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Friday July 5, 2019
Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!
We’re so excited that the group has arrived safe and sound with enthusiasm for the two weeks ahead! Some of the group had their first taste of Costa Rican food with lunch when trying gallo pinto and casado, a traditional meal of rice, beans, and meat. During the first few hours everyone took a brief break and then dove into their swim tests and health checks.
In the evening we had a chance to get to know each other better through a competitive game of ninja and other name games. Despite traveling from all over the United States, and even Norway, we found that the group’s passion for exploring a new culture, improving their Spanish skills, and desire to make a difference in the world brought them all together. We can’t wait to see what the next two weeks have in store!
*Annika Richter will be arriving tomorrow.
-Maggie Musty, GLA Mentor
Sunday July 7, 2019
On arrivals day, students were greeted by GLA leaders at the airport and all met at the Best Western in San José. Students had lunch and played several ice breaker games to get to know each other better.
The next morning was an early one! Students had breakfast at the hotel and got onto the first bus trip of many. Our first stop was a quick tour of the beautiful historic San José, led by director Luis Diego. Students were amazed by the beautiful scenery on our way to the coffee farm. A local Tico family taught students about the process of growing and making organic coffee and prepared a coffee sampling platter. Delicious!
The evening consisted of students listening and participating in orientation. The activities were great ice breakers as they included performing skits, a rock paper scissors competition and other games. Students were really able to get to know one another and transition into a delicious dinner provided by the wonderful staff here at the lodge. After the meal students were able to rest, relax and prepare for an early bedtime.
The following morning, bags were packed full with bug spray, work gloves, and sunscreen for the busy day ahead. Students ate breakfast and then were picked up by bus and driven to the little village of San Pedro.
Students began their day in San Pedro, they had a group discussion with the Owner of Green Communities, Jonathan. Later on they took a bumpy truck ride to a coffee farm where the students formed an assembly line and passed buckets of compost to coffee bean trees with the help of The Young Dreamers. This was a great opportunity for GLA students to converse in spanish with the local kids (The Young Dreamers) who are around the same age.
Following service, students had an amazing lunch provided by the Costa Rican women in the Community Center of San Pedro. After lunch they played soccer with the Young dreamers and Staff. After returning to Home Base students had their first spanish lesson with professors Esteban and Diego.
Students are excited for the next few days!
Tuesday July 9, 2019
Off to service, the students were excited to explore a new coffee farm in San Pedro. Here they worked diligently among the thick coffee tree forest. The sun was shining and clear skies put everyone in a great mood. During a few work breaks, students had a snack of fruit and were able to visit some friendly local cows.
After their service, students had another meal prepared by the local women and went to the “pulperia” to buy snacks. During a reflection with Green Community founder, Jonathon, students were able to share with each other the impact the program has had on them thus far. Following reflection, students went back to the lodge for Spanish class where they were challenged with creating poems and hosting mini debates. Students after Spanish played an activity before dinner then ate a delicious meal cooked by Flory (one of the Lodge’s staff).
Thursday July 11 and Friday July 12, 2019
¡Fuimos a la playa! (We went to the beach!) 🏖 The students had a wonderful 2 day break to experience Costa Rican life at the beach. Upon arriving by bus in the town of Dominical, the first activity of the day was a visit to the Manuel Antonio Forest Park. Accompanied by an expert guide, the students were shown through the jungle trees.
With every twist and turn there students could see exotic animal species such as monkeys, colorful crabs and sloths. After their fascinating jungle adventure came to an end, it was time for a swim in the clear blue water of sea 🌊. After drying off, students had a filling lunch at one of the local restaurants. Then everyone hit up the kiosks and shops to buy a few souvenirs.
After arrival at the hotel, students swam a lot in the beautiful infiniti pool and had a good nights sleep. The next day, students had a good breakfast and were off to some more souvenir shops before playing capture the flag on the beach in their mentor group teams. Rain started to fall just as students began their surfing lesson, but the rain made the lesson that much more fun. They had such a good time! Tired and hungry from surfing, students returned to the hotel for some food and chill time.
Students woke up at 7 am and ate breakfast at 7:30 then left the hotel and were on their way to Cedrela Home Base. Where students ate a delicious lunch prepared by Flory, then an hour late had a cooking class (making empanadas). After dinner students will read their poems they wrote in Spanish class in front of all GLA Kids.
Sunday July 14, 2019
Today was a good day. We began building the sidewalk, which mainly consisted of mixing cement and leveling out the ground. In addition to this, we attended one of the Young Dreamer’s birthday parties. We participated in games that allowed us to practice our Spanish language skills. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to all of the Young Dreamers as they are going back to school tomorrow. Some of us also decided to attend mass with the Local Director in the nearby town of Santa Maria de Dota and we ultimately ended the night with a reflection in mentor groups.
Today we had to work without the Young Dreamers, which was a challenge but we ultimately got a lot of work done. Some of us mixed cement and others leveled the ground. We also participated in Adopt A Grinto, where we went to the houses of the locals in pairs for a few hours. We got to improve our Spanish and received cookies and coffee. We had our last Spanish class where we all presented poems and received certificates for our hard work!