Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
Hey Everyone! I cannot believe how much time has passed since you all were here with us in Costa Rica. It feels like it was only yesterday we were hugging you goodbye in the airport and drying your tears with our t-shirts *cough Becky cough*. First of all, I hope all of your school years are going well! Kelly, I hope you are enjoying your freshman year of college, and I hope the rest of you are not only living, but thriving in high school.
On behalf of everyone that you worked with in the Bahia community, I want to thank all of you for the hard work you did at your service projects. Since you have left, other groups have picked up where you left off and some major headway has been made. At Forjando Alas, the new building and outdoor area is nearly complete, with a brand new cement ramp, garden, and even a climbing wall! Over at Vivero, the Semilla de Ballena project is going really well. We have built and painted dozens of tree protectors, planted hundreds of saplings, built new compost/trash/recycling stations, painted countless signs and built 4 litter museums. We are well on our way to getting 3,000 trees planted in the next 2 years! We have also continued tracking wastewater and local water bodies with Geoporter and have been using water quality analysis to determine the health of small local tributaries and wastewater outlets. Finally, each group has written a letter of importance about the mangroves and all the letters will be submitted together.
Each and every one of you should be extremely proud of the work you accomplished here in Bahia, and I hope that none of you will forget the experiences you shared together. Just to remind you, here are some of my cherished memories from you GLA trip here:
- Watching all of you learn how to surf and stand up on the boards for the first time
- Saving (well trying to save) Elisa and Bella from the terrifying spider living in their room
- Watching Isaac beat his personal breath holding record (2 minutes and 18 seconds!)
- Alan! Alan! Al! Alan! Alan Alan Alaaannn!!
- Poulet Poulet! (which is still my ringtone…by the way)
- All of our awesome shuttle rides with the music blasting from the back seat
- Watching you all try to solve the human knot
- Being so proud of Audrey for facing her fear of heights on the zipline
- Watching Bailey shed tears on the zipline, only to end up having a blast
- Reading all of your I Am poems, from the first day to the last, and seeing the changes
- Diving headfirst into the breathtaking waterfall with all of you
- Watching Pol help Nitya scramble up the rocks of the waterfall so she could jump in
- Getting our only glimpse of squirrel monkeys all summer while kayaking the mangroves
- “What are the odds….”
- Seeing my first ever pod of dolphins with you (and watching Becca lose it on the boat!)
- Working our butts of at service, and seeing how much work you all accomplished
- Being able to experience everything for the first time with an amazing group
PTP, you are an incredible group of young adults and I will never forget these and the hundreds more memories I have of each and every one of you. I wish you all the best and can’t wait to see the awesome things you will all accomplish in the years ahead. Don’t be strangers!
Your Mentor Emily (and the rest of the GLA team)
Summer Blog Posts
June 26, 2016
Hey there from beautiful Costa Rica!
We have been busy getting settled into our Home Base down in beautiful Bahia Ballena, and our final student arrived today. Yesterday we had lunch and dinner in Alajuela, and chilled in the hotel, getting to know each other and getting over jet lag as some of us had long flights. We took the bus down to Bahia Ballena today, and stopped to see some crocodiles en route! Once here, we had lunch in the hotel, met the local staff, and headed on a community walk where we learned about the town and the area, saw the sights, and even saw a sloth! We had a delicious dinner in the hotel, and got settled into our rooms and got to know our roommates. Tomorrow we are surfing, and having our first service session!
June 27, 2016
Today we woke up at 6:30, had a wonderful breakfast, and got ready for the day. We left the home base and went to the beach. We broke up into two groups, one doing a service project and the other learning how to surf. The service project was picking up trash on the beach and nearby road to help clean the environment. After two hours we switched groups and around 12 we left back to the home base for lunch and rest time and many people went in the pool.
In the afternoon Travis, our local director, showed us a video about tourism in Costa Rica. We learned about two different types of tourism, staying at an all inclusive resort and voluntourism(us). Then we talked about the service projects we will be doing throughout our whole trip. Before dinner we were able to take a quick walk into the local community and go to the market for snacks. We played a quick game where you write an interesting/funny fact about yourself and then people have to guess who wrote what. Following the game we had pasta for dinner and then had free time. We had an awesome day!
