Tuesday July 10, 2018
Welcome Session III of GLA’s Beachside Service Adventure! We are so excited to have finally settled in to our new home for the next nine days here in Junquillal, Guanacaste! Yesterday, we were greeted with the traditional Costa Rican dinner known as the Casada – literally “marriage” in English, which is a dish always comprised of beans, rice, salad, and a protein.
We had a long day at the airport, but today after a much needed sleep, we are ready for a fun day of team building activities and getting to know one another at orientation. After trying gallo pinto st breakfast – you guessed it, rice and beans – we started the day with staff introductions, service project information, and GLA policies.
After, we met our “buddies” for the next 9 days, a way to meet new people and a safety measure to make sure everyone is accounted for. Half the students took off one of their shoes, while the other half received one and had to find their buddy and learn the story of where that shoe had taken their buddy.
Today students will complete activities like the team building exercise“bucket of dreams,” a leadership seminar, and skits and tours to learn the rules of the eco resort. We will also find out what mentor group and service project we will be in!
From all of us here at Junquillal, we are so happy that you all have chosen to eat, sleep, learn and grow alongside of us mentors in the gorgeous country of Costa Rica. Stay tuned for more to come!
Wednesday July 11, 2018
Today was the first day of divided service! Our courageous peers in the two Marbella service groups started off the day 30 minutes earlier than everyone else to get to their service sites. There, one group spent the morning at a small farm helping to reforest by transporting and watering the trees in the dry forest. Our other Marbella group spent the morning at a local school cleaning the area to prepare it for painting!
The Verda Azul service group began their first project of building a fence around the sea turtle hatchery and coming up with games to teach local children about sea turtles. Paraiso worked at a different school to help garden, build a playground, and paint murals. ROW planted plants in order for grass to grow to increase rainfall to help the water supply increase. Huerta vida y salud went to another local farm and became very in touch with nature as they took off their shoes and learned about organic growing and education.
After all of the groups returned and ate lunch, we went to Playa Blanca beach! Students enjoyed the waves, sun, and each other! After this trip, Silvia, a Guanacaste local, came and taught us about the history of Costa Rica! Everyone enjoyed learning new facts about the country and about Silvia’s life as a Costa Rican! Today’s dinner circle’s theme was courage, and students got the chance to “shout out” other students who were courageous throughout the day.
We are looking forward to continuing our service tomorrow, stay tuned!
Thursday July 12, 2018
This morning we continued our work at our various service sights. The Verdi Azul group dug holes and put wood logs into them to make a fence to protect the beautiful Costa Rican beaches and sea turtles from cars driving into them. ROW painted and cleaned bins then planted flowers. The Marbella school played with the kids and painted more of the school. They offered us lemonade and fresh oranges. It was hot and sunny but we kept good attitudes and used our Spanish to get to know the kids.
The Paraíso school group finished painting a mural and the garden box and moved it outside and filled it with dirt. After they painted tires for the playground being built. The Huerta Vida y Salud group learned about organic farming and weeded to help prepare for the new crops being planted. After our service projects, we came back together as a big group and went to the Ecomuseum and learned about local pottery techniques used by the descendants of the Chorotega indigenous tribe. We got to try our hand at shaping the clay as well! We returned to homebase for dinner and finished up the night in mentor groups talking about Interpersonal Leadership and how we interact with other people in challenging situations.
Friday July 13, 2018
Today was another busy day of service!
The ROW group put tree saplings in bags to be transferred to places that they can be planted to increase the firmness of the soil. They also prepared seeds to be planted which will grow to further the reduction of the receding landmass of Costa Rica’s shores. Many Costa Rican’s and others are worried about this recession and the effects it may have on Costa Rica and are grateful for the help volunteers give.
The Puerta Vida y Salud group pulled weeds to prepare Roberto’s farm for planting, with the weeds being allowed to grow in order to soften the soil. The volunteers have done this for one day prior to this also but should be receiving a change of pace tomorrow.
The Marbella School group continued with their work from yesterday, painting the walls with designs to appeal to children and welcome them to the school, as well as provide a fun learning environment. This will allow all of the children of the Marbella School to enjoy learning and making them feel safe in the building and with the staff.
Today VerdiAzul broke a GLA record! They dug 43 holes which is the most holes ever dug in GLA history. After this amazing record they painted some coconuts for the kids they were working with. They put turtle backs on the shells of the coconuts for a small demonstration.
