We’re Coming Home!
All students have departed and are on their way home!
The Past Few Days
Today, one service group went to El Jobo to work on a local church. The church is in need of repairs, or else it will be closed down. In order to prevent this, we worked on refurbishing both the outside and the inside of this church. We touched up the yellow and green paint on the church exterior. Projects on the outside of the church were in the yard. We leveled out the yard so they can build the bathroom and a play area for the children. While leveling, we found a tarantula and disturbed an ant colony. Thank goodness for bug spray! It was hard work, but it was very rewarding and fun! -Kelsey Akerson
Another group also went to El Jobo to paint the garbage cans. We were able to paint unique designs on the cans! Also, the children were able to play and paint with us. It got a little crazy when one of the garbage cans was filled with cockroaches. Along with that, another service group went to work on the suspension bridge by continuing digging holes, they are getting so deep. #6feet. -Kim Hansen
Today, the group the Doce Ondas worked hard at the greenhouse and playground. We played with the energetic school children on the new playground and soccer field. We switched off painting and repairing the playground. Maria Jose, the leader of the playground project, wanted to do this project because before the GLA students came along, the schoolhouse and greenhouse was not accompanied with a playground for the kids at all. As a group we worked to make the playground as great as it could be, safe and colorfully adorned with bright paints. Many piggyback rides were given, and the kids happily played volleyball and soccer with us. Running around with the adorable children made the work extremely enjoyable because we knew that what we were doing would be worth it. -Nancy Howe
Today, the final group went to a small elementary school across from a community center and soccer field in El Jobo. Today was the children’s second day back from vacation, as they take a couple of weeks off at a time, rather than three months, like in the United States. At the elementary school, students worked hard to paint lettering reading “Orgullosos de ser Guanacaste cos” which translates to “Proud to be Guanacastan” in English. This was important to the school as the annexation anniversary of Guanacaste is coming up very soon, and the school wanted to show their pride. Another project included touching up the paint on the school buildings and playing “Pato, Pato, Gonzo” (Duck, Duck, Goose) with the elementary students. Every now and then at Home Base, we catch a few baa’s from Panchito, the resident goat. -Quincy Rose
Today in our free time, we were given the opportunity to go to El Jobo to play in a community futbol game and make recycled jewelry. During the game, it rained. This was very refreshing, considering the humidity outside. The futbol game was very fun, even though we lost 4-2.The locals were wonderful to interact with. I am glad we had the opportunity to share a game with these locals through something they love. Maria Jose, an amazing, incredibly involved tico who lives here in La Cruz, led the recycled jewelry activity. By taking old plastic soda and water bottles, cutting them up, putting in holes and attachments, and painting them, Maria taught us to make beautiful earrings and necklaces that anyone, even the most un-artsy of people, can create. –Kelsey Akerson & Quincy Rose
Today one of the groups headed back over to the local church to continue their service. The tasks included painting the walls of the church a lovely shade of green and yellow, helping tile the floor, and digging holes for a fence to be put in. Although the work became strenuous under the blazing sun, the group enjoyed a quick break by partaking in a dance party with a local children and fan favorite, Jose.
Another one of the groups went to a local school to continue their service. The projects at the school included building and painting a playground made out of tires, working on tables for a greenhouse that will provide dark greens for the children at the school, and playing soccer and other games with the children.
Another group had the responsibility of repainting garbage cans and making them more presentable. They proceeded to provide each garbage can with a theme: earth, water, and sun. In addition to painting some of the garbage cans the group was able to play with the kids at the near by school during their recess period. When I say PURA you say VIDA….. PURA! VIDA! PURA! VIDA!
-Kate Collins, Lindsey Rae, Maggie Hayes, Kate O’ Keefe
Adventure Zone & A Volcano
Today two mentor groups traveled to Adventure Zone to experience Costa Rica through zip lining over the rainforest, horseback riding, and tubing down a river. The zip line course proved fun yet challenging activities from propelling down a cliff, rock climbing back up, and hanging upside down on the zip lines. The groups also had a chance to ride horses. Each person was able to ride their own horse- it was so much fun! The horses were sweet and comfortable to ride. They brought us to a local waterfall where we could jump off a cliff and enjoy the fresh cold water. PURA VIDA! Lastly, the groups went white water tubing, an experience that proved exhilarating yet relaxing. With a little help from our friends Fernando and Fabio, each mentor group had the time of their lives. We didn’t even fall out of our tubes!
The other three groups traveled to an exotic volcano, where the group got to see the boiling hot mud from the volcanic activity and get a peak at the wildlife throughout the hike. After hiking around the volcano, they traveled to one of Costa Rica’s natural wonders—the hot springs. After bathing in scorching hot water, they covered themselves with mud and washed it off after it dried, all meant to rejuvenate and relax. After, we went and looked around the local shops to find some Costa Rican treasures! We ate gelato which was the most delectable and stimulating experience for our taste buds. Gelato es mi amor! Thanks for reading!!!
