Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
It’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun! That’s what I felt at the end of our three weeks in Costa Rica.
I remember your scared and tired faces when you arrived at the airport, despite of that we felt a good vibe, “this is a great group” is what we thought. Well, we were right. We could see how you rapidly got involved in the Green Communities mission and you got committed with the hard work, overcoming challenges every morning.
Providencia’s people welcomed us with open arms, was really nice see you interacting with them and having such a great time those afternoons on the soccer field. We could discover the beauty of the country on our excursions while we had fun on the beach, the river and the forest. I could never forget Tamí, it’s a really special place: the views when you open the tent’s zipper, showers looking at the forest, the starry sky with the backdrop of the sound of the waterfall… and what about the spiders? I had so much fun trying to get that one outside of the tent, your screams could be heard from dozens of miles away, poor spider!
We had the opportunity to learn about good practices for sustainable development and became responsible global citizens. Now is in your hands, you can positively impact your communities and raise awareness about environmental issues.
It was an unforgettable experience and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I hope that this time in Costa Rica would be unforgettable for you as well. I wish you all the best on this school year! See you around the world!!
– Everybody screaming on the back of the pick up the first day of work.
– Juan’s happy face when he was serving the delicious food.
– The kindness of the people from Providencia.
– Andrey scaring us with leaves or sticks pretending to be insects.
– Alison beating everybody on the game of riding the bull.
– Jonathan’s dance lessons.
– All together painting the eco-bricks, great job!
– Campeón (a.k.a Pablo) joining us all the time.
– Groups exhibing the projects on the last Spanish lesson.
– The bonfire and marshmallows the last night in Tamí.
Story of impact: UNCOMPLETED
GLA has an efficient method to positively impact the communities where students go establishing partnerships with local organizations. These organizations are the ones that better know the needs and characteristics of a community.
In the case of Costa Rica Spanish Service Adventure (Tamí) program the local partner is Green Communities dedicated to raise awareness on environmental issues and aimed to make Providencia a sustainable community.
Providencia is located in the center of Costa Rica in the heart of the Quetzal National Park. This rural community is surrounded by lush forests and waterfalls and its main source of income are the coffee farms.
The eco farmers of Providencia benefit from the work of GLA students. During our stay, students helped to fertilize coffee plantations with ecologic compost. Gerardo is a coffee farmer that decided to trust in Green Communities and that made a big investment to transform his plantation from conventional to organic. He was very grateful with GLA’s students because they helped him to fertilize over 100 plants in one day. He said that he can make a difference and produce coffee in an eco-friendly way thanks to the work of volunteers.
Summer Blog Posts
July 10, 2016
The whole group has arrived in San Jose. This afternoon we explored the city center and learned about its history.
Alison, Andrei and Maria are really excited to have you here!
Attached: Picture of the group in the Morazán park. Celina and Leila arrived later.
-Kevin Reimers, Leader of the Day
Words to sum up today: fun, challenging, heavy, tiring, unique and a relief. Our work was difficult, we shoveled dirt into bags that will eventually be used to plant, but it was extremely rewarding to see our dirt mountain shrink throughout the morning. Lunch was amazing, especially after service – gracias a las mujeres de la comunidad.We followed upon placements today in Spanish class and we are all excited to learn frases típicas de los Ticos.
After Spanish Jonathan drove us to play soccer (or football) with some of the locals. The ride was almost as fun as the actual game.
Finally, we ended the night by getting to know each other through name games and sharing difficult times, followed by happy ones to make sure we ended the night on positive note.
Pura Vida y Hasta mañana!
Blog entry written by our leader of the day Mikayla March
Today was a day full of a ton of beautiful views of the mountains. Being in Costa Rica has been amazing ever since the first day. Today we started off the morning with me banging on all the tents being as obnoxious as I can to get everyone awake to start an eventful day. Yesterday was tough for all of us with the heavy lifting, so we were a little nervous for what we had to do today.
July 19, 2016
written by our leader of the day Morgan Lee:
This morning was our first day of street paving. It’s a really slow process between mixing the cement and carrying wheelbarrows up the hill. Also the cement sprays everywhere! One of the leaders with Green Communities – Jonathan- Likes to throw the stuff at us and give us handprints on our clothes.
Another group also made “ecobricks” (lots of trash shoved into plastic bottles). They can be use in the community for paving but one of the main purposes is to makes us aware of how gross our plastic consumption is. We stayed with that theme today because before dinner we had a long discussion about how much stuff we go through and the ridiculousness of the plastic that we don’t even need like a straw that just end up in the ocean.
During Spanish class today we went into the community of Providencia to interview citizens. We got up spoke with the lady who settled this area as well as a farmer who showed us his pigs and let us try fresh sugarcane juice, someone else showed us her backyard garden and cooked us the traditional dish of picadillo (salted chayote in corn tortillas).
