Monday July 16, 2018
Hello friends and family!
Our first day here in San José has come to an end with everyone settling in for a much needed rest. Flights arrived quite smoothly throughout the morning and afternoon and some even got the chance to try a local lunch called “casado” which translates as “married” – here the marriage is rice and beans with a meat, plantain and salad on the side. We did our swim tests in the hotel pool as well as some free swim / jacuzzi time once the whole group arrived. Before dinner we got together to do some quick get-to-know-you activities and headed to a buffet right across the street.
Tomorrow we will have a short city tour here in San José before heading along the windy roads to our host community of Providencia. Stay tuned for another post in the next few days – our GLA students will be writing them from now on!
By: Nico Couto
Wednesday July 18, 2018
Hello, Parents and Others!
Today is the 18th of July! We had breakfast at 7 and started work at 8. We took turns getting rocks from the river and shoveling to make a bio-garden, which is basically a natural filter that will be used to clean the soapy and greasy water from the house we are working. The river near our homebase is one of the cleanest in the world so Green Communities wants to keep it that way. We worked on it until 12:30, when we had lunch. There was rice, beans, salad, and plantains. We then had a small break and then started our Spanish lessons. We took placement tests to determine which level we were in and then listened to a song and filled out a worksheet. We then had a break and had dinner, and after journaling and then free time and then bedtime.
Thank you for reading his post and I hope you come back to read more!
By Hannah Li
Saturday July 21, 2018
Yesterday, we completed our third day of service, taking huge steps in completing the first two biogardens in the history of Providencia, the town in which we are staying. Then, we had our first Spanish class in our different levels. The authors of this, Jacob and Preston, are both learning typical Costa Rican terms that the Ticos use, such as “Mae“ and “Pura Vida!!! “ After a delicious dinner made by chef Juan, our gracious host at Tami Lodge, fajitas de carne, we had a group discussion about sustainable tourism and the benefits of locally run lodges over huge beachside hotels run by people who aren´t from Costa Rica. Luis Diego, our fearless Costa Rican leader told us the 6 rules to smart tourism. Make sure to ask your kid about it when they get back!!
Today, Saturday, we finished two biogardens after four days of work. Javier, the owner of the house where we built the second biogarden from scratch gave us an emotional thank you, and his family gave us all bracelets and ice cream that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. Later, we went to the plaza and played soccer with a bunch of kids from Providencia, including Juan´s son, Gustavo. We unfortunately lost, 5-7, but it was very fun, highlighted by goals from Preston, Myles and Jacob, and outstanding goalkeeping by Diego and Max. Then, the advanced Spanish class helped Juan cook casado, a traditional Costa Rican dish that newly-wed spouses often cook for each other, while the other two Spanish classes played some Costa Rican games.
Thanks for reading our blog post and be sure to check soon for updates about our waterfall hike and ziplining adventures. We also do laundry tomorrow!
Hope the U.S. is ok,
-Preston Helfand and Jacob Cowan
Wednesday July 25, 2018
Today is day 10, and it´s Wednesday my dudes! Day 7 was adventure day 1, which was a 4 hour hike! Although the hike was difficult, and had many spiky trees along the way, the destination was a beautiful waterfall! Check it out on our instagrams @emilygr4 and @s.oficav #selfpromo. In my opinion, the best part of the hike was the delicious butter and jelly sandwich we each received half way through! It was the perfect kick to get us through the rest of the hike #welovebutter. Later that day we did “adopt a gringo”, where we spent two hours in the home of a Costa Rican family with two other members of our group. It was a super fun an immersive experience which really helped us gain a better understanding of how locals live. We finished that night with a movie called “Tambien la Lluvia”, which sadly half of us slept through #hotpockets.
Day 8 was our second adventure day, and we visited the Extreme Forest Park. We did a short zipline which was probably 100 feet, and by far the easiest thing we had to do. That led to a Tarzan swing, which forced us to jump off a ledge and swing high into the air. Next we had to the jungle fly, which was the most terrifying experience of my life. We were pulled high into the air, and then released by our dear friends when we were least expecting it. We then swung 100 feet into the air, back and forth, screaming all the way. We then moved on to climb the inside of a 90 foot 500 year old tree, which was very difficult and then we jumped out the top and were lowered to the ground. It was quite the experience, and took #bigenergy. We ended the day with Spanish class and cafecito, which is the highlight of the day every day.
Day 9 was service day 5! We started mixing and laying cement for an amphitheater for the community of Providencia, where they will be able to hold town meetings, play basketball, and have concerts. When we got back we did a dance class, dinner, and discussion with the Young Dreamers. We got to dance with them, which was a blast, and we got to see our own directors bust a move #sofiandjonathon4life.
Today we did more service, where we continued to mix cement with the Young Dreamers #cementfight. Then we came back and had Spanish class, and level 1 had a cooking class with Juan. We are about to have the dinner they prepared, and then watch a movie, so we´re droppin to dinner boys.
