Ready to leave San Jose and head to Santa Maria!
After a very long day yesterday, we all had an early start. After our last typical American meal (breakfast of pancakes) we headed off to the Home Base. We stopped at a coffee farm where we got to tour their machines and get an idea of how the coffee was processed into what we drink. We were able to taste test roasted coffee beans which was interesting to see how the different amount of roasting time affects the taste. After finishing the tour we were off to Cedrela Lodge which is absolutely beautiful! Basically a tree house! We had orientation and room assignments. We played a few games to get us going after the long bus ride. THen we had some free time to get settled. We designed a poster as a group with all our handprints on it and “Pura Vida” which is a Costa Rican saying. All the staff were super welcoming and it was a great end to our day!
Pics: Our group becoming coffee experts!
After being woken up by some music at full volume, we had breakfast and headed to where we were doing our service work. We were lucky enough to see a performance from the local students of San Bernardo school. They showed us 3 traditional dances and taught a few of us the steps. We were then split into two groups for our service work. One was making organic fertilizer for the community’s first day of organic farming. It’s the first community to be organic of all the nearby coffee farms. The other half helped dig canals/ditches to channel the rain water through the coffee field and prevent erosion. After lunch that we were lucky enough to have prepared for us by a few local women we took our spanish placement exams to decide how advanced we all were. We then split into two groups determined by our skills and had class full of games and developing new skills. It was then back on the bus to home base where we had free time before dinner and met up with our mentors. We did a personality game after dinner, which ended day 3 of our trip!
We woke up at 6:30 this morning and packed our bags for a long day ahead of us. Our wonderful chef, Memo, provided us with a delicious traditional Costa Rican breakfast in order to prepare us for a day of service. When we arrived, group 1 dug ditches to collect rain water on the coffee farm, while group 2 mixed together fertilizer. The community cooked us lunch and then we left for Spanish class. Spanish class was held in Santa Maria where we practices with the locals. Afterwards, David from Green Communities gave us a talk about being a tourist vs being a traveller and to finish the night, we talked about our day with our mentor groups.
(drops mic) – Hailey and Amy
Today was a very packed day with lots to do. We had to wake up earlier than usual and everyone was packed and ready to go to Turrialba. We traveled 3 hours through the foggy mountains to the National Monument Guayabo, which is near the most active volcano in Costa Rica. There, we walked through the tropical rain forest and occasionally stopped to learn about the surrounding area and it’s history. Afterwards, we had a typical Costa Rican meal consisting of gallo pinto and meat. Then we went into town and hung out in the park and got ice cream. We finished our day by going to the Turrialtico Lodge, having an amazing group meal, and then a connective group activity. Peace out y’all. Yo kids be off to sleep.
-Sam and Emina
After a well earned rest from yesterday’s early morning, we awoke to the pouring rain. Despite the gloomy weather, everyone piled onto the bus for the journey to the rafting location. As we arrived we discovered that we would not be able to raft as planned because the river was flooding. The rain would not stop us though, and as team leaders we had to make a decision between two other rafting locations. After discussing with the mentors we headed off to the new starting point. We had a beautiful, but tiring downhill hike to the river, where we put on our life vests, helmets, and got our paddles. We split into our rafting groups and after a brief tutorial from our guides we were on our way down the Pacuare River. After a rapid or two we got out of the river and walked to a waterfall. We climbed up the rocks and stood under the rushing water. We encountered frogs, spiders, and various species of plants. Further down the river we stopped for a lunch of burritos and fruit which were laid out on the bottom of a raft. To conclude our rafting experience, we jumped into the water and floated downstream. After a quick change of clothes, we headed back to the hotel to switch to Mario’s (our GLA bus driver) bus and start our long drive to home base for dinner, mentor groups, and our highly anticipated sleep.
