Everybody has arrived. All are pictured but Kate Thomas who will be in the following group photo.
July 18, 2017
Hello GLA parents and friends! After spending our first night in San Jose, we made the journey yesterday to our Home Base in magical Providencia. We had a great first day of orientation activities as the students got to know their new home, and we were lucky enough to have a super clear night for stargazing before turning in for the night. We are very exited to share this amazing place and experience with the group… It’s going to be a great three weeks! Look forward to future posts by our student Leaders of the Day!
-Written by Steph Szuch, International Director
Written by Charlotte Olver
Day one of the magnificent journey we call GLA. For today our service project was the less glorious job of shoveling chicken poop, also known as compost, into bags to be more easily transported. As a privileged white kid from NY this was quite the change of pace. What was incredibly surprising was how gratifying that task actually was. I just think about what my friends are doing at home, and I can´t help but feel a rush of satisfaction to know that, even though it was not the most cleanly experience, I was making a difference in peoples lives. As a leader in that process, that great feeling was multiplied. Though it is only the first day and not much has happened I truly believe that the best parts of being here in Tami is the smaller things. There is something about waking up and taking one of the greatest showers you will ever have in your life with the best view, and then proceeding to have the greatest coffee you’ve ever had and then eating food that someone cared enough to make with the freshest of ingredients that really makes you feel fulfilled. At this point I can truly say that there aren’t many places I´d rather be.
July 20th, 2017
July 20th, day two of working with Green communities. Our service project for today involved taking the compost our team bagged yesterday and using it to fertilize coffee plants in a local plantation. Our group came together and formed an efficient and practiced assembly line that delivered compost from 120 bags to roughly 360 coffee plants in the span of three hours across challenging terrain and with respect to the thousands of plants. After spending the previous day shoveling all that compost into hundreds of bags, it was nice to see all that labor to it’s destination. After a few hours of labor in the sun, our group was served a wonderful lunch by some of the local women. Nothing takes the edge off hours of labor like a filling meal followed by a shower overlooking the mountains. After taking some time to clean the compost off our bodies and get a fresh set of clothes, as well as to let our work ethics atrophy with some card games, it was time to begin our first fully-fledged Spanish lesson. The three groups went to their three separate teachers, and while I can’t speak for the other groups, I learned more in two hours of teaching from Carlota than I did in a month of Spanish classes at home. Many of the fellow volunteers left the lesson wanting to speak Spanish in casual conversation amongst ourselves, a level of interest I’ve never reached in a classroom. Our group had a wonderful discussion about the meaning and qualities of good leadership, and ended the day with a wonderful meal and a game of tag with a few local children. There is no part of my day I could wish to improve, but my favorite thing to watch so far are the meaningful connections that are being made as time goes on by my fellow residents. With each other, with our counselors, with the locals, it’s been a wonderful thing to witness and it gives me great pride to be a part of that.
July 21st 2017.
Today the troops headed out for another day of working at Juan´s farm and it was a smashing success. In total over 850 plants were fertilized at Juan´s farm. After a delicious lunch courtesy of the local ladies, the gringos geared up for a game of futbol. The “friendly” game was completed with only minor scrapes and bruises despite the slippery and muddy conditions. After the game, the intermediate and advanced Spanish class went into town to learn some local slang courtesy of the locals, while the beginners had a cooking class with Juan, the chef at the restaurant. Turns out that they would be making dinner for us that night, and I was pleasantly surprised by their Olla de Carne. I had a great time being leader of the day and I am so happy that I was given the opportunity. I am already feeling better about my Spanish skills and want to thank my family for letting me come on this trip. I am excited for the future of this trip and can´t wait to learn more.
By Hannah Boylan and Hannah Balda
Today was another day of eventful traveling. We had our first adventure in Turrialba. Everyone was split into groups of 6 and we went rafting down Pacuare River. After 2 hours we stopped on the river for lunch and we swam in a canyon between two mountains on the river. Thankfully, no one fell out of the rafts! The looks of excitement on everyone’s faces were priceless as we made our way through level four rapids.
For me, today was different type of joy than the work we have been doing on the coffee farms. I honestly can’t imagine a better way to start off another week. It is just amazing to see everyone laughing and having fun and working as a team.
– Hannah Balda
Today we learned that our hard work and patience after a week of coffee farming is totally worth it when we get to the weekend excursions. We also came to understand the importance of teamwork as our group of six had to navigate our way through the rapids. Rafting was a very thrilling and fun experience, one that many of us will never forget!
– Hannah Boylan
The lodge in Turrialba
At the ecological coffee farm
Assembly line to fertilize coffee plants
Shoveling compost at service!
July 26, by Ashton Taylor
Hi Im Ashton Taylor and I am the leader for today July 26. Today was a special day in Providencia our home in Costa Rica because Carlota one of the mentors on the trip, was turning 30. In the morning everyone woke up early so we could sing happy birthday to her. We also threw a party for her which was lots of fun. In Costa Rica they smack eggs on top of your head if its your birthday, so I got the opportunity to put a egg on Carlota’s head.
Today our service project was working on a basketball court. We moved cement, gravel, and rocks to form the begining of the court. Building a basketball court is tough but everyone stayed strong and worked very hard together. The locals joined us today as well which was awesome because we got to talk to them while also getting some help. My experience as a leader was amazing because I don’t call myself the most social person in the world but being leader for the day taught me to be responsible like making sure everyone was accounted for and helping others if they were tired which means I had to be talkative for the whole day. My favorite part of this trip so far is getting to know everyone on the trip because everyone here is so funny and nice. I’ve gotten a chance to talk to everyone and I know different things about everyone which is awesome because I get to know some great people who I hope to have a good relationship with in the future. The reason I like Costa Rica so much is due to the fact that I don’t have to worry about home life and who is cool or popular because everyone on this GLA trip are great people.
