All students have departed and are on their way home!
We got to sleep in today and had the whole morning to pack up our stuff. On our ride back to the hostel we made a stop half way through for some last minute souvenir shopping and to grab some snacks. It has been such a great opportunity to come to Costa Rica and we have all learned so much. Everything here is beautiful and the community and hotel staff has been so kind and welcoming during our stay. We all feel like we have known each other forever and become great friends. Its tough to say goodbye but we are also excited to go home and see our families.
– Hannah Morrissey, Erin Fika, Maria Steen
Last Day of Service
Today was our last day of community service and our last full day in Bahia. We went back to the beach to finish up painting the changing rooms and to complete the second shower drainage system. We painted the changing rooms a bright blue and are leaving it for another group to paint a mural on. We were able to finish the second drain and rock filter, we learned a lot about how they work and how they help the community. The park director also asked us to paint them new signs that help encourage the community to respect and take care of the environment. Travis, a community leader, held a check in circle and we all shared what we took away from the service and we ate our lunch out of banana leaves! For dinner we all got dressed up and went to go get pizza. The pizza was delicious and I think we were all happy for a break from beans and rice. A couple of us got the opportunity to speak to a couple about travel, they’re traveling life was inspiring and informative. We had a talent show when we got back it was really fun and made us bond even more.
Cascada Verde Waterfall
This morning around seven thirty, we woke up to sunshine and eggs thanks to the lovely cooks. After a delicious breakfast, we all headed out to the Cascada Verde waterfall. It was quite the walk, but it was definitely worth it! We chilled for a couple of minutes in the outdoor bar and lounge before actually heading down to the waterfall. It was a well-needed rest. When we arrived at the waterfall, everyone was very eager to jump into the swimming pond the water rushed off into. The waterfall was absolutely breathtaking and was a great spot to snap a few pictures with everyone. Many people climbed up the waterfall after seeing other people jump off of it. The rush of jumping off is worth the fear and anticipation you have while climbing up to the top. After the waterfall we had a long and tiring walk home, followed by lunch. Immediately after lunch Rodolfo gave us a very interesting talk about how the cabanas came about, and how a massive amount of hard work was put into making them possible. In regards to dinner, we cooked our own empanadas and helped the kitchen staff in the kitchen. We ended the night watching Donnie Darko and it was a very successful day!
-Madison Thomas-Little & Evan Walker
Today was really awesome because we got to go zip lining through the canopies. We rode all the way up to the top of the mountains, where we got harnessed up and ready to go. There were a total of nine zip lines, but there was also a rickety bridge we had to balance on to cross over a stream. Overall, the views were really spectacular and it was very thrilling to fly through the air.
After zip lining, we ate lunch and headed out to the beach to finish our community service, however, it started to pour and we ended up getting there late. On the beach, we were split up into different groups: painting, finishing the bio- garden, and picking up seeds/garbage. Then the rain started to come down even harder, so we quickly cleaned the materials to get ready to leave. The lightning strikes on the beach were really cool to watch, but it was dangerous to stay, so we had to leave. It was a great day.
-Calvin Barra and Julia Ferrari
Corcovado National Park
Today we woke up at 5:00 am which was extremely painful. Despite our failed attempts to keep our eyes open at the breakfast table, we managed to get a healthy breakfast of toast, eggs, and fruit, and walk to the boat tour. We all shrieked when the boat bounced vigorously against the choppy pacific. The water was stunningly clear. We arrived at the island of Corcovado National Park and went on a hike through the rainforest. It was a very majestic experience. We dodged poisonous snakes and frogs, heard the exciting shrieks of howler monkeys, observed the vibrant colors of the exotic macaws and tucans, and learned about the 300 year-old trees. We had a wonderful lunch prepared by our tour guides. Then we grabbed our snorkeling gear and got back on the boat. We jumped off and snorkeled and saw lots of fish. Although we didn’t see any dolphins or whales, we learned so much about the different types of birds, such as brown boobies, brown pelicans, and many more. We had lots of laughs in the boat. In the end, it was worth waking up so early. We all had an amazing time.
