Saturday June 16, 2018
With all of our students safely arrived, received warmly at the airport, and transported to our local hotel, we can begin to settle in and get to know each other. The day will include supply checks, ice breakers, and first tastes of Costa Rican food! We’re preparing for our journey tomorrow that will include our first ocean glimpses and a special stop at a beach side market. We cannot wait to get to our home base and start to connect with the small and welcoming community of Rancho Quemado and we anticipate a fun journey full of incredible views, getting-to-know-you games, Costa Rican trivia, and of course some rest as well to prepare for our adventures ahead!
-Lauren (International Director)
Tuesday June 19, 2017
All of us have spent the past few days getting used to our new routines in Costa Rica. After everybody arrived in San Jose, we made the 7 hour long bus ride to our new home in Rancho Quemado. Once we arrived we were given hand woven dolls as welcome gifts from the locals.
The next morning, we toured the farm on the grounds we are staying, and tried cacao face masks from beans that we ground ourselves. We also had a great time playing games with the local kids. Our third day was when we began our service. One group began painting different signs, and the other began working on a wheelchair accessible garden.
-Written by Anna
Thursday June 21, 2018
Today is the 21stof June, and we were allowed to wake up later today than yesterday’s sharp 5:00am. There was good reason for this early wake up time yesterday, because we would proceed to make about an hour journey through the jungle to emerge at a coast where we took a boat to Isla de Cañas and snorkeled in search of beautiful tropical fish and turtles. We ended up being able to spend time at the beach and had a great time together in the ocean waves. Today was spent at a local sugar cane farm where we saw how it is processed into the 3 products that locals enjoy. Following that, we saw a butterfly garden, and although it was unexpectedly infested with ants, they cleared out quickly and allowed us to appreciate the beauty the butterflies had to show us. The weather here in the Osa Rainforest is hot and humid, but the amazing local foods, fruits, plants and people totally make it worth the wet clothes!
-Written by Adrian
Saturday June 23, 2018
As we near the end of our first week at Rancho Quemado we are all as excited as ever. Yesterday we woke up bright and early to do service work around the community, followed by an unexpected 1600 meter hike…yikes! Later in the evening we all went to tour the Gold Mines and try our hands at panning for oro(gold). We found a few pieces but only the size of “mosquito eyes.” The evening began with another long hike up a huge mountain…in the pouring rain! Although it was a trying experience it was completely worth it. The view was spectacular; we got to see miles of rainforest spread beneath us, and search for jaguars and pumas on the way down (no luck!).
Today was filled with service work, hiking, and horseback riding. When we arrived back to Rancho Quemado we had a little bit of free time to play games with the locals. Some of us played soccer while others played tag with the kids. We all truly feel like a part of this community now. The day wrapped up with a big surprise birthday party for one of the GLA students (Beyla Munach). There was cake, music, and dancing! In her words it was, “one of the best birthday surprises I’ve ever had! I had no idea what the “Mystery Algo” was going to be, and everyone kept the secret so well. It’s an incredibly warm feeling to have community members and GLA students throw you a surprise party, sing you songs, and even prepare a dance just for you after only a week of knowing each other.”
Adios! Pura Vida!
Written by Sam K
Monday June 25, 2018
Today is Monday June 27th and we have just arrived back from our two day adventure out of Rancho Quemado. On the 26th we went zip-lining through the jungle and some students were able to see spider monkeys for the first time. While half of the students where flying through the jungle, the other half stayed at the lodge of the zip-line to play card games, soccer and relax until it was their turn to go. The second half of the day was spent relaxing on the beach after a nice lunch. That night we also experienced hot water for the first time in a week at the unique eco-friendly hotel in La Palma.
This morning we went on a hike to a water fall in the Corcovado National Park to swim and experience the nature around us while we supported a local-based community tourism. We then ate lunch and headed back to Rancho Quemado for dinner and a reflection journal time before an early morning.
-Written by Luke M
As we near the end of our stay at Rancho Quemado we wanted to savor every moment we spend here. On Monday, we woke up very early to learn about the process of milking the cows. We got to experience the old-fashioned process on how organic milk is made in the town. This experience was very special to some of the people part of the program. Later in the afternoon, we got to learn how to cook a traditional Costa Rican meal. We cooked a tortilla by hand and made picadillo with the heart of palm. This allowed us to see the behind the scene action of how our meals are made. Not to mention, the tortillas we made were very delicious! Later we continued our very tiring service work of painting and planting the garden. Although we were very exhausted, the positive impact that we made on the community makes it all worth it.
Yesterday, on our last day in Rancho Quemado we were filled with sadness as we needed to part ways. We finished up the last touches of our service work and enjoyed the last minutes of working on the garden. After we were done, the people in charge of the service work gave us short heart-warming speeches expressing their immense gratitude towards us. Later we went to the plaza, the town center, to say goodbye and play with the kids for the last time. The community artisans had their goods out on display for us to buy souvenirs from locals we had gotten to know, rather than from usual market places that are less personal. Although it was sad to say our goodbyes, we were happy to see how much of a positive impact we made to the community.
Today on the 28th of June we had to wake up bright and early to get on a small plane to San Jose. Then tomorrow we will go to the airport and say goodbye to the people we have spent two weeks with. We are truly proud of ourselves and of how much we have grown as people and also we are very excited to go back home. Hasta Luego!
-Written by THE Michelle Moller