Saturday June 23, 2018
Today your students successfully flew to Costa Rica from all over the United States and one drove in from Costa Rica. In total, we are a team of 15 students plus Jen and I (Patrick). Today every student landed at slightly different times. The early morning crew struggled to open their red eyes and the late night arrivals showed up starving. As the students trickled in we had an orientation to GLA, some ice breakers and name games, and ate traditional Costa Rican food, which tonight was “casados”, a rice and bean based meal. The group that landed in the afternoon went on a walk and passed a park where people were dancing and playing instruments. In the end everyone started dancing!
After dinner the group went back to the hostel and did a game where they set goals for themselves and then worked to create a plan for how much they want to use or not use their phones.
Tonight we are staying in San Jose, but tomorrow we are driving to Uvita, where we will meet with the rest of the Bodhi team. Bodhi is our partner organization that will facilitate the majority of the program, such as surf, yoga, service, and room and board.
Starting tomorrow students will be writing the daily blog.
As for now, buenas noches!
-Jen and Patrick
Sunday June 24, 2018
We learned more about each other on our four hour bus ride from our hostel in Alajuela to Bodhi Surf and Yoga. When we arrived we met more Costa Rican’s with interesting back stories. After settling in to our new rooms for the week we got to tour the Bodhi base and local Uvita. As we made our way from central to coastal Costa Rica we drank from coconuts and met some sloths and crocodiles, as upclose and personal we could get without putting our lives in danger. Overall it was a pretty successful day diving into the culture (but not the pool) however we have a 6 am wakeup tomorrow so… Buenas noches and ciao ciao for now.
-Maddy and Christiana
Monday June 25, 2018
Today was our first full day at Bahia Ballena. This morning we woke up at 6:00 and went to breakfast. We had gallo pinto, eggs, oatmeal, and lots of fruit. Next, we made the 20 minute walk to the beach. After that we took our first surf lesson, it was definitely fun but SUPER tiring. I’d say the class definitely enjoyed it. Our surf instructors were very helpful and patient with us. Next we went back to Bodhi and ate some lunch. Then Jen and Patrick told us their Stories of Self, they were very interesting and insightful!
So then, we went to the yoga studio. It was a nice and peaceful place. We discussed the definition of service, we discussed a specific Indian custom called the circle of courage, and watched a Ted Talk about leadership and how one small act can impact a person’s life for a very long time.
Finally, we went to Forjando Alas and did an activity with children called “All About Me”. Everyone told a little about themselves in their second language, Spanish for us and English for the kids, it was quite challenging. All of us were very excited to be with the kids and the kids were excited to have us. An inspiring person today was Yerleni. She is the executive director of Forjando Alas. She was very kind and wants to make a difference in the children’s lives in the Uvita/Bahia Ballena community.
After that we went back to Bodhi and and ate pasghetti (Spanish for spaghetti). After that we went to the yoga studio and everyone told their life stories. It was amazing to hear about how different everyone’s lives were and what everyone had been through. It was a great way to get to know each other a little better.
We are very excited to do more service and more surfing tomorrow. So far our experience has been amazing and we can’t wait to see what more GLA and Costa Rica has to offer.
-Logan and Luke
Tuesday June 26, 2018
Today we started the day with service at the local parquecito. We painted and refurbished sidewalks, tables and benches by adding bright colors. Unfortunately the unexpected tropical rain washed away some of the colors however we still had fun with the locals. We ended by reflecting on an impactful video and discussion about defining service.
After service we went surfing at Bahia Ballena. We came at high tide and the waves were a little choppy-but we managed to make it work and have fun. Today we practiced more and learned to turn left and right into waves.
When we got back from surfing we had a wonderful dinner of hamburgers and french fries. Following dinner we all participated in a group activity which simulated the impact of the World Cup in Brazil on the Brazilian culture and their economy.