-Zoe Pratt and Maddy Gough
Today we worked in the national park called Marino Ballena. We started our own bio garden and worked vigorously to dig a hole and which we then filled with rocks. Which filters the water and releases clean water in to the environment. We had a full day or volunteer but we’re able to relax on the beach for lunch. After lunch we finished the bio garden and started painting and cleaning to make the beach more beautiful. We cleaned and painted the shower rooms located at the national park. After a long day of working we went to the market to get snacks and then returned to home base to get cleaned up, rested and hangout with our new friends. For dinner we finally had something other than rice and beans!!! Sandwiches and fries. Now we are getting ready for movie night and we voted on the movie bridesmaids. While we were at the store, some of us bought mac’n’cheese as well as popcorn to eat throughout the movie. After the movie, everyone will be going to bed early due to the fact that we will have to wake up very early for our busy day tomorrow.
-Emma Young and Sara Jacobsen
*We are trying to get more photos uploaded asap. Thank you for you understanding.
Today was the first day of working on the Bio-Garden. We split up into two groups, the first group worked on fixing up some of the signs to be put around the school while the other group worked on shoveling gravel into where the garden will be and then we switched half way through. It was really hot out, but we were able to get a lot done and we only needed about a foot of gravel to top it off. After lunch we went back out to do GPS trash pickup where we picked up trash along one of the main roads and then used GSP locators to get information about where most of the trash is found. As soon as we went out it started pouring but it was nice because it cooled us all off. After dinner we had a very thought-provoking discussion on the speech “To Hell with Good Intentions”. Everybody is super tired after a long day and excited to go to sleep.
A Full Day
*Photos to follow!
Being out here for the second day we’ve started to get the hang of home base. Today we all woke up around 7 since breakfast was at 8 and kayaking would be at 9. This time breakfast was pancakes and fruit so we were pretty surprised. We left for a 12 minute drive to the Terraba for the Sierpe Mangrove kayak tour. The instructors were extremely kind & clear on how to paddle as well as provided fruit afterwards. Heading out was a struggle for some of the groups but quickly go the hang of what to do. Was we reached the narrow parts of the river students completely immersed and captivated by the mangroves. Afterwards everyone was exhausted from the workout and returned to home base for showers and time relax at the pool. By 3:30 we began a reflection session on what we experienced in the mangroves with Adrianne and Hebrom; after lunch and the devastating defeat of Brazil by Germany with a 1-7 FIFA game. We mainly described the mangroves with our 5 senses and learned some more info through an article Adrianne and Hebrom provided. By the end of the afternoon we finished reflections over what we learned and had diner. By the end of the day we finished off with group reflections and another chaotic game of mafia.
-King Wang Ma and Christopher Aguilar
Today we hit the waves with Bodhi Surf School. The Bodhi staff broke into two groups. After countless attempts at standing on the surfboard, we then switched with the second group and picked up trash along Marino Ballena beach. These activities in tandem stressed the importance of how we must give back to the environment if we want to utilize it for enjoyment. We then headed back to the GLA Home Base for a delicious lunch cooked by our amazing kitchen staff to help replenish our energy for the community-walk lead by Travis. Our community walk was 3-hour walk throughout the community to immerse us in the rich, Costa Rican culture. In fact, we even learned seven different ways to greet a Costa Rican! Also, we learned about the effects of gentrification on Costa Rican culture, specifically the effects of the recent construction of roads in the local communities. After our walk, Travis showed us a video that stressed the dangers of tourism on Costa Rica and how it affects Costa Rican communities. We then had dinner consisting of rice and beans and closed the night bonding over a game of Mafia.
-Maya Murray and Elisha Mahar
We all arrived at the airport and searched for Michael outside. Afterwards, we all got together while waiting a fellow group mate to claim his delayed luggage. Both the customs folks and the hostel workers were all enthralled by the World Cup quarterfinals: Costa Rica v. Netherlands. After we checked in, we ate lunch and watched Costa Rica lose. It was a disheartening loss, but everyone kept their heads up in pride and we heard horns honking and cheering from many Costa Ricans outside. Afterwards, we settled in and played a few orientation games to get to know our fellow group mates.
The next day, we ate a hearty breakfast and left the hostel at 9:00 AM. We had two pit stops and arrived around 1:30 PM, it was roughly a four-hour drive. Home base was just the beautiful and relaxing atmosphere we all needed to relax and bond. Our delicious lunch fueled us to open up while playing dice, cards, and unpacking. A jump in the pool and a swing in the hammock later, we had dinner and once again played a few group games.
Tonight we’ll get a good rest to wake up and leave to surf at 8:00 am.
-Erin Fika and Soren Rodriguez
All student have arrived and are ready for an amazing program!