Update from our GLA International Director: “All students have arrived, everything is good.”
June 18, 2017
The first true day of our journey, the group set out upon a long trek by bus in order to reach our destination, Rancho Quemado. We traveled to various spots, drank from coconuts, and tried our first few tastes of the savory cuisine of Costa Rica. The journey was as excellent as the destinations we arrived at. We found friends on the bus, and bonded over stories of our hometowns, as we looked out the windows, finding the true beauty of nature. Alas, we arrived at Rancho Quemado, and caught our first glance of the people who would be aiding and spending time with during our trip.
Another day past, more memories made. The first true day of service, we were split into 2 group and were tasked with either cleaning a bathroom or building a trail used by the people who reside in Rancho Quemado recreationally. Tired mentally and physically after the hours of hard work, we walked back to the village and ate lunch to refill our tanks for the rest of the day. After this, we journaled the bird activity to gain information about the recent fluctuation of bird population, taking pictures and logging each type of bird found. FInally, towards the end of the day, we learned to find gold within a semi-local creek, while also learning about to origins of the name of Rancho Quemado. Lastly, within the library during the night, the group opened up to one another, and mad memorable heartfelt conversations that allowed us to trust and sympathize with one another, ending off the night
Starting off the day on Wednesday was not the typical rice and beans breakfast, but rather was some savory buttermilk pancakes, courtesy of the local cooks. We headed to the beach early in the morning, relaxing after the strenuous day 3. We kayaked and relaxed on a beautiful beach called Playa Blanca. After lunch, the group headed to the location where we would be zip lining. The whole group split into 3 groups, and collectively getting over their fear of heights, while the overall thrill of ziplining set in, making for an eventful and exciting afternoon. The day ended after an excellent dinner and quick group get together
Day five, and the group was ready to get to work, The first half of the day, the GLA team was split into two teams, one tasked with planting at a butterfly garden, and another team which had the opportunity to upkeep a sugar mill. After lunch, once again, we were assigned to two different teams, one in which the group would work on a filter designed for grey water, and the second group assigned to the building of a sensory garden, primarily for the disabled, Both groups worked through the day, and then were welcomed with a warm dinner after hours of work, and finished off the night with a group game of tag.
The midpoint of our journey takes us to none other than the previous day’s outlying services, the tactile garden and the soccer field filters. However, while half of us were sent to mis soil and put it in boxes, the other half of us valiantly attempted to clean the ranch basketball court, after painting benched anyways. As a matter of blogging, the water pipe we were using to clean the court bursted too, resulting in no water in the town for sometime, our own personal swimming pool, complimentary with ant and other bugs. After chilling in the sun for a cool two hours, with our bellies brimmed with fresh food, we took to the overlooking platform of the valley that contained Rancho Quemado. The mountain was steep and treacherous, nothing a cerveza couldn’t fix though, but the view was astonishing. It looked like something off a windows screensaver. The hike down was even more exciting, filled with creepy crawlers of the night such as two tarantulas and two coral snakes. We eventually capped off the night on a high note with a few quick games of Marco Polo, Soccer, and Mafia. But that didn’t even come close to what came afterwards, clean laundry.
What could be considered a slightly more relaxed day began with horseback riding or filter building For those building the filter we journeyed to Johnny’s sugar mill from the previous day in order to help building a filter for their own waste water. FOr horseback riders, we hopped on horses and traveled to a local farm to see a way of life that is slowly vanishing. There were pigs, chickens, pineapple trees, mango trees, and every other living thing that you could live off of, The short tour also included a homemade swimming pool, to which almost everyone jumped in for a refreshing moment in the rainforest, free of bugs. After lunch, the two groups switched. The horseback riders became house builders who painted benches, nailed together buildings, and other community work while the filterers went horseback riding and experienced the same thing as the now paint builders. For some of us, the day ended there, but for others, the day went to a soccer game, where Mary scored three goals in order to seal the deal for her team. Dinner came, and we had a night activity full of fun skits describing aggressiveness. The night definitely ended on a high note.
Feeling exhausted, some of us more than others, the group began the journey to an island at a place by the name of Drake Bay. The bus ride over was only made possible by the amazing driving skills Diego, as well as the heart and determination of the GLA group as a whole. Relieved, and getting out of the bus, the group set their eyes on the group set their eyes on one of the most beautiful islands they have ever had the pleasure to behold Expecting the most beautiful view to be the island itself, the boat ride over to the island was even more so. Whales, to everyone’s surprise, breached the surface of the water with their calves and gave the students a sight in which they would never forget. Once at the island, the relaxation while scuba diving and laying out on the beach was more than anything that the student have felt on this trip, by far, Closing off the day, the students arrived at the luxurious hotel in which they would spend the night.