All students have arrived to the CR beach!
What a great session it has been so far!!! We had an exciting first day filled with many great conversations, cow sightings, puppies, and of course pool time! We spent the morning getting to know each other and getting to know our surroundings. We went to the local town called La Cruz and explored the local grocery store, ate ice cream and visited a beautiful view point. Tonight we are doing a language exchange with the locals to help them learn a bit of English while also improving our Spanish skills. This is going to be a wonderful session!
The Beachside Service Team 🙂
After a delicious breakfast, with of course beans and rice, all groups headed onto an over-crowded bus to their service site. Kath’s group went to Maria Jose’s nursery and helped to dig a hole around a playground for a future sand box. This ensures more safety for the 2-6 year olds during their recess time. While the work was difficult at the beginning, we created systems to make the process go faster, thanks to our great team work and bonding on the 50 minute bus ride. After two hours of work, we finally got to play with the kids. For some, it was easy as they are learning Spanish at school, but for others the language barrier made things challenging. We played tag, soccer and helped the little kids play in the jungle gym. I cannot wait to see what we will accomplish in the coming days!
Maggie Perlman (Leader of the Day)
After breakfast we left for our first day at service. At the primary school we are building a new sidewalk. To start, today we shoveled dirt and rocks into wheelbarrows and wheeled it around the school and over to the sidewalk. Halfway through, the bell rang and the kids came running out. They were so excited just to see us and laughed when we attempted to speak Spanish. In a matter of minutes we were all playing futbol. The Costa Rican students were so amazing and although the time we were able to play was short, it was definitely exciting! Everyone in Costa Rica is so happy and peaceful, but I guess that makes senses hence their motto…Pura Vida. After, we did some more work at our service site. Our mentor Lisa got stuck in the bathroom, but thankfully one of the teachers heard her shouting for help. When the service was over we headed back to home base for lunch then we had “You-do-You” time that included making empanadas. Then everyone headed to the beach at El Jobo. The view was picturesque and everyone had fun in the ocean, playing soccer and just relaxing. The first day of service was definitely a success.
Alexis Varano (Leader of the Day)
We woke up to some light rain. After a delicious breakfast we got on the bus to go to El Jobo. El Jobo was our first service project. For this project we were rebuilding a park for the kids in the town. This gave us the opportunity to practice our Spanish and give back to the community. After our service we had lunch. After lunch we were given the opportunity to a couple of activities. Empanada making was the most popular activity. We then headed to the beach. Some relaxed and some played an exciting game of soccer.
Nicholas Baker (Leader of the Day)
Service day number one was a great success! My group was blessed enough to work with the local high school students for the day. Throughout the day we visited English classrooms filled with students not only willing, but eager to learn and improve their speaking abilities. I was personally touched by the expressions plastered on their faces when we first walked into the room. Although service projects are often thought of as manual labor, today was a one-time adventure that helped students learn valuable life lesson of language development. I am so grateful for this amazing experience and am excited for the new opportunity that will present itself tomorrow.
Morgan Pfeffer (Leader of the Day)
Today, some of the GLA students got to visit the locals at the high school in La Cruz. The locals practiced their English with the GLA students while the GLA students practiced their Spanish. After multiple hours of bonding with the locals, the GLA students got a taste of how Costa Rica minors got an education, one much similar to the students schooling at home. Many students really got to befriend multiple locals as they were just as excited to meet us, and learn each other’s language and culture. We exchanged tongue twisters in each other’s languages and shared a great laugh!
Emmanuelle Aruta (Leader of the Day)
As my service team and I drove up to the school, there are plenty of eager children waiting for us! The second the gate was unlocked my hands were taken and immediately the two little girls pulled me and off we went to the tire playground. We plead for ac couple of hours and then we got to work! We painted fences and walls and dug holes and it was quite rewarding.