Goodnight and Pura Vida mae,
Sofi Cavenaile & Emily Greeley
Sunday July 29, 2018
Hello everyone! The Spanish Service Adventure group visited the beach the last three days and I`m going to tell you about it!
The journey to the beach was quite exhausting, yet when we arrived, El Parque de Manuel Antonio welcomed us with is beautiful nature and many types of animals. We came in contact with white faced monkeys that followed some members of the group for a while. Our guide, Leo, was generous enough to show us the sloths that were hanging high in the trees and questionably poisonous spiders along with frogs unable to mate because they are deaf. We followed the long hiking trail to the beach where we all sprinted into the waves and were greeted by the extreme saltiness of the Pacific Ocean. We bonded with group activities like human knot in the water, which did not last very long. However, it started to rain so we left for our hotel. The place where we were staying was very nice and each room was a separate building. The hotel also had a very nice swimming pool, which was the main hangout spot for our group. The buffet food was excellent and we finally received a dessert, which we were craving for a long time.
The next morning, we journeyed to the surf beach! We were all super excited and it was way more fun than we expected. Two hours of surfing was not enough time to fully experience the joy of surfing. Afterward, we ate pineapple and mango and we went shopping on a street market and bargained with local vendors. A few hours later, we went to dinner at a Thai place called Phat Noodle, which is still an ongoing joke within our group. The food was absolutely delicious and some of us also bought brownies and ice cream, which we all inhaled.
The next morning, we drove back to Providencia, which now feels like just home. We went the Plaza to meet the young dreamers, or the local teens and played soccer. However, it was pouring rain and new game emerged which was who could go the farthest in homemade slip n slide, which Max was crowned the winner.
Thanks for reading this blog and keeping up with our trip.
More to come later!
Zoë Peters :))
By Olivia Shaw
Monday July 30 through Wednesday August 1, 2018
Hey everyone! I’m going to tell you about days 15-17 of our Spanish Service Adventure.
Starting on day 15, we began our last service cycle, which was working on an organic coffee farm. The farm belongs to Juan, one of the owners of Tami Lodge and the man who prepares our amazing food every day. We began by working at the biofabrica (bio factory), making fertilizer and shoveling it into bags. While it was fun and educational, this was also the first day we all began smelling like poop (pardon my French)! We learned about all of the different things that go into making organic fertilizer (it’s a lot!) and worked tirelessly to fill what seemed like hundreds of bags.
Day 2 was on Juan’s farm, where we began with a discussion about agricultural production with Arturo. We then got to walk through a conventional coffee farm and an ecological coffee farm to see the differences. The most prevalent thing we all noticed was that the ecological farm had flowers and trees, not just coffee plants. We then began filling small buckets with the fertilizer and passing it down a long chain of people to put a bucket on each coffee plant. It was quite exhausting, but still managed to be fun. Day 3 began with a discussion about water, followed by walking to Savegre River to talk more and see water pouring from the earth. The discussion was quite touching and I think everyone took something away from it. After this, we went back to Juan’s farm and continued filling and passing buckets. Despite major back pain, we finished fertilizing every plant! Overall, the last service day was a major success.
Day 15 consisted also of our final Spanish presentations, which involved expositions about different themes from the advanced level, presentations and dances about different regions in Costa Rica from the intermediate level, and short but hilarious skits from the beginner level. We followed that with game night, which was moving Pictionary. Both teams fought hard, but ultimately, Rachael’s mentor group (my group!) won.
Day 16 was the day we had a coffee tour, where we saw the process that coffee beans go through to become the coffee we drink every day, as well as tasting 3 types of coffee and guessing which was organic, conventional, and “horrible” coffee. We then watched “Cowspiracy”, which lead to quite a few people changing their meal plans to vegetarian for the rest of the trip. To end the night, we watched a TED talk about the dangers of a single story, and then talked about how our lives have been affected by single stories. It was a very touching and emotional way to end the night.
Thanks for reading!
Day 19 Is the day that we returned from white water rafting on the Pacuare river. The white water was really intense due to the recent flood a couple weeks ago, but the trip was so much fun. Being able to see the mountains and canyons from the water was an amazing experience, because everything was so beautiful. My favorite moment was seeing a huge bird fly really close to where we were eating lunch, watching the huge wings move so elegantly absolutely took my breath away. While in the area, we also got a tour of Cartago. We learned about some of the history of the city and had the privilege to see part of a cultural tradition that occurs every year at this time. Cartago is a very Catholic area, and we saw the hundreds of people that had walked from their home to be at the basilica (which is kind of a large cathedral like religious building) for a special mass. It was a very moving experience to be so immersed in another culture during such an important time.
Sadly, tomorrow is our final day in Providencia. We will return for one last jump in the waterfall nearby, eat with the Young Dreamers for our last dinner here, and have our talent show. Saying our goodbyes will be bittersweet, but hopefully more sweet than bitter as I am so glad to have met everyone here and shared this experience together.