Kelly Thompson and Bailey Puhrmann
June 28, 2016
Today we woke up to hot pancakes and fresh, locally produced, fruits. At 8:45 we took a short walk towards the beach to meet up with Amy, a community member collaborating with “Geoporter”, a service that aims for a better life for community members through collection of data. We walked around town measuring and observing pooled water that could lead to contamination issues. We were also able to engage with the community to a new level. We then headed back to home base for a refreshing swim in the pool.
In the afternoon we took a small ride down the road to meet up with Courtney, the founder of “Forjando Alas”: an afterschool program for local children. We played many exciting games and interacted with the children for a few hours and ended with a soccer match. Once we returned to home base Travis came and talked to us about the 6 R’s (Reuse, Reduce, Reproduce, Reinvent, Refuse, Recycle) and its importance. We concluded the day with a nice homemade dinner made by our wonderful family in Hotel Canto de Ballena. We had an amazing day!
– Becky Greenberg & Pol Bernat Belenguer
June 29, 2016
Today we woke up to hot pancakes and fresh, locally produced, fruits. At 5.30 we woke up because we had to catch the bus at 6.45 to take us to the Protective Mangroves until 12.00. There we saw monkeys, spiders, sloths, grabs and bats. We got here earlier than expected and tried to go to the souvenir corner but we couldn’t because there was a storm coming. We then ate lunch at 12.00 and lunch was an hour. We had chickpea stew. After that we played games until Travis arrived where we talked about eco-conservation. We were then divided into groups where we wrote letters addressing the up coming problems of costa Rica. Then we watched a second video about the Nestle problem in Oregon. Then we tried to go again to the super market and we all bought snacks. Then we chilled an hour and played more games then had diner at 7.00. For dinner we ate sandwiches and fries. After that at 8.45 we had a reflection and went to bed.
– Saul G. Cardenas, Mario Bastianello
Today we woke up to fresh fruit, locally produced, and farm fresh eggs. Later on, our supreme leaders explained to us, in a holy manner, today’s schedule and things to bring. We waited for the taxi which came at 7:45 and drove us to Chaman beach.
When we got there we divided in two groups one collected red mangrove seeds with the help of Canelo (Wayne’s dog) and the other group surfed, or at least they attempted.
Even though Saul had a close brush with death (joking) saving Kelly, we had a great time surfing.
We had lunch at 1 and prepared ourselves for service.
Unfortunately, it was as dry and hot as a normal day in the Sahara desert, but we had nearly the same amount of fun as when Canelo sees a crab.
When we came back we did Team Building which consisted of Helium Hoop and the human knot. After the team building we played Jeopardy, the prize was free coconuts for the winning legends.
Finally, we ate dinner and here we are, writing this masterpiece,
– Mariah Tofanelli, Alex Vives
Today we woke up at 7:30 and left for service at Forjando Alas at 8:45. We built and dug in order to build a terrace garden. Even though we took two breaks we were all extremely tired and returned to home base in time for a quick shower and lunch before having a short free time and then having a talk about life without plastics with Pilar. We watched two short videos and had an interactive talk, and then were split into three small groups in order to make short presentations to present to the judges (AKA Pilar and the mentors).
We were given another short free time before continuing our service with Amy from Geoporter by going over the data we had earlier collected during another service project. After the GPS analysis we had an hour of free time before having a delicious dinner. And then I wrote this blog post, and will further complete it by saying that in the very near future we will have a reflection circle and then go to bed early, as we are waking up very early tomorrow to go on a boat.
Today we woke happily at 5:00 and had a delicious meal of pancakes (with a lot of syrup) and fruit before leaving for Corcovado National Park. We got there by a rocky boat ride where we were able to see dolphins (with an epic picture taken by Alan!) and a poisonous water snake. Once we arrived we divided into two groups to go hiking. During hiking we got a glimpse of the lives of animals in their natural habitat. Some of the animals we saw included: a Sloth, Scarlett Macaws, Costa Rican Turkeys, a Red Deer, frogs, bats, Howler Monkeys and other exotic animals and plants. These creatures were difficult to spot among the never-ending web of vines and roots on the forest floor, but we were up to the challenge.