Jaymie Terbush (Leader of the Day)
Our second day of service brought difficult but rewarding work. As the floater group, we are lucky enough to get to visit all of the service sites, rather than staying at a single one for the week. Today we were stationed at the kindergarten in La Cruz. We dug out the area around and under the playground so we can fill it with sand in order to be safer for the kids. It took the collaboration of pick axes, shovels, rakes and the infamous wheelbarrow trips to clear out the area. But once we had completed the task, we had the much-anticipated privilege of playing with the kids! Speaking and connecting with the local people (Ticos), especially the children has been the highlight of the trip for me so far. Practicing Spanish with the local people is always a unique and fun learning experience. After a morning of hard work, I feel accomplished and closer to the amazing people and culture of Cost Rica
-Nadia Parashkevova (Leader of the Day)
We started off the day getting into the bus to head towards Playa Soley. Once we arrived we instantly saw people and the work that past GLA students had accomplished, but also the world that was ahead of us. As the first as this particular place, it took a while to get going, but eventually we all found our places. Some of us painted trash cans and other sanded down the signs that would later be painted. Throughout our service, locals, including some children, surrounded us. Some of the locals worked along side of and other watched intently. The children, specifically a little boy wanted to play soccer so much that he brought out his own goalie net! There was also a young girl, disabled but she still wanted to talk with us. She wanted to know our names and in return told us her name along with some of the locals and children’s names. Everyone was smiling and friendly, along with willing to communicated despite the language barrier
At the end of our service, all our hands, covered in paint and arms sore from sanding, but overall we could definitely tell that we were making a dent in the amount of work to be done.
-Emily Groebner (Leader of the Day)
Frist we arrived at the school and were given a good 30-40 minutes to play with the kids. Without any hesitation the children approached us and led us over to their playground where we saw the GLA project from last session. Some of the younger boys played soccer with us in the front while others played pato pato tigre as a group and had their hair braiding session. Then we all said our goodbyes and split into two different groups; one to start with the painting at the women’s facility and the other to continue digging holes to place a fence. After about an hour or 2 the groups switched.
-Brook Scarry (Leader of the Day)
Jake’s service group took its first trip to El Jobo today to assist a women’s group in the construction of a local playground. Some of the jobs included painting and nailing the boards to the existing fence. While we were there many kids visited us and were exited to play futbol (soccer) and pato, pato, tigre (duck, duck, tiger), along with playing on the swing set and slides. Later in the day w were invited to one of the women’s homes to view their lifestyle. The lady Magdalena was especially keen on showing us her homemade outdoor oven. The one room household housed 5 members of her family as well as other sisters of relatives that lived on the same plot of land. After 4 hours we left for home base excited to see the kids tomorrow as well as the various friendly dogs that also joined us at the park.
-Emma Tuberty-Vaughan and Anthony DeLeon (Leaders of the Day)
As soon as we got to the primary school, the group got to work. Some people worked on clearing the ground to prep for the sidewalk, while others gathered dirt and rocks to fill the base for the concrete. After working for about an hour, the school children went on their break. They ran outside to greet us and started playing games. Some of the group started playing soccer while others played Frisbee. After 15 min, the kids went back to class and our group when back to work. Our service group made a lot of progress on the second day of the project.
-Brigitte Bayer (Leader of the Day)
While half of us were shoveling rock and dirt into wheelbarrows the other half were taking the dirt to where the sidewalk will be and evenly laying it down as a base of the concrete. We worked for 1 hour when the kids in the school were released for recess. During that time we played games and interacted with the kids for the duration of their recess. After that we contented our work for another hour and then left. Meeting the school kids gave everyone a feeling of bliss and joy. We all were abel to take something different away from the experience.
