We are en route to our HomeBase in Bahia de Ballena!
Our first official day as GLA students commenced s we the majority of us woke up around 7. After we would pack the little we took out the day before. A breakfast of cereal and bread and jelly and butter was followed. Around 9am we got on a tour bus in which we would start out 4 hour journey. We made one stop for pictures from a bridge of nature allowing us to capture wild crocodiles floating and resting around in one big colony. We also got to enjoy completely natural smoothies at this stop. Once we got to the hotel our staff made a great first impression with a classic dish of chicken and rice mixed with ketchup. Our mentors activated our social abilities with varies game and activities to get to know each other. A free time of 1 hour was provided in which most students took advantage of the pool. Dinner followed at 7pm and after more activities. The last part of our day was bed time. The environment around home base is a positive and open one. Great 1st day.
Today we woke up early and had gallo pinto with eggs and toast for breakfast. A lot of people were still jet lag so we were a few minutes late to leave for surf and service. Once we got to the national park, we split up into two groups. One group started by raking and shoveling leaves and coconuts to clean up and prevent coastal erosion. While the first group was doing service, the second group learned to surf. No one from our group had surfed before, but by lunchtime everyone had stood up on a surf board. We made our way back to home base where we had lunch and then had some free time. Many people chose to spend some time in the pool. After our free time, we started out on our walk through the community. We learned so much about the rich culture and history of the young community we will spending the next two weeks in. After our walk, we went to two supermarkets so everyone could stock up on Costa Rican junk food. When we got back to home base, we watched a movie about tourism in Costa Rica. We had dinner, and then we reflected on our day. Everyone was so tired that we had to skip over our evening activity. We will be going to sleep early tonight so we are ready for a day of painting and meeting the children at the local school tomorrow!
– Charlotte – today’s LOD
Leaders of the day: Deqi Liu & Wenyu Ji
It was an easy but educational and fun day. We woke up our friends in Chinese like our kindergarten teacher did for us. In the morning, we painted on different signs, on the walls of the Salon Communal and on the each other 🙂 In the afternoon, we had a lesson of GPS that is about how locals track trash and reforesting mangroves. It was a great day! We look forward for the rest of our journey!
Today was an amazing day. We woke up early to help paint a mural at the Salon Communal. And as we were painting the kids from school came out to play!!! After we went on a Kayak trip down in the mangroves which was scary at first but was a great and fun experience! So much to learn about Protecting the Pacific
Leader of Day: Samantha
So today, the group headed over to the heart of the community, which was Salon Comunal, where half of the students worked on finishing the second section of the mural, and the other half tended to the local tree nursery being built. The students who helped paint the mural on the community center were later joined by many of the local children, and able to jam out to the music from the children practicing their dance for Independence Day in Costa Rica. Meanwhile, at the nursery, the other half of the students helped work on the signs that, once finished, will be hung from the school, teaching and encouraging students to remember values, such as justice, prudence, and etc. While some of the students helped finish the value boards, the rest of the students helped clean the garden up, as well as help the men with the cementing for the bottom of the center.
After a morning of hard work from all of the students, we headed back and the students had time to shower, chill, hang by the pool, or nap before and after lunch.
Shortly after our break, the students worked on another project: building bio gardens. Some of the students helped build the infrastructure for the bio gardens, that would be placed in schools, encouraging children to grow their own food. The other half of students worked on finishing the signs that would be stuck around town, and hung in the local school, promoting certain values, and also signs that showed where a location was.
After the students hard work building the infrastructures of the gardens, as well as touching up the signs, the students were able to analyze data from GIS. With Amy from Geoporter, the students were able to analyze the data ,collected previously, for mapping out good locations to plant trees. Students saw the importance of making well in formed decisions before making them, like when students were able to view the data collected on garbage collecting and saw where there was the most trash, and, if they had the chance, where would be the best accurate place to place a garbage can around the area.
Shortly after a long day of working in the sun, students had dinner, and afterward gathered as a group closing the day. The students also learned the importance of the ocean, by watching a documentary explains how serious the pollution in the ocean is/has become.
A very full day and an early morning means a late blog post from yesterday’s LOD: Rosie
Today was an amazing day for us all here at GLA Costa Rica “protecting the pacific”. We began our day at 5:20 am to a wake up call of “Oh Champs Élysées” avec la guitare de JP. After a delicious breakfast, we embarked on our adventure for the day by foot. After picking up our snorkeling gear and passing through the main street of Bahia Ballena, we found ourselves aboard a motor boat crossing the bay to Corcovado National Park. In transit we spotted a turtle, some humpback whales, and some spotted dolphins. At Corcovado we hiked along the jungle trails. Our guides showed us a red-eyed tree frog, white-faced monkeys, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, deer, scarlet macaws, and many other rainforest marvels. We wandered under the green light filtered through the canopy until we were lead to a beautiful dark sand beach, where we found an appalling amount of ocean garbage. That was a powerful moment of the day: witnessing how close the fairytale-like forest, containing 3% of the world’s biodiversity, was to a beachside strewn with the plastic discards from countries around the pacific.
