Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
What a treat to be able to start the summer with this group! After a few days of transitioning to Rancho Quemado (i.e. getting used to the bugs!), it was wonderful to see our GLA students already engaging with the community. Alice and Enrique at Rancho Verde told me how they appreciate the time that the girls spend with their daughters Lizzy and Glenda. At Jaguarundi, Don Felix and Dona Alice raved about their energetic group. Vero at Laguna also gushed about how polite and fun her Laguna girls are!
It is amazing that just over the course of two weeks, the Osa staff already noticed a change in the students. You all really worked at making this experience your own: throwing yourselves into community service, making friends with community members, and bonding with each other. Walking around the community, we can see the impact you left. The completed cement bridge to the library, the finished greenhouse filled with plants at the school, and the lovely memories that community members have of you all are a few examples!
I remember the last day of the program, after Sandro had finished the bike tours through Rancho Quemado, all the students came over to Laguna to hang out. I loved seeing the whole group together, playing cards, listening to music, and just enjoying being together. That was the 4th of July. I remember how everyone’s faces lit up when our amazing hosts brought burgers out for lunch as an American treat, and later, the surprise on everyone’s faces when fireworks exploded into the night after our ending ceremony.
Looking back at the program, some memories stand out to me:
-The first day our bus broke down, and we all sat to play cards and get to know each other. The time flew by!
-Making 8-legged friends in our cabins 🙂
-Mejenga with community members
-Sing-along on the boat to Isla del Cano
-Late night card games and stargazing
-Capture the flag on the beach at Punta Marenco (plus zombiesss!)
-Smoothies with Brenda
-Recycling parade and dance with the kids on the last day
-Fireworks on 4th of July
-Monkeys on the way to the Turtle Conservation project
We hope that Rancho Quemado, with its verdant landscapes, colorful scarlet macaws, and generous, hospitable people, will be a memory you all will hold dear. The mentors and I feel lucky to have worked with you all, and know that the community in Rancho Quemado feels the same.
Amanda, Lexi and Patrick
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 17 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.
– Osa Staff
This morning, we took a tour of Sandros (our local tour guide) organic farm. He showed us his patch of pineapples and showed us how we could eat the small yellow nances that covered the ground. We then explored the man made forest of carefully chosen trees, including palm and lime trees. Sandro removed a cacao plant from a tree and gave us pieces from the inside to suck on. Then UE showed us bow to open a coconut – it looks pretty much impossible. We drank coconut water to make hot chocolate and used left over powder to make face masks. We also ate fried plantains, pineapple, and sugarcane while we ground the beans in the afternoon we participated in a rally that locals had prepared. We organized teams by lodges and each team had multiple townspeople. Some of the activities included ordering ourselves by number without speaking, and passing bowls of water above our heads to fill a bucket. All Tue directions were in Spanish and the activities were pretty challenging. WS got to work on teamwork and leadership skills and became friendlier with the locals. Tonight we will visit zomd of the elders of the community. We are bringing small gifts and ejll listen to them exaib some of the towns history. Today we enjoyed some great food and company and are excited to learn more about the creation of rancho quemado.
– By Camille
June 25, 2016
Today we started our day with cheese and bean empanadas & fresh watermelon juice. The girls of Laguna and I took a hike in the rainforest to a small but beautiful waterfall-the only one in Rancho Quemado. It was extremely refreshing especially after the humidity encountered on our hike. We then enjoyed papaya tacos for lunch and free time consisting of cards for some and naps for others. Today, instead of community service, we participated in a Spanish class where we learned some words to help us in community service and what we thought about the global objectives. After a dinner of fish, we ended our day with a mentor group about our individual leadership style and a personal mission statement. We are all excited to get our laundry back and a bonfire tomorrow!
June 26, 2016
We started our day off with arepas (pancakes) for breakfast and lemonade. Then hopped aboard our bus and headed out. After an hour of driving, we reached the zip line! After breaking off into two groups we harnessed up and headed out. The hand brakes we had were leather pieces that slipped over our gloves, how cool. We loaded back on the bus and started toward the beach. The warm ocean water, lunch of rice and beans, and fresh mango smoothies put the day in first place for me.