When we got back to the camp we ate lunch and then were given three and a half hours of You-do-You time. I am not really sure what happened next, because I took the time to catch up on sleep. Now we are gong into the local town to celebrate a holiday were there will be a large concert and festival
-Aaron Miller (Leader of the day)
Today my service group and I had an eventful day at the local high school that around 200 students attend. It was such a cool experience because we got to interact with other students our own age. With our Spanish and their English, we were often able to communicate with them quite well. It was so amazing to be able to learn about the difference and similarities in their lives an in their school compared to ours/ we also played an intense game of handball with this (It’s a huge sport here). It was all in all a wonderful experience to take part in
Sara Sebba (Leader of the Day)
Today my service group headed back to the town of Tempetal in rural Guanacaste to continue working on the projects we started on yesterday. We arrived in the town just in time for the children’s recess and had the opportunity to play with the same children we got to know yesterday, The girls that I talked to were eager to practice their English while helping me work on my Spanish. I was very exited to see the children playing on the playground made of used tires that former GLA students created. During the recess, we talked with the school children and played games with them like monkey in the middle, soccer and duck duck good (or as they call it, “pato, pato, tigre”) Although we were having a lot of fun, I especially enjoyed seeing the use of a language as a way to connect people of different cultures. For example, when I told one of the girls about how I like to watch TV, she game me her bracelet that said, “Addicted to TV.”
When the kids went back to class, half of us headed over to a local center for women of the area. We worked on painting the building and staining some of the wood. A local woman helped us painting and showed us how to get the stain off of our skin.
Then we worked on digging holes to put up a fence around the school. The school is planning on expanding and adding new classrooms but wanted a secure perimeter to keep the area safe.
We left our service site feeling more connected with the community of Temptal and excited to return.
Claire Black (Leader of the Day)
We all piled onto the bus jostling each other with our elbows smiling and falling into the grey seats alongside the wide windows. As the bus started bouncing down the road the excited chatter grew in the air. We all began to theorize what the playground may look like once we had filled in the empty space with sand. The tall trees parted for our bus as the green leaves soared overhead against the blue sky. We hopped off the bus and immediately grabbed shovels, pick-axes and wheelbarrows. Today our service team focused on communication and began to adjust and improve our work technique as the day progressed. There were teams of two on wheelbarrow and sand duty and each time they rounded the corner to deliver the sand to fill the pit we all broke out into cheers and continually supported one another and kept the spirits high as the sun continued to climb and the clouds blossomed in the sky and gave way to a light rain. Our team began to devise a plan, which included the full team removing the large rocks surrounding the playground in the circular pit to provide a smooth layer for the sand to be poured and spread and more importantly ensure the playground was safe for the students. An hour later we developed a new plan to shovel sand into our wheelbarrows in the front of the day care center. The sand was then wheeled to the playground by our excellent wheelbarrow team. This team then poured the sand into the pit where the sand team began to spread it. We laughed at the squeaky wheelbarrow that could be heard from either end of the day care as the rain began to let up before it disappeared completely. The students ran out of their schoolhouse and after a few timid “holas” we began to play with the newly laid sand. The girls were dressed in the typical traditional dress of Costa Rica, which was adorned with white, red, and blue ruffles. The boys wore outfits that echoed the style of cowboys as they ran across the grass. We filled our hands with sand and let it run though our fingers and the students began to do the same. Breaking the ever-shrinking language gap we smiled and spoke Spanish the best we knew how. Others played Frisbee or tag as the sun finally broke through the billowing white clouds. The bus pulled up to the front of the day care and after returning the shovels, wheelbarrows and pick-axes we made our way to the bus yelling back “hasta luego.” As we climbed into the bus we fell into our seats and the bus hummed with the sound of satisfaction and tired voices alongside a quite and vibrant feeling of accomplishment and community. All in all it was another great day with GLA.
Laurel Clark (Leader of the Day)
Yesterday Kath’s service group returned to Maria Jose’s daycare to continue our work on the sandbox. The children greeted us upon our arrival, lining up along the gate with some cheerful “hola’s.” We separated into three groups to keep the work moving efficiently. Some cleaned tires, others scooped up sand and carried it to the playground, and lastly some worked at filling the sand box. It was chaotic at times, but we were able to finish the sand and begin painting tires. Unfortunately we were unable to play with the children today, however we achieved so much and were all able to leave the sight with a smile on our face and a feeling of achievement.
