Base we showered and went downstairs to play an icebreaker to learn more about each other and this is when the last members of our group arrived (meaning yes parents all of your children have safely arrived). We shared a dinner while talking over the ideas of a strong leader and the goals we wish to accomplish to become stronger leaders on this journey. We plan to wrap up the night early to catch up on some sleep to get ready to start on our service adventure tomorrow!
Today in Guanacaste, the group was split up into three subgroups and sent to different schools to help with renovations and additions. At one school, called Ignacio Gutierrez, the group worked very hard toward building a court for the students to play on when school starts up later in the year. Everyone in the group took this project as an opportunity to interact with the Guanacastecos that were generous enough to volunteer as well. Overall, the day at Ignacio Gutierrez was a day well-worked and rewarding!
Today at Obandito we began moving materials to the back of the school. We then learned how to saw wood and metal and other tasks. While on a water break, we got to play soccer with the kids in the community. They took the win. We then alternated between working and playing with the kids. All the kids were incredible, and were so happy that we were there. We had a rewarding day.
After a hard day of work we had our first adventure of our trip. We visited a monkey farm that rescues and rehabilitates monkeys alongside numerous other animals. At the monkey farm we all took advantage of the plentiful photo opportunities with the playful and curious monkeys, baby raccoons, and Nica the parrot. They captivated not only our attention but also our hearts. At the farm, we also learned about Aquaponics and the healing powers of local plants. After the monkey farm, we had an exciting evening and were able to take part in a Latino dancing class where we learned Salsa, Cumbia, and Bachata. Some of us were stepping on our own feet while others rocked it on the dance floor. Overall it was an amazing first day of service and adventure and we are ecstatic to continue learning and experiencing Costa Rican Life.
To wrap up our day we watched an inspirational Ted Talk, in which a Nigerian woman told us about “the danger of a single story”. This speech was about the misconceptions of individuals around the world, and how literature and the media can influence the way we view others from worldly countries. The speaker talked about the generalization of countries and the culture and education of people within those places.
Today was our second day at our worksites, but our fourth day in Costa Rica, and it went very well! After breakfast we went to the schools where we are working; two of the groups mixed and laid down cement, and the third group finished digging the perimeter of the area they are going to build a playground on. We also interacted with some of the locals, exchanging stories and food, during our breaks.
Afterwards, we returned to the home base for lunch, before heading out to a local home, where we learned to make tortillas. Once we were done with our delicious tortillas we played at a playground made by a previous GLA group with some of the kids from the community. After that we walked over to a nearby school where we learned about and tried many of the fruits that can be found in Costa Rica such as passion fruit, granadilla, papaya, and star fruit. Although we were very full after our cultural activities, back at the home base we had a wonderful dinner waiting for us.
Since we were all very tired after our busy day we were given some extra free time to relax and swim in the pool. We’re looking forward to another great day tomorrow!
Today was the third working day. Each group knowing their goals and companions (in GlA and Costa Rican volunteers) better began to form better and more personal relationships. At Scott’s work group, we collectively finished making the pitch suitable for the application of the cement. At Adam’s work site, we put in the legs of the ping-pong table and dug a forty-centimeter hole to place a pole to make a basketball hoop. At Xenia’s work site, we made concrete and then laid concrete. All the worksites had a very productive workday.
The cultural activity was creating clay pots and visiting the souvenir shop. Today was also Julia’s birthday. To celebrate, Doña Veronica and Doña Lisette made a beautiful cake for Julia and we all engaged in a dance party. To finish the night, we engaged in a water balloon fight, which ended with the collective pegging of the birthday girl. All in all, it was a fun and enjoyable day.
Today, our fourth and second to last day of work, proved to be extremely productive for every group. Each group felt that they improved their relationship with the locals at our work sites. We all felt like we had better experiences today than yesterday because the atmospheres were lighter more fun. It was amazing to see the way everyone learned to interact with the local people who work with us. After working at the sites we got to opportunity to try something completely amazing. We went snorkeling in Playa Hermosa. It was absolutely beautiful. Some people got to hold an octopus and even a puffer fish. It was incredible. Our big adventure took us to a private beach where we were able to relax and have fun. Later, back at the hotel we had an extra amount of free time that was appreciated greatly by most everyone. The day proved to be exciting, productive, relaxing, and overall very fun.