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 by the beach.
Often times, it seems like yesterday that we were laughing in the crashing waves, dancing 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 you 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.
Hafet continues to pursue surfing with a stronger sense of confidence after your encouragement during lessons. 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 enjoyed a nice cool and rainy 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 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, listening to Maia’s stories, 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 our friends, families, schools, and local communities to do the same.
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
Sunday June 16, 2019
Our arrival to Costa Rica has been exciting and smooth! 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, checkers, and got to know each other with some icebreakers.
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. As we sipped our fresh squeezed pineapple juice and the table buzzed with conversation, it became clear our cohesive group has seemingly already fallen into a nice groove. Many students also enjoyed taking this opportunity to practice their Spanish while interacting with the restaurant owners and staff.
After dinner we journaled and shared some of our hopes and fears for the program. The thirteen of us that arrived today (Maya, Liv, Olivia, Bella, Logan. Griffin, Virginia, Avery, Kylie, Kat, Ally, Sophia, and Grace) will head to the beach and Bahia Ballena with Kiersten (GLA Mentor) and Pilar (one of the co-owners of Bodhi Surf) first thing in the morning. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Maia and Hannah tomorrow who will travel to Bahia Ballena in the afternoon with Ellen (GLA International Director).
Kiersten Brown – GLA Mentor
Thursday June 20, 2019
Hello GLA families!
These past few days consisted of community service, and adventures. On Wednesday specifically, we played soccer with the children from all around Uvita at an indoor soccer field. Right as we were about to head over, there was a rainstorm. The thunder roared right over our heads, and every ten seconds there was lightening! Everyone had a good scare at least once. As we arrived the little boys welcomed us into their warm-up: stretching and sprints.
After a couple of drills and games, we scrimmaged, and it was clear that their soccer skills were far superior to ours. We shared many laughs with the boys not only over our poor performance but also our attempts at speaking Spanish. After warmups we played on teams. Yellow, Blue, and Green. We all split into teams and if someone scored a goal the losing team would be out, or every 5 minutes you’d play rock, paper, scissors to switch teams.
I think the whole group would come to the agreement that the best part of the day was when we received chocolate flavored popsicles. It was quite the treat after working with all the trees and paint. It began to rain too which was enjoyable to cool us all off.
Yesterday, we were also able to work more in the Tree Nursery with Lucia. As we made our way back to Bodhi, the storm came rolling in. We were unable to finish planting them and booked it back to Bodhi for safety. We’re hopeful we will get to plant them late this week.
As we were doing our community service of gardening, Logan screamed, “Snake!” and everyone ran for the hills! It ended up being a small Boa Constrictor and we all had to keep our distance for our safety. Although, we were all able to get a good look at it! Travis took care of it, all of us crowding around him, and then we all resumed our work.
Many of us were able to stand up on the surfboards. It definitely was not easy… a lot of patience, arm strength, and practice was involved. The waves were pretty big and the weather was nice. Everybody focused hard and took the Bodhi expert’s advice. It was a great day for learning how to surf.
-written by Maia, Ally, Sophia and Liv
Saturday June 21, 2019
Hello GLA families!
Thursday and Friday were fun days! On Friday, we went white water rafting. We woke up, ate breakfast, and quickly rushed to get our swimsuits on! We boarded the vans and drove an hour to a local restaurant. We ordered our choice of vegetarian, chicken, fish, or steak casados, and then continued driving alongside the Rio Savegre river (the cleanest in Central America). Some of the crew members in the vans stopped at certain points, showing us natural leaves, cinnamon, and citrusberries.
Once we got to the site, the crew took the rafts off the top of the van and gave us safety instructions. Then we got on board and started going down the river. The rapids were fun for everyone as we enjoyed the beauty of the jungle surrounding us. After about an hour and a half of rafting, we stopped at a site to take pictures by a waterfall and have a delicious snack! After our break, we continued down the last 30 minutes of rapids. We re-boarded the vans and drove back to the restaurant to eat a well-deserved lunch. Everyone was exhausted from rafting and slept in the car ride back to home base!
On Thursday, we went for our 3rd surfing lesson. On the way there, it started to lightly rain, which was a treat to cool down. Everyone worked on perfecting their skills in controlling their board and paddling out to catch the bigger waves. We were worried that the rain would turn into a lightning storm, which would prevent us from surfing, but nature was on our side. We spent the surf lesson in the rain, which was something super cool and new for most of us.
On Friday we went rafting. From the water we could see gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. The big, green, forests lacked civilization and they gave the experience of rafting a peaceful contrast to the turbulent water. However, we regretted that we forgot to bring go-pros or other devices to capture the views. It was nice to enjoy the scenery in the present moment, but it would have also been nice to have pictures to show our families.
Ellen’s birthday was on Friday so some of the girls woke up before dawn to help Adrianne bake a carrot cake, Queen Ellen’s favorite, and make decorations for the common area. When the birthday girl walked down the stairs a couple hours later, it was funny to see her expression in response to all the decorations. Later that night at dinner we surprised her with the cake. It was delicious!
On Thursday, many of us had significant improvement in our surfing abilities. Everyone was able to stand up, as well as learning how to get over waves properly by using techniques such as planking and turtling. Once we mastered these techniques, it became easier to paddle out and catch the waves much easier!
~Maya, Virginia, & Avery
Hello GLA Families!
Very sad that it is the last night in Costa Rica. We all wish we could shred the gnar one last time. Already missin rice n’ beans. Excited to continue all the new friendships.
“Spenca” (Spencer one of our suf instructors and service guides) let us plant trees in his garden. We requested that he install a pergola. We wish we could stay longer to build the pergola, but we sadly had to go to San Jose.
On the second to last day, the waves were gnarly, but sadly, lightning was spotted and we were forced to find immediate shelter. We weren’t able to finish up our last surfing sesh.
Maia (future comedian)
Realization that we are all going to have to leave our good friends and that connection is important.
~Kylie, Avery, Kat, Ally