All students have arrived at site!
Hi Mom, Dad, and Loved Ones!
Can you believe it? 54 of us teenagers have successfully flown from all over the United States 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 ziplining through the jungle awaits!
Your GLA Students from Costa Rica: Beachside Service Adventure
P.S. We stopped to see the famous Costa Rica ‘crocodile bridge.’ This is a place that’s home to 30+ crocodiles living underneath a popular freeway bridge! We stopped here on the student’s drive from the airport to our home base in Parrita.
June 19, 2017
Our first full day was fun and allowed us to ease into the exciting adventures that lay before us. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast and then gathered into small groups to learn about the values of leadership and teamwork through games and seminars. To end the day we all met with our work groups and discussed our hopes and fears as well as a general outline of our lives via a life map. I am extremely excited to continue experiencing and learning about the culture of this beautiful country.
PS I saw a monkey
Short version. Costa Rica has been Hot, Muggy, Buggy, and the most fun I’ve had in my entire life. And I don’t think I’m alone in saying this. For the past two days as of writing this we have been working on our service projects, some kids are building fences for schools, others are doing murals, we are creating a garden for a wonderful man named Don Douglas, the principal/teacher/nurse/parent coordinator/ basically any other job in a school. Naturally, the man is busy so our group gets up at 7 AM, has breakfast, and then work on the garden for four hours, and to tell you the truth, I don’t think I have even been or ever will be this excited to get up early and work, maybe it’s knowing that we’re doing something to help, or maybe it’s just observing and learning about their amazing culture, or perhaps it’s just playing against a school of kids in a football/soccer match. Of course there has been other stuff as well, before we got to work on our service projects we were taken hiking and zip lining.
We also got to stay in a waterfall for a good while which was nice after the long hike (also a dog named Toby followed us!)
It’s hard to believe Term 1 has come to a close already. In some ways it feels like we just began yesterday. In other ways, it feels like we’ve been here forever with all of our best friends. What an incredible journey it’s been.
In just 10 days, our GLA students & mentors built fences & gardens at schools, painted buildings and murals, planted trees in the river valley, zip-lined, rode horses, tubed down the river, had meaningful conversations, played games like futbol & a school version of kickball but without the kicking, saw monkeys, tropical birds, iguanas & raccoons, tried local food, made corn bread from scratch, learned some sweet salsa dance moves, and did a lot of swimming in the Pacific! Most of all, we changed. We grew together. We inspired each other. We held each other up during the tough moments. We recognized each other’s value. We learned about Costa Rica. We’re not the same.
One of our students summed it up best when they said, “Before I arrived, I only thought about the differences I was going to encounter (food, culture, music, etc), and I was a little nervous. But now that I’m heading home, I’m so thankful I got to experience so many new things. It’s been the best week of my life.”
As a mentor, I’ve been amazed at the transformation I’ve witnessed in our students. I’ve seen them serve one another. I’ve heard them lift each other up with encouraging words. I’ve been honored to hear the stories of many of our students and seen how each one reached beyond their comfort zone, worked harder than they’ve ever been asked to work, taken pride in the task set before them, and contributed to engaging conversations with one another in our small group settings. I feel so privileged to have met these students. They’re not the only one’s who changed this week! We all have.
Here’s a few photos from our service sites, and a few of our adventure activities! Until next summer, Pura Vida