Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
So it’s been a while you all left Costa Rica and beautiful Bahia Ballena behind, and took all your great memories home. Wow, how time flies! I can still remember the first evening in Pacande, filled with never ending name games and pizza. By the time we got down to home base we were sure it would be a great session, as you guys were already making friends and mixing! That session was such a memorable one. How many tree protectors did we make?! I still remember Ali and Liz hammering in the rain, and the look on their faces when they finished, epic! The dance class was definitely a highlight, and Victoria was rocking it in the traditional dress, with Pilar and Ben tearing it up in the Kumbia. Of course, who could forget the amazing singers we had in the group…Ilana and Carmen NEED to record a duet together, and Bella wowed us with that hidden voice in the talent show, beautiful. Speaking of the talent show, Regina and Rodrigo’s dance was definitely…memorable!
One of the highlights for me was the trip to Corcovado. Despite the rain, it was such an epic day. We saw monkeys, koatis, a bazillion different trees and insects, and although Jenna was on the hunt for a sloth which never materialized, it was still pretty epic. Seeing the whales was just unreal, even if Emma and Jenna were nearly lost from our boat as the driver made quick turns at an insane speed!
Chilling at home base was always fun, and the hammock you guys so kindly got us has made it more homely. The games of Mafia were so fun, especially with Cesar as the narrator, what a poet. The never ending games of spit with Maddie, yahtze and rummy with Lilly, Lyla and Rylan, or watching Lilly play a guitar like a ukelele, home base was a special place. I even have a special place in my heart for the scorpion that appeared in Ilana, Leah and Jenna’s room, which incidentally came back to visit my room in session 3!
You guys all worked so hard at service. I remember Eric showing me how to saw when we were working on the litter museum at home base, and oriol working with one of the kids..cute! The museum Leah painted is all ready to be installed by the whale festival, and the tree nursery is growing so quickly.
All in all, what a fab session it was, with a fan bunch of young people. We are glad we got to be a part of it, and thank you guys for all the memories!
Summer Blog Posts
July 11, 2016
Buenos dias from Alajuela, Costa Rica!
After a long day yesterday for many of us travelling from many different parts,we are now on the way to beautiful Bahia Ballena and eager to get settled in to Home Base. Yesterday we had lunch in a place near our hotel, and got to know each other playing icebreakers and games. Our last student arrived at 8.30 last night, and we had pizza together before hitting the hay and recharging with a good nights sleep. We will take the bus down to Bahia today, (stopping off to see some crocodiles along the way!) and will send more news from there!
The PTP team.
Today was the third day of the GLA Protecting the Pacific program, we went surfing, cleaned up the beach, and went on a walk around the Ballia community. For the first half of the day, we went to the beach and were split into two groups. For the first 2 hours one group surfed while the other picked up trash along the beach and then switched activities for another 2 hours. Travis, Henry, and Fabricio taught surfing and almost everyone managed to stand up on the surfboard. This was the first time surfing for many of us so it was a great experience. Wayne led the beach clean up and gave impromptu lessons on different trees and wildlife. During this, one group saw a family of monkeys and other animal.
After lunch Wane took us on a walk around the community, he taught us about different trees, plants, animals, customs and places. We learned that the mangos in the U.S.A and actually called Mangas, and that real mangos are actually much smaller and oranger. Before we went back to our home base we stopped at a supermarket and bought snackadoos.
Bella and Ben
July 14, 2016
At the start of day four of the GLA Protecting the Pacific program we started off the morning with a community service workshop here at the GLA home base. For this workshop we were working with wood to construct trash museums to showcase the litter that we collected from the beach on day three. Once complete, these displays will be placed at strategic locations (such as the entrances to beaches and/or inside businesses with heavy tourist traffic). The goal is to show people how they are impacting the Costa Rican environment with their waste. Our hope is that people will be ore conscious of how the dispose of their trash after seeing our displays.
