Time Capsule Letter
We hope that this letter finds you happy, healthy, and helping the environment!
It feels like just yesterday that we were dancing in Tami Lodge blasting “Dynamite!” or “Party in the USA” cause let’s admit it, as much as we love the DREAMER kids, we won that song battle for sureeeee, right? Or if I close my eyes, I could still hear the sound of the waterfall and river running through Providencia putting us fast to sleep.
With just a little prompting, I can remember floating through the canyons of the Pacuare River. Do you remember how peaceful it was between the rapids? And throwing up our paddles after successfully keeping our rafts afloat? PURA VIDA! …what a way to end our first week of servicio. Over 1000 coffee trees fertilized is no small feat… Neither was mixing that compost with its steam and stench wafting out… and let’s face it: we weren’t exactly coocoo for caca puffs if you catch my drift. (<< Brian wrote that line… however, admittedly, Christina co-signed) But we did it… we caca-onquered it! You know what else we did? We shed blood sweat and tears constructing part of Providencia’s main road. We bonded over delicious pinto gallo, ensalada, huevos, gallo, pasta, carne made by Juan and Johanna. Who misses Jonny and Gustavo? Cause we do! I wonder how Chico and Pig Dog are doing? Is anyone breaking “rule 8” and petting furry, fuzzy, feathered friends over there? …and rule 6? Any wedding bells ringing between y’all? If so, we better be invited! I mean, all of us have an undeniable life-long bond having spent those 21 days in the beautiful rain forest of Costa Rica. Part of me actually misses hanging up and hanging out. Wasn’t it nice to be disconnected the way we were? It felt so peaceful literally out there in the clouds – in El Corazon de Las Nubes. I hope Jorgito and his family are doing well. Speaking of the cool people we met in Providencia, who has kept in contact with David?! Can someone confirm that he still has his red bracelet tied around his wrist? I can’t believe how much we learned from that man in 21 days! Anyway, until next time, maes!! PURA VIDA!!! Abrazos from your mentors, Brian, Christina, and Ferney
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Sunday June 16, 2019
This is how our Spanish Service Adventure students look like after a day full of different feelings. Nervousness about flying to another country all by their own as full grown ups. Excitement for being in Costa Rica committed to do a high-impact work to benefit a community.
And happiness towards the fact that they will make it to help others while improving their leadership powers and enjoying not only the culture but also the adventure activities. Hands together for this group that promises a very fun and productive program to be developed.
Monday June 17, 2019
Hola Amigos y familia! Today was our first full day in Costa Rica and it was Busy! We started our day with a tour around San Jose, which was lead by our local Director, David. Soon after the hour long tour around a market and local exploration sites in San Jose, all 15 students boarded the bus. The ride was roughly 3 hours long.
We stopped in the middle at the market (we tried some really cool food at this stop!) 30 minutes into the second half of the bus journey, we turned onto a dirt road. We traveled on this road for a while, taking photos of the Montañas or mountains that were rising up around us- I now know why they call it “the cloud forest- we literally drove through the fluffy white clouds! After unloading all of our luggage, we got to our rooms and headed to Tami Lodge.
Tami is the word for the “Spirit of the mountain”, a title that perfectly describes the eco-friendly cabins nestled into the lush ecosystem. Around 2 PM we started a tour of the sustainable farm for coffee-which tastes AMAZING! We conclude our day with the traditional Costa Rican meal and a trip orientation. The most interesting part of Costa Rica is the saying ”Pura Vida” which stands for any and everything positive! it is used to say hello and goodbye or just used as encouragement! So, until the next blog, “Pura Vida!”
-written by Sophia Gledhill
Thursday June 20, 2019
Hola amigos y familia!
Tuesday was our first day of community service, and let me tell you: it was rough. From the dozens of trips up and down the side of the mountain, to the continuous rounds of buckets being passed throughout the assembly line, the day was very challenging. Not to mention – we accidentally climbed up the wrong mountain once. Drawbacks aside, the day was also very inspiring! In the morning, we learned about ecological coffee farms, and how by using compost instead of pesticides, the local farmers can produce a more organic product while also saving the environment we’re so reliant on.
Over the last few days we also met a lot of important people in the community of Providencia, like Juan and Gerardo who trusted Green Communities enough to agree to invest time, money, and land to their mission.
The first day, we unloaded 68 bags of fertilizer, the second: 97, and today 115!!!!!!!
We are really bonding and working together as a group. Some of us even cooked a traditional Costa Rican dish – olla de carne – for our peers. We can’t wait until we challenge ourselves some more on the white water rafts this weekend.
Hasta el próximo blog!
