All students have arrived safely and called home!
What a day it has been! Everyone has arrived safe and sound (minus another flat tire and a couple of delayed flights). We didn’t let that hinder our spirits though! We have an amazing group filled with lots of energy, positivity, and good vibes. Today we got to know each other and the place we will be living at for the next week. In the afternoon we went to town and got some snacks at the grocery store and had some Spanish Lessons with Luigi. It was a lot of fun. We are looking forward to an action-packed session!
Alex’s Service Group (Oona, Erin, Matthew, Ryan, Mike, Jo, Martha, and Ruth) visited a day care in La Cruz, where they spent the day vigorously cleaning tires to eventually create a playground area for the kids. Originally there were no tools to clean with so Erin and Ruth took their socks off and used them as rags to scrub with, showing an atmosphere of flexibility and willingness to use whatever they had when addressing a situation. The volunteers even got to spend some time playing with the happy and excited kids!
Erin Curley (Leader of the Day)
Jakes Service group (Annabelle, Natassja, Will, Maya, Ian, Katie, Gabriel, Genevieve, and Sydney) visited a medical center. After half an hour of football and other games with the students at the school next door, we started with our service. Split into two groups, we both prepared the medical center for a new coat of paint and dug holes for a new fence, which will protect the students and their greenhouse. Most of the tasks seemed quite demanding at the beginning, but seeing the gratitude for the locals and positive change we did, made up for everything. Overall this was a very new, interesting and rewarding challenge
Gabriel Dumfahrt (Leader of the Day)
Regina’s service group (Bailey, Nina, Rachel, Devin, Emma, Jessie, Dolan, Ethan, and Luis) visited a school where they’re in need of a sidewalk outside of their school. Although shoveling and wheeling wheelbarrows of rocks and gravel isn’t necessarily fun, during recess we were able to play a game of soccer with the kids and get to interact with them. Us volunteers are really excited to get back and continue our work at the school and see how fare we get in the end.
Bailey Drinon (Leader of the Day)
Today Lisa’s group (Beth, Emily, Paola, Alejandra, Meghan, Patrick, Kelly, and Mia) went to a local high school to help out in the English class. All of the students were very friendly and it was fun to interact with Ticos who are our own age! We even dance the Cha Cha Slide and sang both the American and Costa Rican Anthems. It was a great experience. Later in the day we went to a beautiful scenic beach. It was fun even though there were jellyfish in the water
Emily Sullivan (Leader of the Day)
There are subtle culture shocks that we are adjusting to- the incredibly bumpy roads and warm drinking water. But its day 5 and we are working hard to serve the community of Guanacaste.
On the bus ride to day 2 of service, I kept thinking about the talk that our teacher, Luigi gave last night about how peaceful and happy los Tico are. It couldn’t be truer. On the ride down the dirt roads to the service site locals wave and smile to us and families are everywhere.
On site, as we waited for some supplies (paint for the tire-flower pots we are making), we played with los niños. We are getting to know them well. Then, for the next 3 ½ hours, we split ourselves into two groups and worked on two projects at hand. The first was to build flowerpots out of tires. We stacked then snowman style and painted them, one red and one yellow.
Behind the school, the second group worked with a pickax and “palas” (shovels) to break up the hard clay and chunks of cement below the kid’s jungle gym. It was rewarding work to know that once we clear out the rocks and add a layer of sand (tomorrow’s task), then the kids wont get hurt when they fall down on the ground
Ruth Fuller (Leader of the Day)
Today Jake’s Service group went to a local high school to teach some kids English in preparation for their upcoming spelling bee! When we arrived we all felt welcomed and got right to work. We split off into small groups into different classrooms and began to quiz each kid individually. Then we decided to have fun with spelling and played hangman! We divided the class into two teams and whoever got the word in hangman won, which got them pumped to play even more. There was also some time left where we were able to judge a singing competition between some high schoolers. It was so much fun and some of us even out our own personal tour of the school before we left for the other activities of the day.
Natassja Alluin (Leader of the Day)
Despite the crazy wind, the scorching sun and the never ending scrubbing, it didn’t compare to the amount of positive energy that was received. Overlooking all of these obstacles to the sounds of laughter was more than a satisfying feeling. The difference was definitely seen after cleaning and painting the walls with my team members. While taking a short break and walking over to the daycare center arose a different aura. I’ve never seen such energetic and happy kids in my life! Not only did we learn about other kids, but we also engaged in games on the playground, played tag, tic-tac-toe, and even some of the girls braided my hair. It was an unforgettable moment knowing all of these smiling faces was more satisfying than anything else.
Paola Vélez (Leader of the Day)
In Regina’s service group, we continued to shovel the rock and dirt to fill the sidewalk for the children. Then at recess the kids came out wanted a rematch in soccer, but the 3 and 4 year olds came running and jumped on us wanting love and piggy-back rides. After we ran around with the kids for a bit, the bell rang and they all went back to class. A couple hours later we played a soccer game against the locals and got destroyed 1-7. Louis scored our only goal and was a real great player alongside Ethan Winter. All in all it was a great day!
