Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
Hello fellow travelers!
It’s been several months since our amazing experience together in Rancho Quemado. I hope your share our fond memories of exploring the Osa Peninsula, growing together as a group, and making an impact in our adopted Costa Rican home town. The community members were so grateful for all the help you gave!
During our program, we promoted ethical and sustainable tourism by staying at locally owned home bases and participating in tours and activities that gave local men and women the chance to share with us their traditions, culture, and unique natural resources. During that time you formed authentic relationships with many of the people who live in Rancho Quemado. Your work on the library and on the recycled materials mural has the community looking more beautiful and bright than ever and the school gardens you helped beautify are now producing a healthy crop of vegetables and herbs that are being used to provide healthy lunches at reduced cost to the elementary students.
We hope you were impacted as well by your experience. As we led excursions and service and through our discussions about culture and leadership in mentor groups, we saw you all grow together as a team and build on your own unique leadership strengths. We hope you are continuing to learn and promote global citizenship wherever you go!
Amanda, Lexi, and Patrick
- Smoothie time with Brenda
- Amazing wildlife! We had sloth, monkey, whale, and stingray sightings
- Our hard-won soccer victory over the Tamandua group
- Late night card games
- Multiple surprise visits from our happy and fun moth friends!
- English teaching with hilarious students – “head, shoulders knees and toes” was especially a hit!
- Waterfall jumping in Rio Claro
- Early AM ice cream during our last day in Alajuela
Summer Blog Posts
¡Hola! ¡Bienvenidos a San Jose!
We’re so happy to have all of our students here in Alajuela, a tranquil town just outside San Jose. After settling into the hotel we headed out looking for food, and came across casados, a typical Costan Rican meal consisting of rice, black beans, plantains, and a little salad! This typical Tico meal got its name “Married” because the rice and beans are always served together! Fun food fact! After looking over the schedule of the fun filled two weeks in the Osa peninsula and Rancho Quemado, we all played a few “rompehielos” ice breakers to get to know all 14 students, 3 US staff, and the local Rancho Quemado guide. A delicious asado dinner with guacamole followed and early to bed, ready for a full day driving down the Costa Rican coast.
July 27, 2016
After a typical Costa Rican breakfast of gallo pinto (rice and beans!) and
eggs, we began our journey to Rancho Quemado. The landscape quickly
changed once we left San Jose: from modern city to verdant hills and
sprawling jungle. The bus ride proved the perfect time to catch up on
sleep, get to know other students, and just enjoy our arrival in this
The thought of an 8 hour bus ride was scary at first, but the stops we had
made it comfortable and fun. We saw huge crocodilos lounging in a
coffee-colored river, surfers slicing through turquoise waves in Dominical,
and even a sloth making his way up a tree!
When we arrived in Rancho Quemado, the community greeted us with a
traditional dance (baile tipico!). They also prepared an ice breaker
that allowed us to meet community members for the first time. The
communal dinner that followed made us all excited to have come to such
a beautiful area with such warm people. We are ready for the program
to start in Rancho Quemado!!
July 28, 2016
On day two of our service adventure, Sandro took us on an organic chocolate tour where we got to see a tree where the chocolate grows and then we got to learn how it is turned into the chocolate we use to make hot chocolate. We also got to use the chocolate to make organic face masks which was really cool. After the chocolate tour, we got the opportunity to see and learn about the butterfly garden run by Yolanda here in the neighborhood. She showed us the process of how she watches them transform from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly, and then we got to go into the garden where all the butterflies lived. It was fun to see the different kinds of butterflies in the garden and have them land on some of us!
P.s. On our 8 hour bus ride we saw a sloth sitting in a tree on the side of the road and got to stop to take pictures 🙂
July 29, 2016
Today, we split into two groups and while one group rode horses, visited a farm, and swam in a waterfall, the others taught English to children. The hike to the waterfall included learning about some of the interesting things about the nature of Costa Rica and walking up a river. After a delicious lunch, we switched groups. We taught the kids a variety of things such as animals, numbers, and parts of the body through (hopefully) fun lessons. After a little break and dinner, we met with some of the abuelitos of the community, some of which had founded the town, and listened to all of the cool stories they had. We were all really tired when we went to bed that night after our super fun and busy day!
July 30, 2016
Waking up at 5:30 am we were treated to a breakfast of pancakes before setting out for an adventurous day of zip lining and fun at the beach. After a forty five minute bus ride we finally arrived to a beautiful view. Within a half hour we were zip lining through the trees. We had a lot of fun. One of the platforms was set in a tree and we all stopped to look over the edge at the dizzying height. The last zip line was the longest and the fastest and we all enjoyed it as we sped towards the finish line. Afterwards we ate snacks and relaxed. Later we even did yoga, some of us being more flexible than others.
Heading over to the beach we ate a delicious lunch before getting in the water. Dunking, mud fights, and water games ensued as we enjoyed a refreshing escape from the heat. A duck, duck, goose game ended in a splash before we moved on to a game of tag. After getting out of the water we headed back to main camp where we had a relaxing evening at the hostel.
July 31, 2016
We started the day by cooking authentic corn tortillas and pica dillo with a local, Odili. The process was simple but time consuming, and it showed us the amount of care and effort that the people here put into their meals. After a delayed lunch, the groups were sent to do either do service or go to Spanish class. For example, Group B helped the kids take out colorful empty snack packages from the trash cans and cut them into pieces. With the pieces of trash, a mural beside the fields was touched up. The afternoon was enjoyable and enlightening because of the sustainable and convenient ways we found to beautify the community.
August 1, 2016
Yesterday morning we went and visited a local gold mine. We were able to see how the locals panned for gold, we also got to use a canoa to speed up the process of panning gold. Then we had a 3 hour Spanish class that actually turned out to be more fun than I had expected. And after dinner we played a soccer game against another volunteer organization. We won 9-6! It was a really good chance to get to know the kids from the other organization and to spend more time with the local kids.
Hello GLA blog! Today we woke up and went on an adventure in Corcovado national park! After a breakfast of pancakes and eggs we hiked from Punta Morenca to the beach side turtle sanctuary a little while away. From there we boarded boats to sail up the Rio Claro and floated back down wearing life jackets. On our way down the Rio Claro we climbed and swam up a waterfall and jumped our way back down. After making it back to the turtle sanctuary (and eventually Punta Morenco) we took a taxi boat back to Drake bay and bussed back to Rancho Quemado. The rest of the day was spent relaxing in Jaguarundi with a brief mentor session on sustainability in the evening.
First thing in the morning we split into our hostel groups and went on a local gold tour. We learned the traditional techniques that were used to find gold in streams. Although gold mining was once a way of making a good living, recently it hasn’t been very profitable. We really learned this after our group worked for about an hour and only found fifteen dollars worth of gold. After the gold tour we headed back to the Rancho Quemado plaza for a cabuya tour. We learned the steps to weaving a tough string that comes from cabuya plants. This was a more sustainable way of making a profit and is practiced by the local women a few times a week. Both tours showed us the admirable work ethic of the Rancho Quemado community.