Written by: Teddy Raven
Photographers: Zoe Steele and Lilly Lyon
Monday June 24, 2019
Hola amigos y familia! Pura vida! Friday was the end of our first week of service here in Providencia and we ended it with a bang! Trust me when I say that was the worst part of the day. In the first section we had to manually mix the components of the compost which consisted mostly of chicken and rabbit manure, leaves, coffee shells, molases, and decomposers like bacteria and cockroaches. The smell itself was… inexplicable; all I’m going to say is that it’s worse than human feces( The heat due to the bacterial process doesn’t help). The other two steps weren’t as bad, just shoveling into the bags or stacking them. Later the day we had “adopt a gringo”, were the students got the chance to visit Costa Rican families and speak with them, it was a one of a lifetime opportunity to be able to bond with the families that we are helping and are helping us. After dinner and stories we ended the day early to prepare for Saturday’s White Water Rafting!
We woke up at 4:30 and left Tami Lodge at 5 o clock, we arrived around 10am. After arriving and eating breakfast we were off again to the river of Pacuarey. After getting our groups at the river, our rafting aventure began! Some of us faced our fears, experienced rafting for the first time, and we all had fun! Then we went to our hotel where we stayed for a night and morning. We started to drive back to Providencia at 10am and arrived to our home around 3pm. Our first week here in Costa Rica was fast and incredible:) Until the next blog, Pura Vida!
-by Jaime Jr Mondragon
Monday June 24 through Wednesday June 26
Hola amigos y familia!
We have been working hard since the last update, sorry for the delay!
On Monday we started working with concrete in order to improve access to the valley we are staying in: Providencia de Dota. Right after breakfast, we had an important conversation with David about water usage and how we can work against the waste of natural resources in our every day lives. After this influential and moving conversation, we got to work on the roads. We had to use pickaxes to dig away the existing dirt and rocks before pouring in the cement. The first day was pretty fun, (and we all got cement facials…) but we only completed two piles of cement mixture. The next day we stepped up our game and finished ten piles, and thirteen on the last day! We completed almost all of the main intersection that we were working on.
We had extra time on the third day, so we had the chance to swim in the natural pool beneath a gorgeous waterfall right near our lodging! We all jumped in to the cyan water, but none of us realized just how cold it would be! After we gained back the feeling of our numb feet, we enjoyed swimming in the pool and sunbathing on the rocks around the stream. Our second work week in Costa Rica was tiring but rewarding. The roads we built will greatly help the community around us, and it’s important to show that volunteers like us are willing to give our time for the benefit of the valley.
Thursday morning we woke up at 5:30am for a 6:30am breakfast where Juan spoiled us again with a delicious meal (Juan is the chef here at Tamí Lodge). At 7:00am we departed on our three hour bus ride to Dominical where we took a surfing lesson. But before we took our surfing lesson, we stopped at a natural pool with a large waterfall pouring into it. At that pool, we found a rope swing hanging from a massive tree. We used this swing to jump into the pool! After this, we traveled to the beach to learn to surf from the experts of Costa Rica. After our lesson, we can all say that we want to do it again! We spent the next day on a hike through the forest learning about the wildlife looking at monkeys, sloths and bats. Then spending the rest of the day on the beach!
After traveling home on Saturday, we played futbol with locals students in Providencia. The futbol match was so much fun and we all walked away with new friends.
We are looking forward to our final week of service, our 4th of July celebration, and adventure!
Until the next blog! ¡Pura Vida!
– By Zoë Steele and Bailey Wright
We had a crazy busy, crazy fun week!
We finished our last day of service right at our home base of Tamì lodge. We helped to build a bio jardinera that will absorb gray water waste. We celebrated finishing our service by splashing around in the catarata. That day we also had to say goodbye to the moms of Providencia who had cooked us la comida sabrosa throughout the program. Though we were the ones thanking them, they baked us all cupcakes. Later that day we also finished learning with our Spanish teachers Esteban and Diego. ¡Gracias a nuestros maestros!
The next day we went on a hike… David tried to prepare us for it beforehand, but we were in way over our heads! For him, it was just another Wednesday.
The journey was rigorous, being steep, slippery, and, to be be frank: scary. Part of the thrill happened to be meeting Marco: the hand-sized tarantula. As we reached the waterfall after climbing14,000 steps and 163 flights, we were honored to learn that we were the first foreign group to ever visit and were given the privilege of naming the waterfall. With much collaboration, we settled on the name “El Corazón de las Nubes” or “the Heart of the Clouds.”
That brings us to the 4th of July: celebration time! The morning started with an all American breakfast of pancakes and eggs. The afternoon culminated with work on the program’s capstone project in which we had to design and plan to execute a change in our communities. After another patriotic meal of hamburgers and hotdogs, we had the opportunity to share and critique each others’ ideas. We finished the night with a movie and dance party. Today is the final adventure: the extreme forest park high ropes course.
¡Nos vemos pronto!