Dolin Wegner (Leader of the Day)
Today Lisa’s group helped build a sidewalk. We elevated a mixture of sand, rock, cement, powder, and water. We then poured this mixture onto the sidewalk. The work was strenuous and required patience and teamwork. Apart from that we got to play with the little children from the school we are creating the sidewalk for. It was a new and incredible experience.
Alejandra Wright (Leader of the Day)
Today was an exciting day for Regina’s service group! We started off the day by going to visit the local bilingual high school, where we split up into two groups. In one group, we helped students from ages 11-16 study for the spelling bee they’ve been preparing for. The words were split into levels that became increasingly harder, and when we got through all six, we played hangman with the words on the list. After a few exciting rounds, we took some pictures with the kids and exchanged contact information. We were particularly impressed by how strong the school’s English department was; these kids definitely spoke better English than we do Spanish. We hope to stay in touch with these sweet, smart kids!
Evening activity: after wishing a happy 17th birthday to Paola, we gathered for some improve games and a talent show. We had a lot of fun acting ridiculous in front of each other, and some people singing as well! We ended the night with some ice cream and went to sleep very tired
Nina Grinblatt (Leader of the day)
Today was all about the tires. While before, we were working on the playground; today we put all of our manpower into the tire structures, such as the minion and the ladybug. We started the frog and of course a new bear-ginning….oh man these puns are un-bear-able. Jeez, I need to paw-se and look at my life. Most of the structures are nearly complete, so I think that our projects should be done on time
Matthew Pullella (Leader of the day)
Today was a tiring day at the hospital service site. Our jobs vary from day to day at that location, but today we had to lay down cement for a patio of sorts in front of the medical building. It was difficult work, needless to say (laying and mixing cement is rather difficult) but at the end we felt very accomplished when we looked at the progress
We received a short break in the beginning to play with the children for their recess, which was adorable and loads of fun.
Katie McQuaid (Leader of the Day)
Today at the school where we were building the sidewalk, we mixed and poured concrete to make the sidewalk for the children. To make the concrete, we put lots of stones and sand in a mixer and added concrete powder and water to form the substance. During our free time, we played the hotel staff in a game of soccer and did not score even once. It was surprising to all of us how good they were at a game that they most likely had never been coached in. We also had dance lessons a night, which was fun. Overall, it was another great day here in Costa Rica.
Ethan Winter (Leader of the day)
Today we dug holes for the daycare to make “tire art.” We painted the tires to make them look like animals such as bears and ladybugs. After our service my mentor group went to the uninhabited island of Bolaños. Overall today was a great day filled with fun in the sun.
Patrick Keenan (Leader of the Day)
This morning, Jake’s service group went back to the medical center/school where we played with kids during their recess, moved huge piles of sand and rocks to a different location, painted the medical center, and picked up glass in an area where many of the school boys play soccer. Pushing the wheel barrels was tough work, but we managed to move everything to where we needed it to be! Local women came yesterday and today, and have been helping us out a lot! They are even coming up with ways they can help with other aspects, after GLA leaves. Sparking a community to come together and help out is something we are really happy about! We got to come home and have tons of free time to relax, swim, make key chains and play some soccer, were the locals beat us once again (and Lindsey got thrown in the pool!). Overall today was a rewarding day full of hard work and fun! Also, shoutout to my big sis Anjali who I miss so much! See ya soon sis!
Maya Patel (Leader of the Day)
Alex’s group went to the high school today. GLA students talked to the local students to teach them English. We had such a great time that tomorrow we will rendezvous. Overall most connected on a deeper level, snapchats, facebook, and instagrams. Hopefully lifelong friendships can be made.
Jovanna Herrera (Leader of the Day)
Rachel Vresilovic (Leader of the Day)
During service today my group and I finished yet another square of cement for the sidewalk being built at the elementary school we have been visiting. We all knew the routine of filling buckets with piles of rocks, sand and water to add the cement mixture. It was tiring yet fun to work with one another in completing a sidewalk that will make a difference to so many people. Being leader of the day meant keeping an eye on all my fellow GLA members and making sure they were hydrated and ready to work. Not only did we work with cement today but we also attended the spelling bee at the high school in La Cruz. It was so amazing to see how the high schoolers had improved in their English speaking enough to spell out words in front of their classmates. These experiences are cherished in the moment and will be a cherished memory of mine in the future.
Beth Moed-Nelson (Leader of the Day)
Today was our last service day in Costa Rica. Jake’s group finished the week by finalizing the third cement square in the sidewalk for the school. We ended the day by cheering on some local high school students in a spelling bee and dance performances. We spent the last couple of hours of the day at the beach, tanning, swimming and playing volleyball
Jessie Bunting (Leader of the Day)