Today we woke everyone up to I’m on top of the World. Then after breakfast we started our journey to Zapotal. We had to drive up a beautiful mountainside where we saw some of the most incredible views we’ve encountered. As we arrived, we discovered a breathtaking valley with a river snaking through. We were greeted by the locals with a traditional dance from the adorable school children. We were invited to dance with them and we all clapped to the beat and laughed as we danced along. We worked with Eco bricks for the first time, which are water bottles stuffed with plastic. The community uses eco bricks as an alternative to using a lot of cement. We used recycled plastic so we could save money and the environment. The bricks may not seem like a lot but it really helps out the community and serves an important role. After we ate lunch in the community, we headed back to Cedrela. We had some free time. Then we had a talk from Carlos and David about what we can do when we get home. We watched the Story of Stuff then discussed our thoughts on that. We ended our day with a group activity. They were all trust exercises. We had partners and took turns leading each other while one partner closed their eyes. Then we all went on the floor on all fours with our eyes closed. We had to find a partner and rub heads together. The activities really brought us closer and made us trust each other.
Tomorrow we are off to the beach!
– Sarah and Jamie
6/26 – 6/29/2015
Last night everyone pitched in to decorate the dinning hall for a breakfast celebration of Dennis’s birthday. In the morning everyone gathered in front of Dennis’s door to wake him up and sing happy birthday! After a delicious breakfast cooked by our amazing chef memo we hit the road towards the beach. About halfway through the 3ish hour drive we met up with two truck drives that took us on a scenic route of the coast with breath taking views. After our exciting 3 hour drive we reached the Costa Rica national park where we were able to have a tour. Despite the almost unbearable humidity we got to see multiple sloths and monkeys! After walking through the beautiful park for about an hour we reached the pristine national park beach and were able to go for a swim. The water was very warm and the weather was perfect… Up until it began to pour rain on us and we had leave …. But that’s Costa Rican weather for ya- unpredictable. After we all cleaned up we headed out to dinner and to further celebrate Dennis’s birthday with singing and cake. At the end of dinner we did a surprise attack on Dennis by chucking eggs at him. For those of you who think this sounds mean it is merely Costa Rican tradition to throw the same number of eggs at a person as the age they are turning. Dennis took it like a champ. All in all I would say it was a solid day.
-Hailey and Amy
Today was a pretty relaxed, played by ear day. We spent the morning in Dominical. We were allowed to roam in groups in the town and on the beach. Everyone enjoyed swimming in the warm Pacific Ocean and shopping at the toursity shops. Around noon we had some amazing pizza at the hotel and packed our bags. After lunch we waited around in the awesome humidity, bonding over beating the heat and talking about our bug bites. When the bus arrived, we hopped on and made the trek back to our abode, Cedrela. There, we had an very American dinner of cheeseburgers and french fries made by Memo. Finally the day was over and we all have free time
to relax before bed. And that’s all folks.
Wakey wakey plantains are baking! After a 7 o’clock start we were all down, dressed in long sleeved clothing, ready for our day of adventure. After a breakfast of plantains, ham, eggs and rice we were off in the Mario Kart in search for Quetzals! Quetzals are a rare breed of birds which are the national birds of Guatemala (our Guatemalan mentor, Manuel, was very excited). We stopped at a local farm who had recorded a spotting of the rare Quetzals nearby. In search for them at 8,000 ft we climbed up multiple hills then back down some others until we decided they weren’t there. But all hope was not lost because a second sighting was recorded a few miles away. So off we went again in the Mario Kart to find our Quetzals! We arrived at the second location, Quetzal Lodge. After only hiking a few minutes we were lucky enough to spot two Quetzals, a female and a male. We were extremely lucky to see both a male and a female since it is not mating season.
By Olivia Larder and Lauren Simpler
And the day begins! We started the day on a strong note waking people up for breakfast, but before we would be off on our adventure we had the pleasure of honoring our beloved Cedrela host, Leo, by presenting him with a jar of appreciative and humorous notes. After the touching”See you soon,” we departed off on 2 separate buses to go on our adventure– and what an adventure it was! Although we had over an hour ride to Providencia to visit the Extreme Forest Adventure Park, the anticipated wait was quickly satiated as we all had a blast zip lining, swinging, and climbing throughout the trees (even inside) to fill our day with joy mixed with a little fright. It was a crazy adrenaline rush and after the fun we were off to the other GLA group’s Home Base to have lunch. While we were there, we got the opportunity to meet the other group! We mingled and even hinted to them of the invaluable experiences that were to come (it was only their third day!).
By Connor and Dennis