Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
Hey Guys! We wish we could be sharing these memories and stories with you over a nice dinner of rice, beans, fried plantains, and carambola juice but instead grab a nice cup of hot chocolate or a bowl of “loops” and think back to Rancho Quemado!
From the ice breakers in Hotel Mi Tierra and that first asado dinner complete with potato purée and blueberry white tea to the 8 hour bus ride down the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the beginning of Spanish and Service in the Osa was off to a great start! Passing through crocodile filled rivers and Dominical, we made it to “the heart of the Osa Peninsula” just in time for a community dinner of chicken/vegetable rice and citrus salad.
The rally was our first all community activity, and groups A, B, and C all did amazing jobs with the field day like events! From the charades game of “mimicas” to water balloon tossing, we were so proud of our GLA kids jumping right in to such a high energy event! From this rally, community friendships were made, and mejengas” (pick up soccer game) were explained! It was such a delight to watch mejengas occupy most free time, wether it was hot and sunny or a downpour!
There was always so much enthusiasm during the morning community tours; Sandro’s organic farm tour, the trapiche and mariposario, the rural waterfall, Cabuya lessons, the gold mine tour, and the milk farm! Service time was just as impressive as everyone came together to do manual labor in the library, and engage with the community children both while recycling and when working in the school garden! English classes were a fan favorite as we split into 2 groups to teach the local kids (our new friends) about the colors of the rainbow, days of the week, and verbs, just to list a few lesson plans!
The adventures just never stopped in Osa! Zip lining through the tree tops and beach days in Playa Blanca were so fun, especially with spaghetti for lunch and mango smoothies! Even with unforeseen conditions (record high river levels) on our way to Punta Marenco lodge in Drake Bay, spirits were high! Monkeys and sea turtles were spotted during our 2 day excursion in Corcovado National park, the sea turtles made snorkeling at Isla Caño that much more memorable as did the little monkeys that tried to steal our pack lunch of fried egg gallo pinto wrapped in banana leaf right off the picnic table! Even through steady rain, the GLA kids had smiles as we hiked to Rio Claro, a turtle conservation, to canoe up a pristine river and swim back down, stopping a few times to jump off rocks and climb up waterfalls!!
As international staff, we really enjoyed the effort everyone put into mentor groups! With a wide range of topics such as global citizenship and experiential learning, identity (and vexillology – the study of flags), cross cultural communication and cultural lenses, leadership styles, Eco-tourism, and SMART goals, it was a pleasure getting to know you all better through these smaller group leadership workshops!
Thank you for joining us in the OSA Peninsula! We can’t wait to see where your future endeavors and travels take you!!
Osa International Staff
Lexi, Amanda, and Patrick
7-10 Quick Summer Recollections:
1. Mejenga in the rain!
2. Morning nature walk with Sandro
3. Making 8 legged friends 🙂
4. Waterfall jumps
5. Howler monkeys on bus down with Wali
6. Cha cha slide and Cotton Eyed Joe during the music night (trova)
7. Yoga at the canopy tour (head stands and all!)
8. Jaguarundi Boys leading a basketball camp during service hours!
9. Making a giant turtle/sand castles on our private Punta Marenco beach
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 19 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 tomorrow driving down the Costa Rican coast.
Day two on Rancho Quemado was full of new foods, friends, experiences, and bugs. After our first night sleeping under mosquito nets, we started off our day with a tour of Jaguarini’s (one of the local hostals) 5 acre organic farm. Our guide Sandro, who grew up on the property, wasn’t hesitant to throw us right into the experience; the ground surrounding the first tree we saw was surrounded by its dropped fruits, which we found ourselves eating only moments later. After enjoying a few more exotic fruits that I had never heard of previously, Sandro and his family showed us all there is to know about the process of making chocolate from the raw cacao plant. Not only were we able to eat the final product, but put it on our faces as well. As we learned, the cacao plant has many antioxidants that help keep our skin healthy. After today I can believe that because I don’t think my face has ever felt as clean as it did after that chocolate mask came off. Next we were off to the “rally” (field day essentially) put on by GLA administrators to help bridge the gap between GLA students and Rancho Quemado locals. During the rally, we participated in 10 different activities with the other GLA students from our respective hostals as well as some locals we will be working with in the weeks to come. Not only did this experience make it easier to get to know some of the locals, but it also was a great way to transition into our immersion into the Spanish language and culture. The community members were unbelievably kind and a pleasure to be around, no matter how much of a language barrier presented itself. After all the interactions I have had today, I’m sure that as the days go on, us GLA students will only become more connected to and comfortable with the way of life on Rancho Quemado.
Written by Knox
I woke up this morning tired yet excited about the adventures that were about to happen. Breakfast consisted of tropical juices I’d never had before, as well as amazing home cooked food that was so good, I had to get seconds. We started off at a tour of sugarcanes that were made from 100 year old equipment. I got to taste organic sugar toffee that was even better than chocolate, in my opinion. Afterwards we took a quick stroll to a butterfly garden where two butterflies landed on my finger. I’ve only been here four days but I don’t see how it can get better than hanging out with butterflies and the new friends I’ve made. In my free time I took an hour long nap and woke up to my alarm that reminded me to get ready for my first service project at Rancho Quemado. I was exhausted and didn’t think I would enjoy digging in dirt, but I did. It was a great way to practice my Spanish with the members of the community and I enjoyed every second of the dirt\mud activities. Whether it’s playing uno with the people in my hostel, or chilling with the most beautiful butterflies I’ve ever seen, GLA and the amazing mentors that made me feel so included, most definitely deserve a two thumbs up.