The Marbella beach clean up group had another successful day of cleaning! They cleaned up a beach called cocos. The rocks on the beach were called frijoles because they looked like beans and in Spanish beans is frijoles. They started on one side of the beach and cleaned all the way to the other. Then they took a break and took a dip in the ocean.
For the fifth day of service the volunteers at Paraiso school split into two groups for service. One group painted tires at the school for decorations. The other group worked in the garden and planted seeds. After a hard day of service all the groups went to the beach!
First all the groups went to the Blanca Beach but since the tide was so high everyone had to go back to a different beach. We then tried a beach by home base where it was safe to swim. The waves were super fun to swim in and the water was nice and warm. After the fun at the beach we had a guest speaker, Matt Rosensteele. He was in the Peace Corps from 2008-2010. He told everyone about his time there and how important making connections with people is. He taught everyone very important lessons about community service.
Saturday July 14, 2018
Today we started our day early as usual and had a special breakfast like burritos, fruit, potatoes, rice and beans. Then, Carajillos had a debate about different voices of people about economic problems and social problems around the World Cup in Brazil. We learned to come together with an agreement which was difficult. After, we were split into two groups that were Guillas and Carajillos. Carajillos did zip lining that was extraordinary to look at the view up high and landscapes. Guillas did snorkeling in Playa Flamingo and had food on the boat. In the afternoon, we had tacos and did our community service.
Marbella still painted the school and we are almost finished with it. Another service group went the Coco beach, they picked up trash in a dumpster and saw a guy surf. Other service groups like Row and Verdizul combined groups and painted coconuts with the local kids. Paraiso’s service group dug holes for tires to go in, watered plants, put tires in the car they built for the playground, took care of plants, painted steering wheels and chairs. Finally, the service group, Huerta Organic Farm went to an organic market in a town called Tamarindo that shopped for food and organic products. Overall, the day was two groups doing different adventures and doing service.
We had such an eventful day at GLA. Although we didn’t get to do any service today we were out all day doing adventures and cultural activities! We began off the day with an early start with a 6:15 wake up to go tubing in the rapids. There were some mixed feelings about this, some students were scared whilst some were excited however at the end of the adventure through many people getting stuck and many falls, everyone had a positive experience and enjoyed it to the fullest.
Our eventful day continued when we stopped at a community event to try the chopping wood contest and to play soccer with the locals. A lot of girls even got to play a soccer match with the women’s soccer team which was so much fun for everyone involved. Meanwhile the boys and the rest of the girls (later joined by the soccer players) learned a traditional Guanacaste dance. After a very full day we filled up on chicken and mash potatoes, learned about critical thinking and enjoyed a well deserved rest.
Monday July 16, 2018
Today was a beautiful day, it’s been super warm here in Costa Rica since we first started our journey and thankfully we’ve been in the veranito (tiny summer) and haven’t had any rain in the day other than when we are asleep.
We started off our morning today at 7am with breakfast and everyone was off to their service sites before 8am. The Huerta group (Organic farm) continued with their weeding and managed to finish off the full half of the Mandala, which was quite an accomplishment for everyone under the hot sun. They also had a tour of Rodolfos bees that continue to stay on his property year after year which goes to show the biodiversity of his farm.
The Marbella beach cleanup group watered plants due to the drought that comes with the veranito, and they had their fun day where they swam in Loris pool and some of them witnessed a mother monkey with her baby! ROW went to a local school where they painted and cleaned the trash and recycle bins, as well as painted signs. The Verdiazul group painted signs and played a game to find sea turtle eggs located on the beach.
We all headed back to the resort around 12 noon to have a lunch that consisted of rice with chicken, as well as salad with some yummy homemade dressings! We left at 1:30pm to go to the rally where we split into 3 groups and rotated between 3 activities. We played soccer with the local kids (who were all amazing and kicked our butts!), then we had a game session where we watched a guy perform a fire act who also taught us skills such as juggling, balancing, and baton twirling.
The final activity was a cooking lesson with Doña Yolanda, where we made tortillas from scratch. We husked corn and then after boiling the kernels mixed it with water and ash to grind. We then mixed and formed our tortillas and cooked them in a pan over the fire. We got to taste them with homemade cheese and sour cream, it was delicious! We got back around 5:30pm and headed off to dinner circle and had a delicious meal. Mentor groups were from 7-8 and everyone is ready for bed after a long but amazing day.