Time Capsule Letter
We can’t believe it has already been so long since our Costa Rica trip ended! I can still imagine the sound of the surf heard through Bahia Ballena and the delicious coconuts that we shared during service.
Often times, it seems like yesterday that we were laughing in the crashing waves, working in the rain, doing soccer drills with the locals, helping Lucia with the native tree and plastic projects, and learning about ourselves and role in our own communities back home. You’re probably back in school (or starting college!) but we wanted you to know that we are still thinking of you and the impact we made this summer together.
Our time spent together in Bahia Ballena truly did make an impact. Not only did you leave Costa Rica a better place than when you came, you left as changed individuals ready to make an impact in your home communities.
Lucia’s tree nursery and plastic collection will continue to be a strengthening aspect of this community as more volunteers come to Semilla de Ballena and are able to continue to care for the trees in her farm and enjoy a plastic-free beach. Omar’s soccer team is strengthened for the children you met.
And more importantly, the knowledge YOU gained on this trip we hope will serve you and the communities you go on to be in for the rest of your life! We now know how harmful plastic is to the environment, and some ways to REFUSE, reduce. and reuse it in order to lessen our impact on the environment.
Another thing I can’t forget is how much fun we had together here! You guys were a huge part of making this trip so fun by being a really close-knit group. We tackled big challenges by learning to surf. We tackled a hot and steep Costa Rican hike through the rain forest.
We also got to explore Bahia Ballena and see the beautiful beach. And no one can forget the playful water wars the giddy feeling of laughter from rafting the rapids in Rio Savegre (Central America’s cleanest river) together in a group of friends that we will never forget!
We worked really hard and also had a blast together. Whether it was playing games at night, engaging with community members, pushing our comfort zones on the river and in the surf, sharing our stories of self, or exploring new places together- it was that much fun because we got to share it with all you guys — the 2019 GLA Costa Rica Surf and Sustainable Service group! Thanks for helping to make these special memories in an amazing place.
Remember your individual OMG – “One Meaningful Goal” – that we created at the end of the session? We’ve attached a photo of each of your OMG papers as a reminder for the variety of goals we set. Some of you pledged to reduce as much plastic in your lives as possible and to encourage your friends, families, schools, and local communities to do the same. Or to change your own habits and diets in an effort to reduce the impact of your carbon footprint.
Some of you set a goal to pursue surfing and the sustainable surf lifestyle. Some of you made more personal character goals to stay positive or increase the meaningful connection you make with other people. We would love to know how that is going! Have there been any changes in your selves, home, or even community?
Kiersten, Ellen, and the Bodhi Team
Wednesday July 10, 2019
Our arrival to Costa Rica has gone well! We enjoyed getting to know each other while munching on pizza and snacks at the hotel as students arrived throughout the morning and afternoon. Students played card games and got to know each other with some icebreakers. Kiersten took a small group to walk around the Alajuela central square and stretch our legs.
The group enjoyed Casados (traditional Costa Rican dish) for dinner consisting of rice, beans, salad, plantains, potatoes, and a choice between pork/chicken/beef/fish. We split up for dinner into two tables to get to know each other a little better. We were joined last minute by Sarina and Chase during dinner because their flight landed in the evening.
After dinner we shared some of our hopes and fears for the program. The fifteen of us that arrived today; Emily, Coco, Kaitlyn, Lauren, Trinity, Jacob, Zack, Reese, Chase, Sarina, Kylie, McKenna, Sofia, Sadiya, and Jessica (not pictured at dinner as she landed late this evening) will head to Bahia Ballena with Ellen (International Director) and Kiersten (International Mentor) first thing in the morning. We are anxiously awaiting some beach time!
Kiersten Brown – GLA Mentor
Saturday July 13, 2019
Hello GLA Families,
Our first service was digging holes and planting trees. We also did a beach cleanup and found many pieces of trash, it was a good learning experience. We learned that community work is very fun and interesting. Surfing was intriguing. Overall we had a very good experience so far and loved helping out in Bahia Ballena.
High: Our high was surfing and getting destroyed by waves. We also had fun playing at la playa.
Low: Our low was the heat and humidity. It is hotter than an oven.
Ha: The haha moment was when Kentucky (Jacob) got stuck in a fire ant mountain.
Aha: An AHA moment was seeing all the plastic that was on the beach during beach cleanup. It made me realize that we should cut back on plastic as a community.
– written by Chase, Reese, Coco, Kaitlyn
Tuesday July 16, 2019
Hello GLA families,
Sunday began with surfing and in the afternoon we gathered after lunch to listen to Lucia give a presentation about different types of plastics that pollute the Earth, specifically oceans. We discussed different initiatives we can take back home to improve our communities and make a change.
We ended the day with a relaxing yoga session taught by Pilar. On Monday, we headed off to our rafting adventure which consisted of rapids, wipeouts, painting our faces with clay rocks from an amazing waterfall and lunch using a leaf as our plate. We headed back to Bodhi to celebrate Kylie’s birthday and played some fun games, watched some documentaries and collapsed in our beds.
High: Our high was when we all went through the waterfall into the middle of it. The water was coming down really hard onto our heads but we powered through to get into the middle which was an amazing feeling.
Low: Our low was finding huge spiders in the raft. Thankfully, Sofia was there to save the day with her spider killing paddle skills. Her quick reflexes left the poor bugs dismembered.
Ha: The ha moment occurred in calm waters when each raft became a free for all. Limbs were flailing as people were tossed into the river and fighting to stay on the rafts.
Aha: An aha moment was seeing a picture of a giant whale made of plastic water bottles. It made us realize the exorbitant amount of plastic we consume and the detrimental effects it had on the “oshun” [inside joke].
-by Lauren, McKenna, Jess, Emily, and Sarina
Hello GLA Families,
We’ve wrapped up our time at Bodhi with more surfing and service learning. Many of us enjoyed the laughter and fun of soccer with Omar and advancing as surfers. We’re all sad to be leaving each other.
High: Practicing soccer with the kids in the community was a great time! Everybody that played got very active and sweaty! The night consisted of lots of laughter and fun. It was also really fun gathering as a group back a Bodhi and sharing how everyone in our close-knit group affected each others’ lives.
Low: Our low was the amount of sweat we produced while hiking up the side of a mountain and the overcast causing a poor view of the whale tail. We also got our butts kicked by 8-11 year old soccer players and getting hit by a soccer ball multiple times.
Ah Ha: When we all realized just how much work it takes to grow a tree. It was also really cool that we were able to play soccer with younger kids despite the language barrier.
Ha: When we were playing soccer and saw a possum climbing on the roof of the indoor soccer field.
-by Sadiya, Jacob, Trinity, Sofia, Zack, Kylie