The intermediate Spanish class made parrillada or barbeque for everyone and they also did a skit for everyone. The food was delicious and everyone loved the intermediate’s cooking. A fun activity that we did today was that we got to go to a near by waterfall. It was an amazing time even though it was pretty cold. Today was a great day because after we got our work done in the morning we had an amazing party for Carlota and everyone had a great time.
Today, after eating cake for breakfast we traveled from Providencia 3 1/2 hours to Dominical, which is on the Pacific Ocean. Once we arrived, we ate lunch at a Thai place called Phat Noodle. After lunch we got to surf with instructions from Costa Rica Surf Camp. For many, this was their first time surfing. Experienced or not, everyone had a great time and gave it their all. After surfing, we checked into our hotel for the next two nights Villas Rio Mar. Dinner was at La Parcela. Tomorrow, everyone is looking forward to visiting Manuel Antonio National Park.
We saw languid sloths hanging from trees, mischievous raccoons and white-faced capuchins, and mysterious bats sleeping through the day, throughout our scenic tour through the Manuel Antonio National Park. Many GLA students had yet to see these animals, and were amazed and excited by the opportunity. After our tour, we had an unforgettable time at the beach, having lunch at a restaurant in Manuel Antonio before returning to the water to body surf in the crashing waves. Later, we shopped at stalls along the boardwalk in Dominical, buying locally made jewelry, trinkets, and clothing.
The national park was very interesting to me because personally I love animals and seeing animals that I don’t get to see in Los Estadios Unidos is pretty cool. We had one of the most experienced tour guides that pointed out things that none of us could see if it was right in front of us. I really enjoyed leading today because waking up people I met 2 weeks ago at 6:30 is always fun. The best part of the day for me was realizing that I’m having a lot of fun with people I still just met and knowing that they are also having fun makes everyone feel great. For my crying mom I love you and for my laughing dad I love you too.
“When the last river is polluted, when the last tree is cut down and when the last fish dies, people will realize they can’t eat money.”
-Jonathan, One of the Founders of Green Communities
By Kate Thomas
Hey guys it’s Kate! I had the amazing opportunity to be leader of the day today (July 30). Today was a day of travelling and fun as we headed home from our beach adventures of surfing and touring the more tropical side of Costa Rica. We all had a blast at the awesome hotel and getting to shop at the little stands on the beach. We packed up and headed out in the morning after waking up and serenading Steph as well as smashing eggs on her head for her birthday of course. We arrived in Providencia in the afternoon and joined the locals for games at the soccer field. We had a picnic on the field provided by the local ladies, we played/taught them capture the flag and then we had an intense game of soccer. We decided the game would only end once it started to rain and it sure did start to rain and we walked the mile and a half back to Tami lodge in the pouring rain. I really loved being leader of the day and felt just that more special having more responsibility and helping to get everyone together. To me being leader of day was more of just checking in on people as we have been here long enough that everyone knows the drill for the most part. Overall the day was a blast and I personally can’t wait for more soccer games and activities with the locals because they are always such a good time. ¡Adios!
July 31, 2017
Hey everyone its MaryFrances. Today was a beautiful day to be leader. We were able to knock out five bags of cement today, bringing us even further beyond our goal for the summer. We were given the opportunity to take advantage of an amazing leg workout, walking up the mountain to service and back. Once again, we had marvelous meals created by our personal chef Juan. We all missed him very much over the weekend and made sure to make that clear to him. It saddens me to say that today we had our final Spanish class which included our presentations and graduation ceremony . Everyday we become more and more grateful for what and who is around us, and though we are excited to see our families next week, saying goodbye to this one is going to be a challenge. Pura vida, mucho amor.
By Della Levine
Today was an amazng day with a new experience as every day is. We woke up to an awesome morning with a sunny sky and a day full of possiblities. Kat helped me lead morning strech circle, and the word of the day was energia. It means energy. Jonathan drove us to the park where we worked on cement. We filled in two panels of cement and did 11 bags of cement. It was hard work, but we all pushed through it and acomplished more than we thought we could. After lunch, a few people went to the waterfall. Then we had a very insightful disscusion about climate change. The counselors let us talk about causes, impacts, and what we could do. Then Carlota did a meditation circle with us. She made us really think about what we are doing to the enviroment, and why we should fight for it. It moved all of us, and made us realize how much we need to fight and not give up on our environment. Being leader of the day was very exciting. It made me try to be an amazing leader. I hope that everybody has the experience of being a leader as exciting and a challenge as I thought it was.
Hey, this is Kaia Adams, I was leader of the day today and we had an awesome day. This morning we woke up and went to the extreme adventure park with Jonathan and ended with a coffee tour. Everyone stepped out of their comfort zones at the park and tried their best to help others enjoy their time as well. It was great to see how close everyone has gotten and the relationships we’ve made over these last three weeks. Our camaraderie shone through and continued as we returned to tamí and took the coffee tour with Jonathan. The coffee tour showed us the hard work and time it takes to create the coffee we drink. Today was overall a great day, I was scared to be the leader at first because I am a more introverted person but the support everyone gave me and the confidence I got was super helpful and made the day great. I know that I’m going to miss this group a lot and can’t believe that tomorrow is our last day. One of the best things about this trip was a number of connections I made with not only the locals but the other people on this trip. I’m gonna go dance now, today was great and this party tonight is going to be NICE.