Hope y’all are having as much fun as we are having in this truly incredible, fantastic, and captivating country. And one more time everyone…PURA VIDA!!!!!!
Lindsey Rae, Kimberly Hansen, Hannah Mercorella, Rebecca Godfrey, Lauren Edmiston, and Mariel Arnold
An Exhilarating Day
With two service days behind us, today 4 family groups set off on an adventurous day; ranging from flying through the air like spiderman to cursing down speedy rapids to riding a horse through the rainforest to a beautiful waterfall. Today was such an exhilarating day. We are all tired, but ready for another exciting day tomorrow.
The other 2 family groups took a beautiful walk through the forest and saw a lot of volcanic activity. From there we headed to el Coco to do some souvenir shopping. It was fun to see a different part of Costa Rica.
-Zoey Pellowitz, Lydia Bruemmer, Sarah Marlin, Alisha Schwartz
Today two service groups went to a local school and helped reorganize the interior and rebuild the playground. Afterwards they ended the day by playing a game of soccer (football) with the local kids. Another service group assisted in starting the foundation of a suspension bridge that will prevent a part of the town from being cut off during the rainy season. They worked with the locals to dig holes and interacted with the children. The third group went and participated in an adult English class in which they interacted with the students and practiced their Spanish. They helped locals with English, while the locals taught them Spanish. They were near the beach, and got to play games and soccer with the locals. One of the service groups went to a local church and painted the outside a vibrant green and yellow. Some GLA members went around and painted touchups on the outside while others were inside scraping the dried paint droplets off the tile. Some members of the group went around and placed the poles of wood in the pre-dug holes and poured the cement mixture in. Of course the most memorable part for everyone was interacting with the local children. One of them Jose, went to the neighbors house and bought us all ice-cream that was made in a plastic bag. So that was a delicious and wonderful break after a long morning of work! All of the GLA members created friendship bracelets on the church porch. While creating them we listened to the local children’s music, definitely an incredible way to finish our morning.
After service, a group took a boat ride out to a nearby island. The water was clear and blue and people either swam or collected shells on the beach. The island was a protected area for native birds and had beautiful trees and shells. Students who stayed at the hotel had the option to participate in a cooking class, in which they learned how to make empanadas, a traditional Costa Rican meal. Cooks taught students how to assemble the empanadas.
Today was our first day of service here in Costa Rica. Yesterday we spent the whole day at our home base, the Ecoplaya Hotel, meeting new friends from across the world and learning about the Costa Rican culture through a Spanish lesson with Fabian. Therefore, leaving home base and travelling to various service sites in the community was refreshing, rewarding, and very exciting!
Two service groups travelled to a local school to work on a playground made of recycled tires and a greenhouse. While we were there, we also had the opportunity to connect with local children through soccer and other activities. The playground is an ongoing project that will allow local children to have something more than a dirt field to play on. Our green house project was designed to give kids more much needed dark greens within their diet. Connecting with the children included some amazing soccer skills, an impromptu game of “perro, perro, gato” and some hair braiding. It was an incredible experience getting to interact with different personalities even though we don’t speak the same language.
Another group went to a local church and began our day playing some simple games with a little boy named Jose. Then we began to work. We made some touch ups on the interior and exterior paint jobs of the church, dug holes for a fence around it, and cleaned up paint from the tile floor. While we were not working on the church, we were able to interact with some little Ticos named Luna, Nathalie, and Gretchen along with Jose. We even got to treat ourselves to some ice cream in a bag! We then finished off the day with some jump rope. Although in the beginning communication was tough, we then figured out that everyone loves a simple high five and knows how to bust a move.
Lastly, one other group was building a bridge in a local community. This project is very important to the Ticos since when there is heavy rainfall the whole road floods and people are not able to go to school or work. Therefore, this bridge will ensure that their lives aren’t affected by these floods. Today we started the project by digging some holes, which will be the foundation of the suspension bridge. The best part of the service was meeting the local engineers who were really nice and funny, and meeting other locals who were excited about the project and eager to help.
-Catie Jaffe, Kelsey Akerson, Bebe Chancellor, Carolina Barrosa
Everyone arrived safe and sound! After a great nights sleep we were ready to kick off the 3rd session in a big way! Today we played a lot of get-to-know-you games and we went on a wild scavenger hunt. Every group came up with creative songs to represent their family group and presented them to the entire group. There’s lots of positive energy from Ecoplaya (our homebase) that’s sure to keep going throughout. It’s our first full day together and I can already tell it’s going to be a stellar session!!!!
All students have arrived in country and are ready for an amazing program! Stay tuned for blog updates and photos!