Later we went snorkeling at Isla De Caño national marine park. In our boat trip between Corcovado and Isla De Caño we were distracted by a group of 4-5 breeching humpback whales. Our group was awe struck to say the least.
Later, while snorkeling, we spotted several schools of fish and a sea turtles while being serenaded by distant whales. We got out of the water sooner than planned due to the rapid approach of a giant storm cloud. The majority of our team caught some sleep and got drenched on our return trip.
The sky opened up on us as we strolled through Bahia Ballena back to GLA home base.
Happily showered and fed, our group ended their long adventurous day with a game of “guitar trivia” or “guess the song/karaoke” with human Jukebox, JP.
Bon nuit GLA! merci pour aujourd’hui, c’était vachement bien!
Leader of the day: Cecile
So first we had a wake up full of compliments. For instance, wake up calls such as “good morning beautiful” and I thought it was amusing doing them. Then we had service which was painting the mural for the community salon and making bio gardens. Everyone overall did an awesome job even though we were a tad late going there. Then afterwards, we went to the hotel and ate lunch and had some chill time. Some surveys were taken during that time from a college undergrad named Sarah. Then we had a trust activity which did all sorts of things like bring in trust, the idea of taking risks and whatnot. The activity was a trust walk where the person is blind folded and another person is leading them around. I led this activity. Afterwards, we went to play soccer with the locals and it was amazing and fun even though it was raining hard during the time. Then we went back to the hotel, had dinner then discussion. Overall it was a pretty busy and good day.
Leader of the Day: Jillian
Today we Woke up at 6 to start our day. The day started off with breakfast(eggs,toast, And rice with beans) then a drive to the place we were going to zip line at. Zip lining was an activity that some of US havent experienced yet. So it took a lot of bravery And courage. Once we got in our gear we realized how uncomfortable it was but there was no going back. Zip lining was probably One of the best experiences that we’ve experienced so far in this trip. Some people zip lined up side down as well. It was a great bonding time full of laughter And jokes. After zip lining we came back to eat lunch. Then around 2 we headed to our last day pf community service at salón comunal. The service was based on finishing all the murals we started. Once the time was up the murals looked really nice and vibrant. Altough we Didnt get to finish One mural the rest looked amazing! After service JP kept his promise And took US to the súper market, which might not seem exciting but it was the cherry on top of a perfect day. After the súper market we came back And did Ocean Hour. Ocean Hour was intersting And full of intersting facts about Costa Rica And the world in general. After Ocean Hour it was dinner time, which was a change from the rice And beans. we had taquitos! After dinner we got to watch a movie called 180 south. But overall i can day that today was My favorite day our here in Costa Rica! Pura vida !
LEADER OF THE DAY: Josephine
Sprouting into a community of light-heartedness, extended hands, and taut lips pulled wide across cheeks, I am grateful for my environment to be as dedicated to striving towards betterment as judiciously as my highest self urges me. Each rudimentary block of social interaction is held as the cornerstone of past, future, and present gateways built to lead toward a peaceful existence. With this mindset, the actions of GLA volunteers and employees stem into lubricated cooperation, sweaty reparation, and sticky memories lodged deep in the collective consciousness that exists in each program. To be able to blow on the backs of people with eyes locked on passion and their toes ready to spring into the most opportune places in need of attention is akin to a seed being planted into fertile soil. The effort that is infused into what we are handed is coddled into an inferno by the warmth of this culture, and the humans that maintain it through cautious rejection of acknowledging what separates us. “If you love something, you must protect it. To love something, you must know it.” To have been able to immerse my nose in the moist air, my toes in the lush sand, my eyes in the precious simplicity that surrounds me is to have been surrounded by love, and to have been marinated in the knowledge that I cultivate the essence in which I drench my soul in. When I am asked what perfume I wear, I’ll reply, “GLA.”
– Lilly Birrell
Today started off rather… interesting the leader of the day, Rosanna accidentally woke up students at 5am due to a misunderstanding with her cellphone’s time zone. It was a rather comical mistake and surely started this awesome day with a kick. Breakfast was amazing as usual and was followed by our journey to our first activity which was visiting a waterfall. Students went swimming and had a great time socializing with each other. Our time at the waterfall was absolutely breathtaking and was soon followed by getting refreshing smoothies, shopping for souvenirs, and coffee. Students also received wireless internet for about 20 minutes which allowed them to get in touch with home. For lunch they had pizza at an amazing restaurant with many of the GLA volunteers and mentors. Dinner was the best part yet! They heard an inspiring speech which aimed to aid their transition out of Costa Rica and back home. They also had an amazing time dancing to popular styles in the region (salsa, merengue, bachata). In all, today was one of our best days yet.
We’re in Alajuela and heading to bed–early flights in the am!
All students have departed and are on their way home!