20th July, Ellie Rogers
Yesterday is a day I will never forget. Out of all the fun and enriching experiences I´ve had at Tami, this day will be the day I will have the most stories for. To start off, as GLA leader of the day I had to get up early and go to each tent and wake everyone up. It was weird to not hear anything around the camp because everyone is usually laughing or screaming their heads off. After I did that I went to go set the table for everyone and waited until people started to head down to the restaurant and have desayuno. We had eggs, corn tortilla and cheese that was so delicious I had to pile my plate with seconds. Later, we went back to our routine of cementing and making eco-bricks. Thankfully, I didn´t have to go do eco-bricks that day because theyŕe kind of disgusting to make. All I know is that I will never use plastic water bottles again. The cementing process is difficult since we had to carry wheel barrows of wet cement up a hill. I will always remember the hard work we put into that road and years later see the progress other volunteers have made. After a hard days work we went to have lunch and get ready for spanish class. That day I took the shortest shower in my entire life because we only had 25 minutes for 4 people to shower and get dressed. But somehow everyone managed it and had a really fun Spanish class. One thing I learned was that when you say “Me gusta ____” That means you actually LIKE the person. I accidentally said I was in love with Roy in front of the whole that day and I´ve never felt more embarrassed! After spanish we had dinner and watched a movie but I felt so tired that I ended up going to bed early at 9:30 which I´ve never done before at home. That just proves that the day was well spent and AWESOME.
21st July, Lars Kong
With the morning looking beautiful as always, the other students and I worked on the last day of paving the road. Unfortunately I forgot to wake everyone up so most of us were late for breakfast. Oops, my bad. After breakfast, we all worked hard as always. We finished the road with 17 feet of concrete.
With this being the last day of road work, we traveled back to the restaurant. For lunch we always have great food cooked by some of the local woman. Pasta and potatoes were prepared for us when we arrived.
After lunch we had two hours of free time which for most means an extra long shower and a quick nap. Once the two hours were up we traveled to local houses to do what we call “Adopte un Gringo”. For two hours we talked with the locals of Providencia to practice the Spanish we learned throughout our week.
We haven’t had dinner yet but tonight we have a barbecue.
22nd and 23rd July, Bethzabel Muro
On the second discussion I was leader of the day. So my job was to wake up at 7 and wake everybody up as well. We all had breakfast at 8 o’clock and left on the bus at 9. It took like 2 hours to get to Cartago. However in those two hours we stopped at a restaurant to eat lunch. I ordered a burrito but others ordered stuff like hamburgers, casado and nachos.
Once we arrived at Cartago we went to the market. They sold a lot of fruit and vegetables. It reminded me a lot of a street called Market in San Francisco. We were there for like hake half an hour and we got in the bus. Our next stop was at the church ruins. It was rainy when we arrived. We all huddled in one side of the ruins so Andre can tell us the history behind it.
Then we walked to the church that is very famous in Costa Rica. We entered and took pictures and Andre continued to tell us the history behind it. We got back in the bus and headed to the hotel. On Saturday we woke up early and waited for a bus to come pick us up. It was the company who was going to take us river rafting. During the rafting the views were amazing. Our tour guide was very nice and was telling us about the indigenous people who lived near the river. I saw monkeys on our four hour raft and the chicken burritos we had were delicious. Overall it was a great experience. It was my first time rafting and I want to do it again. After rafting we got on the bus and headed home. We stopped at a restaurant to have dinner before we got back to Tami, it was buffet style. By far, one of the funniest days of the whole trip.
24th July, Wyeth Kong
Today, I woke up and woke up everyone else at the tent. I then went to the restaurant to set the table. We had breakfast . After, we worked on eco bricks. Making eco bricks is easy if you know good techniques. Just put the plastic in, put the stick in, turn it upside down, and put all your weight on it. It makes the job a lot easier and more efficient. After, we went to the soccer field for a picnic. We then played soccer with the locals. The game was fun but I didn´t do much. After, we had Spanish class. Spanish is fun if your dedicated to learning it. Its a bit long though. I think it would be better if we removed 20 minutes, but other than that, I think Spanish is good. Then, we had 30 minutes of free time. Then, we ate dinner. My favorite dish is mashed potatoes. I also like the banana chocolate drinks. They are delicious. I then went to bed. Lastly, we watched a Spanish movie. It was okay, but everyone else thinks its not good. I then went back to my tent and went to bed. Overall, being a leader today didn´t feel any different than if I were not a leader. The only thing I can think of that makes it fun to be the leader is waking up everyone and waking up early.
I awoke at six o´clock in the morning to a awful song that I have had set as my alarm for at least a year now. My first instinct was to fall back to sleep because it was an especially humid and cold Costa Rican morning. However the sound of the birds chirping and the waterfall crashing outside the tent made waking everyone up a surprisingly relaxing job. Followed by a great breakfast consisting of eggs, sausage, plantains, and toast the day was off to a good start. Instead of going straight to service after breakfast like on a normal day, Jonathan drove the group out to the edge of a farm.
There we had a very informational and eye opening conversation about the limited resource that is water. This was followed up by a nice five to six minute walk in silence to a spring that acted as a great example of what unpolluted water looks and tastes like. Proceeding this great morning activity was about four hours of making eco bricks for a staircase that is going to lead to the water fall. On the walk up to lunch I was ambushed we a bucket of murky semi paint filled water by some of the nicest people ever. Don´t worry though lunch was great as always because I got to enjoy even more plantains. After a nice shower and a change of cloths the groups presented their final Spanish projects. We then received certificated for Spanish class and I had to say goodbye to my amazing teacher Jasmine. From their on out the day consisted of some casual soccer in the sun, a short nap and then another delicious meal.