Written by Abigail
Today was super exciting! We took a bus ride out of Rancho Quemado to a place to go ziplining. The zip lines were super fun and had the most amazing views when we were up there. Next we left for a cafe by the beach where we ate spaghetti, which was super exciting because I had been craving spaghetti since I got here. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the beautiful beach. We then returned to Rancho Quemado and finished the day with mentor groups about cultural lenses.
Here we have a picture of Laguna girls sewing “maya plastica” on the school garden
July 14, 2016
At the start of day four of the GLA Protecting the Pacific program we started off the morning with a community service workshop here at the GLA home base. For this workshop we were working with wood to construct trash museums to showcase the litter that we collected from the beach on day three. Once complete, these displays will be placed at strategic locations (such as the entrances to beaches and/or inside businesses with heavy tourist traffic). The goal is to show people how they are impacting the Costa Rican environment with their waste. Our hope is that people will be ore conscious of how the dispose of their trash after seeing our displays.
After the service project we ate lunch and loaded into taxis, which took us to Forjando Alas. Forjando Alas is a nonprofit organization that runs after school programs for children in Uvita. We all got the privilege of meeting and interacting with the local children there during multiple cut-throat games of red light green light, heads up seven up, and soccer. The kids were super funny and adorable. After stopping for a quick snack of watermelon and bananas, we said goodbye to the kids and the local volunteers at Forjando Alas and drove through a downpour back to the GLA base. We wrapped up the day with some finnnnnnnnnne feed and a talk about “The Six R’s of Sustainability” with Travis.
-Elizabeth and Ally
This morning, I was introduced to the process of creating a “cabuya” or a Costa Rican woven bag. It was one of the most interesting, and time consuming, processes I have ever seen! I definitely will think again when I have to do a chore that can take 20 minutes rather than a job that takes weeks.
Also, we created a beautiful dirt parking lot right next to the library for anyone to use. It was awesome!
Here’s a photo of Lexi’s mentor group teaching the Rancho Quemado students the colors of the rainbow!
We start the day off with a to go breakfast at 5 in the morning that had really good cinnamon bun. We hop on the bus and try to cross a river but we get stuck in the river and ate forced to cross on foot. We walk to the next river and cross that one as well. We wait 30 min and catch another bus taking us to the shore. We then hop on a boat and start to leave before we realize we left someone. We go back for him and were back on our way. We beach hopped 2 beaches until we finally got to our hotel which was on a third beach. We play on the beach for 5 hours and then have dinner. The next day we hike to a river and jump into it from a ledge 10 feet from the water. We then canoe up the river looking at all the trees that surrounded us. Then after canoeing for some time we get out the boat and float back on life vest. Stopping at some times to jump off even higher ledges. Then we hike up two waterfalls and dive down one of them. We get back to the hotel then take the boat back to our bus, cross 2 more rivers on foot and get on the bus that got stuck on the way there. And that was our trip.
July 19, 2016
We started the day going to the milk farm where some of us milked one of the cows. We got to see the artisanal process of making cheese from local cows milk. After that we went to a community member’s home to help prepare a classic Costa Rican lunch. Our group made picadillo and fresh tortillas. We weren’t to hungry for lunch after that but the fresh plantain chips where a treat. Then we all split up for community service where my group went to help at the town’s library. We helped make old tires into planters by putting dirt inside and painting them. After a diverse meal of rice and beans we had a fun Zumba class lead by our mentors. It was quite a workout but it was fun because some community members came to participate. It’s sad that the trio has almost come to an end but we all seem excited to get to San José on Thursday.
Julian teaching little Jefferson how to play basketball!
Arrington with the dream catcher.
July 20, 2016
Today GLA took us to a waterfall on horseback. It was nice to see students bonding with their horses, some even named them. Once we got to the waterfall we had the opportunity to go swimming. After wards we taught the community children English which was really fun and not only did we connect with the children but also with our peers.
July 20, 2016
Today was our last day in Rancho Quemado. It started with a delicious breakfast of both the now familiar gallo pinto and a fried circular food that tasted vaguely cheesy.
During the day, we split into two groups and took turns going out on a bike ride on the surrounding roads, taking our last looks at the community we had spent the last two weeks in before packing our bags in preparation for our trip back to San José. For lunch, we were greeted by the familiar sight of a burger, fries, and milkshakes.
In the evening, we were given a tour of the opening of a new shop. Afterwards, we spent time with the community members. We all expressed our appreciation for each other, and we recieved participation certificates for the spanish classes we had taken. We then had dinner all together on the bleachers, and part in majenga, a community wide soccer game. Then, after reluctantly setting our alarms to around 4:10 am, we went to sleep.