Monday July 2, 2018
After a day full of airport runs, all students made it safely to our hotel in Alajuela, Costa Rica. Bright and early in the morning on July 3rd, we will begin our 8-hour bus ride down to Rancho Quemado. Although this ride is long, it is filled with ocean views, a visit to a famous “Crocodile River,” where, from a safe distance, we can glimpse dozens of crocodiles, and lunch at a beach side market—not to mention our first tastes of typical food! We can’t wait to make it to Rancho Quemado, in Osa Peninsula, where the community will receive us with a traditional dance from the local school children and we will meet the local staff for our program. Then, after a good night’s sleep, the real work and excitement begins! More coming soon!
Written by Lauren (International Director)
Thursday July 5, 2018
Since we arrived in Rancho Quemado we have gotten to know the community. We played traditional games with the children and had fun bonding playing soccer. Our first day here we toured an Organic Farm where we saw how the community grows food—we also got to taste some fresh fruit! We made homemade chocolate by grinding cocoa beans. The next day we learned traditional bracelet making and also set up cameras in the rainforest to observe wildlife and the bio-diversity of Costa Rica. We are all having a great time being together and being with the community and we can’t wait to go snorkeling tomorrow.
-Written by Peyton
Saturday July 7, 2018
Hola! Yesterday we woke up early for snorkeling and we saw five dolphins on the way! Then we also got to see a huge school of fish while we were in the water and we enjoyed fresh coconuts on the beach. This morning we ate homemade empanadas for a part of breakfast then did our service work in two groups—painting and working on a community garden. We had the opportunity to meet the man who had the idea to make the garden a space for people with different disabilities. We enjoyed playing soccer with the local people before we went to go talk to community elders, “the Abuelos.” We learned stories of how the community came to be and how life used to be. We’re having a great time so far. More updates coming soon!
-Written by Jackson
Sunday July 8 through Tuesday July 10, 2018
On the 8th of July we started by painting the new fence for the Plaza in the community center then we went on a scavenger hunt hunting for gold and even found some! It was cool learning about how Osa peninsula got its name and seeing antiques that were more than 500 years old on the artisanal gold mining tour. After the gold tour we went on a hike on a steep hill and saw a grasshopper getting eaten by a plant and also a possum!
Yesterday we painted the local library and also went horse back riding to a farm and walked in the rainforest. We all bonded with our horses. We also looked for animal tracks in the forest and saw the skin of a big snake. We can’t wait to go zip lining today!
-Written by Carla
Tuesday July 10, 2018
On July 10th we took an hour and a half bus ride to our destination for ziplining! We split up into two groups and saw monkeys and all types of wild life within the forest. After ziplining we went to Playa Blanca, ate lunch, and played games in the water of the Sweet Gulf. We spent the night at an interesting eco-resort and were able to meet the owner whose dream it was to make the establishment. We had a discussion about tourism and eco-tourism and which has affected the area. We realized that not all service work requires building, service requires listening.
-Written by Edwin
Wednesday July 11, 2018
On the 11th our team woke up and went to Corcovado National Park where we were greeted by the local community who lead us into the park and explained the impact of tourism in the area. Before, the area was used only for gold-mining. Inside the park we hiked through rivers and jungle to get to a natural jacuzzi. When we arrived back to Rancho Quemado again we bonded playing flashlight tag at our home base. We have spent nearly two weeks here and can hardly believe that it’s almost over! More updates coming soon.
-Written by Edwin
The past couple of days were very informational. On the 12th of July we went to the local dairy farm learned how in a hands on way to milk a cow in the safest possible way for the animal and how to make cheese and other products. It was fantastic! Then we went to traditional cooking classes. The local women teaching us were so friendly and grateful that we shared the experience with them, even if we didn’t make the food perfectly. We even made homemade tortillas!
Later we started service work. We built a wall there to protect the children in the community from falling into a ditch. We also continued working on the sensory garden. We mixed our own cement which has very tiring. The community was so grateful for our work and it was so special to see how we had done a start to finish project that really made an impact.
On the 13th after we finished our service work we had a farewell with the community and they brought home made crafts to sell. We were able to support the community and it was great to connect with them. We played a huge soccer game and I even scored two goals!! It was awesome seeing the whole community coming to play one big game with us and never judging us and always welcoming us.
Yesterday we flew up to San Jose on a special small plane ride and went to central market for lunch. It was a different side of the Costa Rican culture. We also stopped at an artisan market to see local handicrafts. After a night full of pizza and tearful goodbyes, were so grateful we had this adventure together. Now to the airport to come on home and share this this our friends and families!
-Written by Caroline