After the service project we ate lunch and loaded into taxis, which took us to Forjando Alas. Forjando Alas is a nonprofit organization that runs after school programs for children in Uvita. We all got the privilege of meeting and interacting with the local children there during multiple cut-throat games of red light green light, heads up seven up, and soccer. The kids were super funny and adorable. After stopping for a quick snack of watermelon and bananas, we said goodbye to the kids and the local volunteers at Forjando Alas and drove through a downpour back to the GLA base. We wrapped up the day with some finnnnnnnnnne feed and a talk about “The Six R’s of Sustainability” with Travis.
-Elizabeth and Ally
We woke up early and had a busy day from the start! Some of us decided to participate in an optional workout by the pool this morning before a delicious breakfast. Afterwards we bonded by sharing what we can offer the group and what we would like to learn. This led to some impromptu Spanish lessons, yoga classes, and guitar jam sessions. The vans picked us up for a bumpy ride to the mangrove where we had an amazing guided tour in kayaks. Completely immersed in nature, we saw some crocodiles (from a safe distance), ibis birds, tiger crabs, an American pygmy kingfisher, and plenty of other birds and insects and spiders. Although it did start raining on us towards the end, over all it was a very peaceful experience.
Upon returning to home base at the Canto de Ballena Hotel, we ate lunch and were visited by Anita, a dancer. She taught us different kinds of traditional dancing including merengue, salsa, and the traditional Costa Rican cumbia. She even brought a traditional dress for some of us to try on and dance in. Our day came to a close when Travis, the local GLA director came and talked to us about the importance of the mangrove and our actions effecting the environment. He inspired us into writing a letter to the Costa Rican government concerning the conservation of the mangroves and their importance in everyday life. They are an essential part of the ecosystem here and are very valued. Then we had another great dinner and some downtime with lots of rest to prepare for another day of adventure and action.
Rodrigo y Ilana
July 16, 2016
This morning we had an early start with a busy day ahead of us. 6:3o wake up and 7:00 breakfast. We began our adventure by heading to the beach. When arrived we split up into two groups. Group one started to collect trash and mangrove seeds intended for planting. The second half got into the water for some surfing and learned about the function of waves. After a two hour period both groups got some snacks and switched roles. During the service some students spotted monkeys, tucans, and other exotic trees. While the surfers learned all about the ocean and caught some gnarly waves. Following this the entire group went back to home base to get some lunch. After the group got some free time and later headed to participate in some more service work. As a group we headed to the tree nurseries where Travis assigned us with specific tasks. The group split into three subgroups. One worked of painting signs another touched up on paint work and the last group built tree protectors. Although it was quite rainy and super muddy we as a group made the best out of the situation and got a lot of work done. After a hard days work we arrived at the hotel to clean, play some games, and lastly eat dinner. We finished the day off with a great experience and a deep appreciation for our environment. Pura Vida!!
Leah Y Victoria
July 17, 2016
Today we woke up at 6:30. WE ate breakfast and headed to Vivero, the tree nursery. We were very productive today, painting signs and planting a variety of saplings. Three girls from the local community named Carol, Maria and Nicole, came to the nursery and helped us with our service. The group played “Drop the Sheet” to introduce ourselves to the girls and it was a lot of fun. After 4 hours of hard work, we headed back to the hotel for lunch. Following lunch, we had 2 hours of (much appreciated) free time, which was spent relaxing by the pool and laying in hammocks.
After this, Pilar and Travis came to the hotel to give us a presentation on “The Plastic Age.” Most people seemed very interested by the information Pilar gave us. We learned about the current and future impacts of the excessive use of plastic on the Earth and our every day lives. We split into groups and each group discussed how we could make small changes to form a solution for several overall problems. To end the day we had a delicious meal and prepared for the busy day ahead of us at Corcovado National Park.
