Can you believe it? 64 of us teenagers have successfully flown in from all over the United States, Canada, Netherlands, and Brazil to gather together in Parrita, Costa Rica! Some of us came as siblings, a few of us came with a friend or two, and many of us came as solo travelers. Regardless of who we were on that airplane when we left from home, part of us each know that we won’t be that exact same student when we return in just a brief 10 days from now.
Though we might not be able to predict in what ways our minds will change, how new friendships will be established, or even what fears we currently have that we might overcome, we do know that our experiences working here in this incredible Tico Community will prepare us to be a better version of ourselves in the future. Thank you for giving us this opportunity! We can’t wait to keep you updated on all that we will encounter! Goodnight for now, tomorrow’s adventure of service in jungles and schools awaits!
Your GLA students and staff from Costa Rica: Beachside Service Adventure
July 25, 2017
Waking up to a rainy, the students eagerly set off to a pancake breakfast at 7 am, excited for their first day of adventure. Leaders of the day from each mentor group (sometimes called LODs) met at 6:50 to discuss the plans for the day and to decide who had which job: the picture taker, the blogger, the morning announcements, the dinner announcements, and the thought leader (sharing a quote of the day). After a quick breakfast at about 7:30 the students packed into their busses and headed off to their first adventure of the trip.
There are four adventure groups, each one doing a different activity: tubing, horseback riding, zip lining, and relaxing around the hotel. Those staying at the hotel had the privilege of sleeping in a bit later, not being required to be at breakfast until 7:30. After these activities, everyone (starving, of course) returned for a spaghetti lunch. A beach soccer tournament was announced during lunch, with a large portion of the group deciding to participate in the games; those not participating watched. Many, sand-covered from the exhausting games, chose to dip into the pool for a little before continuing on with the day.
At four o’clock, for the celebration of La anexión del Partido de Nicoya (the celebration of Costa Rica’s annexation of the province of Guanacaste), young women from Parrita came to teach the students some dance moves. Lots of dancing and lots of sweating soon followed, with the kids learning how to dance the salsa and baccatta, for example. After a long dance session, the kids piled into the dining room for the dinner circle, where Nathalie de Leeuw – astoundingly – knew the name of every student. The young women who taught the dance moves soon came into the dining room to eat with the students.
July 27, 2017
Today we started early morning with breakfest from our wonderful hotel chefs. Then we began to load on the bus for our first day of service work, all groups had a lot of fun beggining to start a change in our local parrita lives. After returning from hard work we had a fun day competing in activities ( games ) with our adventure group. A local woman lulu joined us to teach us how to create corn pancakes ( amazing ) and after we got an opportunity to eat them as well, lulu brought a friend and sold some handmade braclets. After having so much fun with our new friends we started to settle down with a group circle before dinner revealing some ” props ” to someone we felt proud of or an act of kindness. After dinner we always end with a mentor group session which consists of getting deep with our thoughts and creating open minds.
July 27, 2017
Day 6! We are now one day past the halfway point and our continuing to cherish the moments in Costa Rica. Today is another busy day of adventuring in the morning, and service in the adventure. We sent 3 groups out this morning for ziplining, tubing, and horseback riding. However my group known as the “mops”, gets to have a pretty chill morning back at the hotel.
Back at Hotel la Isla, we spent our time playing a game called Starpower. We then got some free time in which everyone realxed and ordered a delicious smoothie from the bar. And finally we walked a mile or two down the beach collecting trash.
Service is now done for the day. Groups are doing things such as building tire playgrounds, painting murals, and working with women on the farms. Unfortunately today was a short day of service due to the fact that the sky decided to open up and produce a literal downpour. Even better, lightning was within a mile radius, maybe even 1/4 of a mile for the lucky ones! We are hoping for better weather tomorrow and to continue our projects.
After a great dinner, we met with our mentor groups and watched a verh inspiring video named “The Danger of a Single Story.” Groups reflected on the video and talked about our personal “single stories”.
We now have some free time before lights out at 10 p.m. Hopefully we can all get some good sleep before day 7 begins!
July 29, 2017
By: Libby McFadden & Connor O’Neil
Connor and Libby coming at you live from Costa Rica Day 7. To start this off we would like to give a shoutout to Chef Zach for whipping us up some empanadas. However we are sad to say Chef Zach did not make it on the adventure today due to his tummy ache (we think he’s just afraid of heights).
Moving on, today we went zip lining, we went on 5 zip lines, got attacked by 500 different kinds of bugs, got our eyes pelted with water from the rain and that is only how our adventure began. After zip lining we hiked to a wicked cool water fall following the cutest dog we’ve ever seen. We went for a nice dip in the water and jumped off the waterfall. We did the best we could to encourage our fellow friends to jump off as well. Little did we know the down hill hike there was up hill on the way back. We powered through the 2 miles up hill by keeping the rhythm going.
One thing we have learned in Costa Rica is you can get through anything as long you have a positive attitude and make sure to mix it up. As we drove back to home base we were taking in the righteous views of the mountains and the towns around us. As we drove we enjoyed the Spanish music playing and always made sure to whip out our dance moves. We may not be able to sing along but we can vibe to anything. That’s another thing we have learned in Costa Rica is to be adaptable.
As we continued our journey of day 7 in Costa Rica, we headed off to service. We went our separate ways forming our own stories of the Costa Rican culture. Libby headed off to a school to build tire playgrounds and play with the kids. Connor headed off to LuLu’s house to help her with her services, LuLu plays a huge part in her community for women. As we both experienced our own versions of Costa Rica we discovered the differences of the culture compared the United States. Although the life seems more simplistic than we are used to, the people seem content with their way of life. This has inspired us to have a more open mind about the world and to focus less on the single stories told about places.
Everyday we are here we feel our relationships with people becoming stronger. Day three we met and since then we have become very close. Today many people have asked if we knew each other before the trip. This shows how Costa Rica has helped us develop new stories in our life.
If you made it this far shout out to you and gracias for reading our story of Costa Rica Day 7.
P.s. we also learned the importance of bug spray.
“You don’t know what you don’t know, until you know what you don’t know.”
July 30, 2017
By: Lindi Peterson
On the eighth day, some of us woke up at as early as 5:00 to watch the sunrise and take a walk on the beach. We took photos and watched the sky turn from night to day. After that, we went back to our rooms and some students went back to sleep while others began to get ready for the 7:00 breakfast of cereal and omelettes.
At about 7:30 the group split up onto different busses to start the exciting day. We were reunited at the catamaran dock where we waited in the rain for the boat. The rain eventually stopped and we took a break to swim and snorkel. On the way back to the shore we ate a lunch of kabobs and fruit.
We loaded back into the busses which took us to Manuel Antonio National Park and we swam at the beach for the afternoon. As we walked back to the busses to head in for the night, we stopped at some of the local stores to shop around. Then it was back to home base for dinner, mentor groups, and time for bed.
July 31, 2017
By: Lauren Kanan
We woke up bright and early today for our last day in Costa Rica. After breakfast we headed off at 8 am to our service projects where we all worked hard in the heat to finish what we started in the beginning of the week. My group added some finishing touches to our tire playground that we worked on at Escuela La Costanera. After working for a while, we returned to home base and had a bittersweet final lunch. We then proceeded to sadly pack our suitcases for our flight home. While packing our suitcases my room mates and I witnessed a lizard eating a crab which was gross and tragic. Tonight we will have a “story slam” where people get the chance to share stories with the rest of the group. We will also have a salsa dance party tonight where we will dance away our sadness for leaving Costa Rica. Shout out to Maisy and Jenna for being awesome roommates.