Today we learned about the different types of service we can provide: temporary and unsustainable. Providing sustainable service is the most beneficial to communities because it leaves a lasting impact. Something that surprised us the most was that 22,000 people were displaced from their homes in result of the FIFA World Cup. We are learning a lot here… and growing.
Off to brush our teeth,
Josh, Grace, and Sage
Wednesday June 27, 2018
Today was, I cannot describe it in any other way, amazing. Started off the day as a leader today and had a super good breakfast. Surfing was so good today. I caught the best wave. I went about as far as I could out and then rode it all the way to shore. After surfing we headed to this marketplace and I bought some things for my siblings back at home. After that we came back and got clean and ready for service work. For our service today we hung out with the kids from Forjando Alas. At first we only had the younger kids and it was so surprising how crazy these kids athletic skills were. They were running up a rocky road with no shoes on and then playing soccer barefoot. Their energy was so cool it see and it was such an amazing experience seeing and knowing that I helped out their mood.
We all learned how good it feels to know that we helped make someones day better. Something we learned was how tough these little kids are. They were running on rocks with bare feet and playing soccer through minor injuries. We are proud of how well we all did surfing and also we are proud of helping the community out. The surf instructors were a huge help and inspiration today. They were calm, cool, and collected while teaching us and even when a sting ray was very close to one of us. We all learned how much of an emotional and mental impact helping out can make on yourself and the people you are helping. Sometimes there are more emotional improvements than physical improvements.
-Sarah and Jake 🙂
Thursday June 28, 2018
Yesterday we went white water rafting. We learned all of the motions and strokes needed to be successful. We were surprised how good the meal they prepared for us was and how generous the proportions were. We were also surprised for how massive the rapids were. All throughout the trip the instructors land the drivers that got us there were extremely nice and provided a comfortable atmosphere in which we could properly and comfortably respect one another and experience a different culture. We were proud that our tribe was respectful and also how only 6 out of 15 fell out! We are very proud of everyone who fell out because they maintained a super positive attitude.
Today everyone is a person of inspiration because everyone stayed positive and respectful during the whole trip. We the leaders of the day (Ben and Lilly) learned new things about ourselves today. I, Ben learned that my ability to raise my voice ,in a culturally appropriate way, is a good way of getting everyone’s attention and bringing the group together quicker and more efficiently. I, Lilly learned to always be ready for a new adventure even if it’s terrifying. I also learned that to lead you need mutual respect and to try and get to now everyone and connect with them each individually.
Ben and Lilly
Friday June 29, 2018
Well hello parents,
Today was a big day for us with our development in surfing along with leading service at forjando alas. We started the day with early morning surfing and there we learned how to ride green waves. While many of us got some good waves I personally are the water a few times. After five exhausting hours of surfing we made the walk back to bodhi for a great lunch of quesadillas. The main event of the day was yet to come as us students would lead service at forjando alas. While many of the activities planned didn’t work out, we still managed to have a great time with the kids and teach them some English.
We made them food, did arts and crafts, taught them how to dance “step”, and beatboxed with them. It was very difficult to say our goodbyes to the children but the experiences we made with them will last in our memories. Personally joe and I learned that’s despite our short time in Costa Rica we could have a positive impact on the community. We learned that we can be great leaders and guide our group to bring out our best potential.
With compassion, humility, and grace….
Joe and Noah
Today we learned how to surf the green waves and about different animals on the hiking trail, such as monkeys, sloths, hawks, and different colored birds. What surprised us the most was that we all made it to the top of the trail, which was a 5k up and a 5k down, to see the view of the whale tail. We are all proud of being able to reach the top of the trail and make it to the green waves. Luis, an surf instructor, was really inspirational because he pushed a lot of people through hard times and told them they were doing great. He was there to help and give us advise on the water. At the end of the day we did a game, called the lollipop game, where we would give out a lollipop to someone that you appreciated or who did something nice.
From Maddy and Peterlee