After this we returned for a lunch of sandwiches and rice and beans. As we ate lunch we enjoyed the scenic view of the ocean and Emilio the Pelican. Emilio was a total distance of two meters away from our lunch area. He gave us quite a fright when he yawned. (We thought he was attacking!) After lunch we waved goodbye to Corcovado National Park and set out to snorkel. Due to the cloudy weather we were unable to snorkel near the national park. However, we did swim off the coast of a deserted island closer to Uvita Bay. After our exciting adventure in both the rain forest and sea, we went shopping in the local market place. Our purchases ranged from traditional Costa Rican cookies to beautiful handmade wall tapestries. Our day finally ended with well-deserved rest and a satisfying meal of rice and beans.
-Irina and Audrey
We started off the day with wake up at 5:30 a.m. followed by a fantastic breakfast. Then after breakfast we ventured to the entrance to Marino National Park, where we then walked to whale tail, where we took a swimming break. After the tide rose we had to move back towards the entrance and went swimming again in the beautiful ocean. At around 10:45 we walked back to home base and had about an hour of free time before lunch. After lunch we met up with Travis to work on the tree nursery. We spent about two hours working on tree protectors, painting compost barrels, separating spare wood, and building bases for the tree beds. It was hard work, but ended up being very fun. We walked directly from the service to a soccer game with the local players which was extremely fun. Though we did not play as el as the locals, we still had a ton of fun. After the game we walked back to home base and had another hour of free time before dinner. After dinner we played games and laughed a lot, followed by reflection circle at 8:45.It was a great day!
Maggie and Emily
We woke up at 6 o’clock for a delicious breakfast and headed out straight out to the Osa Canopy Tour. There were a total of nine zip lines, two brides, two rope drops and one Tarzan swing. The views were absolutely breathtaking. We swung through the canopies at over 40 mph. Lots of our students were pushed out of their comfort zones and many conquered their fears. After that, we drove back to home base for a energizing lunch and some time to rest before we headed out to the tree nursery once again. We continued to work on several projects including building and painting tree protectors, building a surfboard bench, and making plant beds. We worked very hard and finished all of our amazing projects. Even though we were tired and hot, we worked hard on our projects and accomplished what we set out to do. We returned home for a restful couple of hours and a delicious and healthy dinner. The day ended with a couple of card games and our daily reflection circles. Productive days are the best types of days.
Becca and Bella
July 5, 2016
At 6 am we woke up ready to go on a long walk towards a beautiful waterfall. We spent several hours there swimming and enjoying the natural beauty of Costa Rica. Our guides of the day Alejandro and Henry showed us how to safely jump off the rocks and we also interacted with the locals who also showed up to have fun. Afterwards we walked over to a store where we purchased smoothies and souvenirs. We took a taxi back to base camp where we had fun swimming and playing games for an hour until lunch. After enjoying a wonderful meal we joined the kitchen staff to make empanadas and salads. While half of us where doing this, the rest of the group did some team building games with Emily. We took turns between performing team building exercises and cooking. At around 5:30, Emily had us watch a very interesting video about responsible consumerism. For example, in Paraguay there is an orchestra that has all of its instruments made out of garbage. A cello was made out of a chemical container and other items that are used in cooking. Once we finished watching this, Emily split us up into groups and gave us a project to come up with and present. We had to come up with an idea, whether it be a company or something we can do at home or something else but it had to be about consumer responsibility. The winner of this little competition would receive some chocolate as a prize but at the end, Emily said that everyone’s idea was equally good and that we would all receive the chocolate. Later, we had dinner which was comprised of the food that we helped prepare earlier in the day. Eating something that we worked hard to make was very gratifying and it showed us that even doing something small could go a long way in making someone’s day. Once dinner was over, we announced that the leaders of the day for tomorrow would be Isaac and Nitya. We then had our reflection circles and went to sleep, dreaming of having an amazing day tomorrow.
Alan and Thomas