June 27, 2016
Today, the third day in Costa Rica, was the start of our service project. However, before any of the service started (starting at 2-5) we had a tour around a butterfly farm (mariposario) and a sugar cane Factory (in the loosest sense). The sugar cane is grown organically, like most things in Rancho Quemado, and is used as their local sugar source. The machine that grinds and splits the sugar cane is “archaic and traditional” as the local sugar cane farmer describe it. We took turns spinning the machine, getting wáter out of the sugar cane. We drank the fruits of our labor, which ironically most of the group weren’t especially fond of as its mostly pure sugar and wáter. The farmer explained all the processes that went into making sugar cane honey, brown sugar, and many more sweets. It is said that the sugar cane produced, and its products, are some of the best in the country, if not the world.
The second tour was of a butterfly farm. The eggs, larvae, catepillar, and eventually butterfly was on full display. The group got to hold the butterfly in each stage, really setting wonderous, almost intruding, mood as we got to see into the life of a butterfly. The actually greenhouse that held the butterflies was astounding, not only in its size, but also in the sheer amount of butterflies living inside it. Everyone tried to coax some of the butterflies onto their hand, body, stomach… but most weren’t able to.
We were broken up into three groups and each was tasked with their service of the day. I was on service B which entailed making a cement bridge connecting the main (and only) road to the library. We had to shovel dirt from down the road and mix it with cement and wáter next to a trench that was also dug out that day. Furthermore, we made a bridge connecting the road and library together out of wood and metal wires and filled it with freshly made cement. We ended up finishing the two week Project in 3 hours.
Because I wasn’t able to go to the other two services (as split bodies is not one of my attributes) I can’t say exactly what went on there, but I know that they helped the community just as much as my group did.
Note: Pictures not uploading due to WiFi issue – thank you for your patience.
June 29, 2016
Hi! my name is Brad and I’m the official GLA blogger today. Today was really exciting for the Jaguarundi hostel group as we started the morning off with a long horseback ride in Rancho Quemado. The horses brought us to a local family’s gold panning establishment, where we learned about the history of gold mining in Rancho Quemado. But after learning about the gold, we were able to actually try it out, as we walked up a nearby creek to pan for some gold, which we did find by the way. From there, we returned to our hostel for our traditional lunch, and then took an hour siesta. By then, it was time to participate in our daily community service, and today we were building a garden at the local elementary school. Once our service was complete, we ate dinner and prepared for a community bon fire, where er joined the locals in song and dance. What seemed like only minutes turned into hours, and soon enough, it was time for bed. We went to bed tired after our long day, but excited for what was to come tomorrow.
This morning the group in Laguna de Valle went for a horseback ride. We followed our guide a steady pace to the destination at a gold mine. Here the group learned about different gold mining techniques. Specifically we saw two different ways to pan gold. After the tour the girls rode their horses back to town. Having a little more experience the group had a mix of walking and trotting on the way back. After lunch, the group had service at the library! Cleaning up trash and brush we then leveled out an area of land for a library parking lot. The hard work paid off and they successfully cleared a space making a tangible contribution to the community.
July 1st and 2nd
July 3, 2016
Today we all went to a dairy farm in the morning. We were able to try to lasso cows, which was new for everyone and was mostly unsuccesful but still a lot of fun. Then we all got to milk the cow and see how they make the cheese on the farm. After that we all went to houses of women from the community for a cooking class. We made tortillas, juice, picadillo de palma, and frijol molido. After that we did community service, half of the group did recycling with the kids and the rest of us were working in the garden. Then, in the evening we had mentor group.
Submitted by Erica Smith
This morning we got to wake up at our typical 6:45 alarm. The only difference now was that we realized this was our last day in rancho quemado. After our sad realization, it made me contemplate on how great of an experience this trip was overall. We went on a bike ride after breakfast, which was a good time to communicate with our friends that we had become so close to in the past two weeks. After we got to chill some more, we all got to walk into town together for the last time. In the bleachers, the ticos had put together a group of stands to sell their incredible bracelets, cookies, shirts, and journals that they make for a living. Sorry mom and dad, but i absolutely blew your money during this. After we spent our money, the ticos cooked our final meal in rancho quemado, which was as good as it always is. Finally, they got together a mejenga, which was a soccer game with everyone in the whole village, including us. The saddest part of the whole experience was saying goodbye at the end of the night. The whole trip was a life-changing, unforgettable experience that was absolutely incredible. Thank you to all. Students and staff made it that way. I will miss you all and keep in touch.