-Maclaine Reemsnyder (Leader of the Day)
Today is Day 4 of service and unfortunately for our group it was our last day of manual labor. At 8 am our service group and awesome mentor Lisa left for the primary/elementary school to continue the sidewalk project. Our service group once again displayed amazing teamwork. We divided up into different jobs and everyone was extremely effiecient at their task. Rocks, sand, water, and the concrete mixture was put into the cement mixer and then the mix was poured into wheelbarrows. Some people pushed the wheelbarrows while others helped by guiding so they did not tip over. We then emptied the mixture into the developing sidewalk. Since the children were off of school today, after our work, we took a short walk to a small grocery store where we all bought ice cream. After we returned back to homebase we all ate a delicious lunch and then at2:30 Kath’s mentor group left to go snorkeling. We took a boat ride to a beautiful island only 15 minutes away. Once we got there we hiked to the top of the mountain and saw the beautiful view overlooking Nicaragua and Costa Rica. After slowly sliding down the mountain, we walked around and watched the little hermit crabs and other small sea animals between the little pools of the rocks. To end the adventures of the day, we took the last boat back to Ecoplaya ready to eat dinner and excited for the ice cream social later to come. This was another great day in Costa Rica
-NICOLE DEIGNAN (Leader of the Day)
On Monday, the weather was perfect, which made our very busy day quite enjoyable. We accomplished many tasks. We made and poured concrete for the base of a fence. We had dug holes for the concrete earlier. We also continued painting the women’s shelter using bright, wonderful colors of paint. Although the children weren’t at school, we enjoyed a little time with several animals including goats, pigs, chickens, and a dog and cat. Dinner has been tasty but a favorite treat for many was the fruit smoothies that we enjoyed while in town during the souvenir shopping. Those smoothies were delicious!
-Maddie Morgan (Leader of the Day)
Dirty Hands are Helping Hands
I am covered in brown and red spots, which look like mud and blood. Today we sanded, stained, and painted tables (or in Spanish: mesas). We had the beautiful view of the sea and could even see the GLA home base across the water! Working on the beach was awesome. We got a great view and a nice breeze. We worked together to sand down benches/ tables for a community center in a small fishing town. Locals helped us and it was such a great experience to work with people who truly care about the community and to also share some language. Martine helped us speak Spanish with the woman and children and we taught them some words in English! In just 2 hours we finished 3 tables and help build a play structure with painted tires! One of the girls gave us some apples and after we finished working they taught us a fun teambuilding game. We ended service tired, sweating and completely filthy. I think that’s how every day should end! I am so glad I decided to do this grip. I’ve made so many new friends here and I’m sad I have to leave. GLA has been the best experience of my life!
-Jaiden Pavano (Leader of the Day)
On our 4th day of service, Jake’s service group started a new project. Instead of working on the playground in El Jobo, we dug trenches at the recycling center. The local women’s group that helped us with the playground helped us again at the recycling center. Before leaving El Jobo, we stopped by the supermarket and talked to locals. In the afternoon we had You-do-You time while Jake, Kath and Haylies mentor groups went to the island. As the trip is coming to an end, our friendships are growing stronger and we are reluctant to say goodbye
-Alexis Liimatainen (Leader of the Day)
Today was the fourth day of service and my group, which usually goes to a fishing village called Puerto Soley, was dispersed into other groups since it was our mentor’s day off. I was in a group that went to both an elementary school and a women’s center that was across the street. We split up into two groups so half of us would be working at the school and half us us would be at the women’s center. First, at the women’s center we painted a bathroom white and also stained a wall and a table. One thing I particularly enjoyed was that there was several locals helping us paint, while talking to us. After that we switched with the group who was at the elementary school. At the school, we stuck poles in pre-dug holes and filled them up with several layers of rocks and cement to keep them in place. The poles were put in place as the start of a fence surrounding a field. The work was slow and tiring, especially in the sun, but it was satisfying at the end to see all of the progress we had made. On the bus ride back from service, we stopped at a grocery store and got ice cream as a reward for our hard work.
-Alya Kaira (Leader of the Day)