Emma y Jenna
July 19, 2016
Today we had an early morning, waking up at 5AM for a delicious pancake and pineapple breakfast. After breakfast we walked to the beach, strapped on our life jackets, and prepared for a bumpy boat ride to Corcovado Nacional Park, located on the Osa Peninsula. Our boat ride was filled with laughs, plenty of rain, and the occasional whale spotting. We were lucky enough to watch a mother whale playing with her calf.
Once we arrived at Corcovado, we set out on a rainy adventure through the rain forest. We saw a variety of animals, including Spider monkeys, Howler monkeys, Sea Turtles, Coatimundi, Brown Pelicans, American Oyster Catchers, Trogons, Bats, and a Tiger Heron. Returning from our hike, we were met with a hearty lunch consisting of refried beans, rice and chicken, nachos, sandwiches, and fresh fruit. On the way back, we stopped for more whale watching, and saw dolphins and sea turtles as well. We arrived at the beach, made a pit stop at the supermarket, and finally dried off at the hotel. To end the day we ate a tasty meal consisting of rice, beans, plantain chips, and potatoes.
Eric and Regina
July 20, 2016
Today, we woke up at 6:30 for a breakfast of watermelon, eggs, homemade cheese and freshly baked bread. We left at 7:15 to go on a walk along the Whale Tail, which is a natural formation of volcanic rocks that forms the shape of a whale’s tail. Our guide, Wayne, led us through the jungle and taught us about some of the animals and plants that exist there, along with some of the history of the town. We swam in the beautiful ocean and some of us got a little bit sunburned. After our adventure, we went shopping and bought some coconuts. We headed back to the hotel and had some lunch (consisting of salad, rice and beans, and a potato dish) and then free time. At 2, we headed over to Vivero (the tree nursery) and did some service, which consisted of painting signs, building benches, and cleaning up the property. We decorated tree protectors with the logo of Geoporter and painted beds for saplings. After, we walked over to the soccer field and played an awesome game of futbol with some locals. They were incredibly friendly and talented players. All who played were very sweaty, so when we got back to the hotel, we jumped in the pool for a refreshing swim. At the end of the day, we sat down for a delicious dinner of frittata, rice and beans, and plantain chips.
Carmen y Lili
July 20, 2016
We woke up at 6:30 for the usual breakfast. After this we went zip-lining which was extremely fun and I’m speaking on be-half of everyone when I say that. The views were absolutely amazing along with the fun ride up and down the mountain. After this we headed back to the hotel to have a great lunch consisting of salad and rice and beans. After lunch we were doing some service at Forjando Alas which consisted in helping to build the playground for the new Forjando Alas building. During the first hour of service it rained really hard therefore everyone ended up with there shoes covered in mud. After service we went back to the hotel for a fresh shower and the taco dinner.
-Rylan and Oriol
Day 11 July 21, 2016
We began the day with an early start of 6:30 a.m. We had our traditional breakfast of rice and beans, bread, queso, and fresh fruit. Our quote of the day by Thoreau was “an early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” Taking that to heart, we began a long trek up to the waterfall and natural pool. Along the way Wayne, our guide, let us try some fresh sugar cane from a community member’s garden. The swim was refreshing after our long hike.
On the way back to Home Base, we stopped to do some souvenir shopping. We bought handmade bracelets, mugs, and t-shirts. We stopped at an artisan coffee shop, where we enjoyed nutella iced coffee, and maybe purchased some coffee grounds to bring home ;).
After returning to the hotel for lunch, we were treated to a cooking lesson from the awesome cooks of Canto de Ballenas. We made fresh salad, coconut rice, and delicious empenadas, which we enjoyed for dinner. While some were cooking in the kitchen, others were participating in various team-building activities.
During our free time we enjoyed an impromptu concert from the talented Carmen and Ilana. Then our mentor, Emily, taught a lesson about responsible consumerism. To be a responsible consumer, one must consider a product, where it came from, what you do with it, and how you dispose of it.
Looking forward to our last full day at Canto de Ballenas!
-Lily & Lyla