All students have arrived. Everything went well and everyone is safe. Tomorrow we travel to our home for the next two weeks, Rancho Quemado. Next blog update coming soon.
Group started with a traditional breakfast this morning. We left San Jose at about 9am. On our way to rancho quemado we stopped at the beach.
We are traveling now, and due to low connectivity in rancho quemado, we are sending this update from the road.
Looking forward to sharing more of our experiences soon!
After spending the night in San Jose we took an 8 hour bus drive to Rancho Quemado. About an hour into the journey, Sandro, one of our GLA mentors, spotted a sloth, or peresoso in Spanish. We stopped the bus to take a closer look at this slow creature. Our second stop was in this beach where we had lunch. There were tapestries hanging on the side of the beach. There were locals break dancing. There were fellow foreigners enjoying the waves and the beautiful surrounding of Costa Rica. Our last stop before we reached Rancho Quemado was for a bathroom break in this nice restaurant outlooking the forest. It was such a calming view to see and witness. Finally we arrived to our destination where we met the members of the community and received gifts that they had made specially for us. Day 3 Today’s our official activity in Rancho Quemado. We went to the library to discuss the rules and policies of the program through a game of jeopardy. One of the best part of the day was when Sandro showed us his organic farm. He showed us all kinds of plants and trees with really great healthy benefits. After Sandro’s short tour, we crushed some cocoa beans with our hands, we learned how to make a cocoa drink. We also put on a chocolate mask that was by the way really rejuvenating. The next activity we did was the making of bracelets with this fiber called “cabuya” that was pretty interesting. The next thing we did was the rally, which was REALLY FUUUUN. We did a lot of games and really got to bond with the community. And last but not the least activity that we had is the visitation of abuelos. We got into abeuelo house and they told about the story of their town Rancho Quemado and the struggles that experience to get where they are right now. Day 4 On day 4 we went did service by making a path in the rainforest for 3 hours. Then, after all the hard work we had lunch and a break. After this we went to the gold mines to get a tour and look for some gold. We found small pieced of gold and silver. Later we went to the community plaza to play some games. Then we had dinner and met up at the library to do an activity. Everyone had to tell make an album with songs that tell their story. Finally everyone went to sleep after a long day.
We woke up and immediately got to work. The task was to plant a row of yuca plants. We began by digging holes each a foot apart and sticking two short yuca branches in each hole. Next we had to dig two shallow trenches on each side of the row of holes. This served to destroy any roots that may impede the growth of the yuca plant. In the afternoon we went zip lining and got great views of the rainforest. We finished the night with a bonding activity and went to bed
We started off at 7:20 for breakfast. After breakfast the garden kids, did horse back riding. For Filter kids they did their service turning tires inside out. Next was lunch and break. Then we’re back to filter group horses back riding and garden group to garden digging a ditch for water flow. Then dinner and lights out.
Everyone went to their service sites to do service from 8 to 12. Some people installed filters and others worked on a garden. After that we ate lunch. Then, we all went on a hike that was straight uphill. Up there we enjoyed the beautiful view and had a picnic. Then, we went back down in the night and saw many insects and snakes. We arrived to Rancho Quemado and ate dinner. After this we had some group time and went to bed.
Filter group continued to install the filters at Yolanda’s house for the Grey Water Project. The garden group raked a path and dug a ditch for putting in pipes. We went to the butterfly garden to learn and appreciate the beautiful species of butterflies and how it contributes to the ecosystem. Then we headed to sugar cane mill to learn how brown sugar’s made. It was very interesting how sugar’s made before it’s processed refined. Later we had some group bonding time and went to sleep.
Day 9 Beach day!!!
We head out to Drake Bay and got into a boat to go snorkeling! The boat took us to this breath-taking island with turquoise water and fine sand which turned out to be a marine conservation island called Caño. A bunch of us have never been snorkeling before but all together, fear and nervousness aside, we spotted beautiful sea creatures such as sea turtles and colorful fish. We chilled in the beach, soaked in the sun, and enjoyed the saltiness of the ocean. On the boat ride back to Drake Bay, everyone was filled with awe when we spotted these huge massive whales swimming with dolphins. We couldn’t help but love and appreciate on these spectacular sea creatures. It was downpour when we ought our way to the house we were gonna stay in for the night so our bus could not cross the river because the water was too high. Fear not! GLA staff to the rescue and the adventure goes on. We got off the bus and crossed a hanging bridge where a pick up truck was waiting for us in the other side We had late lunch in a restaurant and then finally arrive at Casa Drake. Casa Drake was this beautiful home with wooden floors, stairs, and walls. We spent most of our time hanging out and bonding all through the night.
On day 10 we woke up in Casa Drake and went hiking in the Parque Nacional Corcovado in Los Planes. There, we learned about different types of animals and plants. After, we went to the beach to go in the water and have fun. Then we got on the bus and headed back to Rancho Quemado. When we got there we ate dinner and had did a group activity. We then went to the soccer field and had a game with another volunteer group called Tamandua and the community. It was really fun, and then we all went to bed tired from a long day.
Welcome to the news for day 11, we woke up in the morning at 6:30 to milk cows and we all got to try and see how they would usually milk the cows which was super interesting! After that they gave us cheese and milk bread and gave us input on how to make cheese and how they make their own milk. Then we had our service at 8:00 where we went into our different groups which were the garden group and the filter group. The garden group helped dig up different types of plants in the forest and took them to different parts of the trench that they built and made the area pretty, the filter group dug up dirt and planted corn. After that we took a lunch break and hung out for a bit, then we split up into different groups and went to separate houses to learn how to cook some of the food that they make here. It was so much fun to learn the culture and to experience how to make it. And to close off the night we had GLA time.
Hola! It’s day 12! We woke up at 7:20 to have some breakfast, then we went on a forest hike in the morning which was super fun and we experienced seeing monkeys and different types of wildlife. Then we started service at Yolanda’s where we then planted stuff around her house, then we ate dinner and went to a farewell community event which we saw dancers and played some soccer with the community and we said our last goodbyes. We had a great last day! Thanks GLA 🙂