Author: Christian Garcia
Today was the group’s first full day. After a long day of travels, the last team members arrived to the hotel last night at 9:50pmlocal time. We woke up early this morning at 5:45 so that we could all meet in the lobby at 6:15am. We had breakfast at the local Denny’s and were on the bus by 7:00am.
The bus ride took a two hours. We got a bit delayed since there was a fallen tree that had to be removed from the road. We arrived in Santa Maria around 9:00am. This is the closest town to our lodge. We stopped by a local coffee shop so that we could have our money collected that we were going to exchange. David, the local director, ran that errand while we were on our coffee tour.
The coffee tour was given by a local named “Garbiela”. She spoke English very well and was an excellent guide. We were able to sample some coffees, and see the milling process. We weren’t able to see the roasting process, but we were told we’d be able to later this week.
We went to home-base after the coffee tour. Home-base is beautiful. It sits on a mountain top that overlooks the surrounding mountains.
We had our orientation once we got in, checked into our rooms that we’ll be staying in and had lunch.
We will be having dinner, having a post dinner activity and will be heading to sleep soon after.
Author: Cindy Siu
Today is June 28th, 2017. In the morning, we ate huevos y pancakes, which was really good.
Then we headed down to the salon and began talking about sustainable development. We discussed about the common factors between economy, society and the environment, and how they interact with each other.
Later on, we carried onto our duties and split into two groups; one doing coffee plantations, and the other doing cement paving.
Despite the rainfeall, we made it safely back to the salon for lunch where we had a casado – styled lunch with a specialty of homegrown squash.
After lunch, we headed to the province of Santa Maria and bought some snacks for the week.
When we got back to the lodge, we diverted into three different spanish level groups and proceeded with our lessons.
We took a break and ate some delicious curry with rice and vegetables.
Day 5, 6.29
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Almost every day we have been here, Christian has done workouts in the morning for half an hour before breakfast to jump start our day.
So today some of us finally wanted to jump in on the action and try the workout. Then after the workout we had a delicious pancake breakfast before we went to San Pedro to continue the work that we have been doing for the past few days. Even in this short amount of time we have completed about half of the sidewalk around the gym, and in one of the far corner, some of us put our hand prints in the concrete, and are hoping sometime in the future we will be able to come back and see the work we have done. When we finished our work for the day we went down to have a delicious spaghetti lunch with a traditional Costa Rican sauce. After lunch we came back to Cedrela, and had some time before we split up into our groups for Spanish class.
Following Spanish, we had a break for a little while, and then ate a fish dinner with rice and some vegetables. Finally, our night ended with an energizing and competitive game of Zip, Zap, Zop, which prepared us for a game similar to telephone, but where there are two teams, and one choreographs a short dance. Then one by one, the other team comes in, and each person teaches the next person the dance, trying to remember as much of the dance as possible. Everyone had lots of fun and had a good laugh before it was time for bed.
Our weekend at the beach began early with a 5:30am departure from Cedrela by school bus. In the next 3.5 hours, we would transfer from that school bus to three open-air trucks to Mario’s air-conditioned bus until we finally reached the gates of Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio at 9am. We met our guide and walked down the path through the rainforest, stopping to observe 3-toed sloths, 2-toed sloths, bats, brightly colored Halloween crabs, and color-changing perro san popo lizards. Every time our guide spotted an animal, he’d tell us all about the animal and sometimes about Manuel Antonio or Costa Rican ecology as a whole. An hour and a half later, 24 overheated teenagers and their 4 adult companions finally reached the white crescent of Manual Antonio beach, one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches. We spent hours swimming, body-surfing, and playing frisbee in the cloudy blue Pacific, which was the temperature of the ideal swimming pool – not too hot and definitely not too cold, just perfectly refreshing. The beach was followed by a nice walk to lunch at El Sol Restaurante on a different beach. The rest of Saturday was very laid back; most of us were so tired that we just hung out in our rooms at our hotel, Villas Rio Mar, until dinner. Then, we ate a delicious dinner at a nice, open-air restaurant with views of the ocean on all sides and stargazed. We ended our very long day with ghost stories by the pool.
To our delight, we got to start Sunday morning at the luxuriously late hour of 8am. We ate a hearty breakfast, then hung out until we had to go to our much anticipated surf lessons at nearby Playa Dominical. We donned rashguards, picked up our boards, and carried them down to the water’s edge, most of us with our boards resting on our heads. One of our surf instructors showed us how to paddle, where on the board to lay, and how to stand up. Then it was our turn; we lay on lines in the sand to practice putting our hands by our ribs and popping up into surfing position. Finally, we were each given a board, divided into small groups, and allowed to run down to the water. The waves started out small and turned into friendly whitewater by the time they reached us, making them perfect for beginners like ourselves. We were fast learners! Everyone was able to catch a wave with the instructor’s help and many of us were even able to catch a wave on our own by the end. We all emerged from the ocean with an extra spring in our step, excited smiles, and a new appreciation for surfing. We said goodbye to our instructors and walked to lunch at a res taurant right on the beach. After lunch, we roamed the town in search of souvenirs before heading back to the hotel. We weren’t there for too long because we decided to walk down to the beach to watch the sunset. It was a long walk, but the sunset made up for it with its vibrant pinks and oranges. We took pictures and appreciated the scenery until dark, then walked back while playing a friendly game of Assassin. Our beach weekend ended with a nice dinner and ice cream at the hotel restaurant. It was the best way to end a hard week of service and Spanish
Today was a great day. After coming back from a weekend at the beach, everyone was exhausted from the sufing we had done over the weekend. However, we managed to get back onto the field and do work.
Per the usual, some of us made it out to the farms, while others worked on making cement. Today, three students really took the initiative and did a lot of the heavy lifting and moved most of the manure and dirt.
Because it is the fourth of July, the staff at the lodge treated us to an American dinner. We had burgers, fries and soda. Afterward, we all watched Captain America for a casual movie night.It was a fun and relaxing night with everyone.