Monday July 22, 2019
Today all of the chicos landed safe and sound. After arriving at our hotel in San José, the students had lunch and some time to relax before getting ready for their swim tests. In the afternoon everyone got to know each other through name games and other activities. Then we headed across the street for our first Tico dinner at a local restaurant. Yum!
*Jasmine arrived after dinner, so she is not pictured in the group photo. Here she is ready for a San José city tour at breakfast this morning!
Tuesday July 23 through Thursday July 25, 2019
¡Todos nosotros estamos bien! Everyone is enjoying the busy, fulfilling days (which is why we haven’t posted on the blog in a while sorry)! On Tuesday we started off the trip bright and early with a traditional Costa Rican breakfast of gallo pinto (mixed rice and beans). Después, we headed out on a San José city tour led by one of our awesome mentors Luis Diego during which we found (and met) famous sculptor Jimenez Deredia. After about a two hour drive we arrived at the Pila de Dota coffee farm tour where we distinguished the difference between types of coffee and saw the process of growing coffee from cherry to exportation. Then we drove a bit more to our final destination Cedrela Ecolodge for orientation.
On day 3 we all helped to make concrete and build sidewalks. In the end we were able to successfully make a sidewalk. It was very fun and we talked to a lot of local teens.
On day 4 we did service again and then played games with the local teens again in Spanish. After dinner we celebrated Christina’s late birthday and had a discussion about consumption.
Friday July 26 through Saturday July 27, 2019
On day 5 we did service in the morning and finished up the sidewalks we’ve been working on this whole week. Then we had lunch at the community center in San Pedro and played games with the locals. Then we had coffee and did our Spanish lesson in San Pedro. We got to choose our night activity so we played cards.
On day 6 we spent the morning painting the bleachers and fence of the local soccer ball field. We also began to start making new eco bricks (recycled water bottles filled with up to 1lb of single use plastic). The afternoon was filled with activities with the Young Dreamers (the teenagers who volunteer with Green Communities, the organization we are doing service with).
Tomorrow we are off bright and early to go river rafting!
Sunday July 28 and Monday July 29, 2019
Hola familias! On Day 7 went white water rafting. We had an early morning wake up and a beautiful breakfast at the rafting location. We spent a total hours of 5 hours on the Pacuare River, where we went through rapids ranging from level 1 to 4. Halfway through the water trip we pulled over onto a rock bed and had burritos and juice for lunch. We ended the day by driving to our hotel, where we ate dinner and got a good nights sleep.
On Day 8 we left the hotel and drove one and a half hours to go see the Irazu Volcano. After we drove a little longer to Cartago (the original capital of Costa Rica) where Luis Diego gave us a tour of the city. We saw the first church in Costa Rica, watched men and women dance outside the local church as part of the Virgen De Los Angeles celebration, and visited some small stores. We then headed back to the eco lodge and ended the day with a movie.
Thursday August 1, 2019
Today we shoveled compost into bags for service. We broke the record for most bags filled in a day with over 415.
We then had discussion with Jonathon, head of Green Communities, about our goals and expectations for the rest of the trip.
Afterwards we had a dancing lesson. Despite lack of skills on the guys’ behalf, we learnt to dance in the styles of bachata, salsa and merengue with members of the local community, including the Young Dreamers.
To end the day, we had a Spanish lesson and a discussion about tourism.
Tomorrow, we are going to the beach. ¡Vamos a la playa!
Friday August 2 and Saturday August 3, 2019
We started our Friday off with a three hour cross country journey to the beach. Ish. We road in the back of four wheel drive trucks! Before we went to the beach, we went to Manuel Antonio National Park where we saw monkeys, bugs, and a sloth. At the end of the tour, we went to the beach then to lunch. After lunch we headed to the hotel to swim and relax. We then had discussion and dinner where we ended the day.
On Saturday, we went souvenir shopping. The surfing lesson changed from 12:30 to 11:30, so we got get out on the water a little earlier. After that, we had a delicious lunch at a restaurant called Coco (coconut) and went back to the hotel, where we stayed for the rest of the day enjoying the pool and relaxing. In the evening we had a discussion about tourism.
Sunday August 4 and Monday August 5, 2019
On Sunday, we spent most of the morning returning from the beach. When we returned, we broke up into our mentor groups and planned a vacation for an activity. After dinner, we shared stories of self, which were stories/moments that were important to us.
On Monday, we went to service at a coffee farm. Two people shoveled compost into buckets, while everyone else moved the compost to Álvaro (a member of the local community, San Pedro, who helps us during service). Álvaro dumped the compost onto the coffee plants to fertilize them. Afterwards, we played soccer because we finished early. On our way home from San Pedro, we stopped in Santa Maria to have a scavenger hunt. When we returned to Cedrela, we recorded videos to present for our Spanish class.
Wednesday August 7 and Thursday August 8, 2019
Wednesday we had our final day of service. It consisted of working on the coffee farm and finishing up an eco-brick bench. We then had a few hours to ourselves to hangout or chill for the rest of the day.
On Thursday, we went on a tour to see quetzales, the national bird of Guatemala. Afterwards, we had lunch at Valle Verde Hotel in Santa Maria. When all was said and done, we had a brief discussion over how the trip had gone, ate dinner, and headed on to bed.
On Friday we went on a hiking trail in Cedrela. When we reached a certain point, we sat down and reflected on our goals. After that, we played ninja to decide which one of our mentor groups won the most activities. That ended in a tie, so after dinner we played Jeopardy, with Ariel’s mentor group the winning team. In the afternoon we had a cooking class with Leo, the manager of Cedrela, where we learned how to make “chorreadas” — Costa Rican corn pancakes!
Yesterday, we went to the extreme forest park. The activities there were: Jungle Swing, Tarzan Jump, Canopy (a zipline), Tree Tower, Monkey Bridge, and Slack-lining. We ate lunch in a nearby lodge and returned to Cedrela. We had some free time to pack and relax. After dinner, we roasted marshmallows on a fire and had an appreciation circle.