Saturday August 4, 2018
We are writing to you from our lovely home base in Santa Teresa as we sit down for our first breakfast together. All of our students are here safe and sound and we are all very excited to begin our Initiative for Children program! Everyone arrived safely in San Jose yesterday. Several students got to experience lunch in a Costa Rican mall while waiting for the rest of their peers to arrive.
As we headed to our secluded home-away-from-home, we admired the Costa Rican countryside (or slept) on our three-hour bus ride. We arrived home, unpacked and got to know our new roommates. We got a good nights sleep listening to the sound of jungle rain and frogs. We are excited to get started with orientation today before getting into service and cultural activities starting tomorrow. Be on the lookout for more updates on our adventures coming soon!
Sunday August 5, 2018
Today the group went on a tour to the pineapple farm. They got a chance to see pineapple being picked and how they grow. During the tour the group got to taste the sweet pineapples fresh from the plantation. After the pineapple tour the group ate pineapple marmalade and crackers along with drinking Virgin Pina Colada´s. After the pineapple tour the group went back to Homebase and relax for a little bit before eating lunch. After lunch they went on a 2 and a half long hike through the Costa Rican mountains. After the hike the group again relaxed for an hour before eating dinner.
Monday August 6, 2018
Today we began our day with our first day of service. Our service groups visited two schools, Bella Vista and Santa Teresa. Both groups interacted with the students and worked in the garden. After our long and exciting time at the schools we returned to home base for time at the lake. At the lake we kayaked, sunbathed, and played pool. We then came together for a lesson taught by Rosie about how to teach the young Costa Rican students English. At the lesson we came up with ideas about how to teach different topics such as learning numbers, colors, classroom objects, etc. After our lesson we had a leadership activity which was a mock debate about FIFA in Brazil. We played roles with different groups/stances involved in the issue. We learned to understand both sides of arguments and come to an agreement. We finished our day with a nice dinner and games.
Tuesday August 7, 2018
This morning we each went to our service schools where we played with the kids, and got some yard work done. both us and the kids had a lot of fun even with the rainy weather. we taught the kids animals, days of the week, and prepared them for an english spelling bee which will take place tomorrow along with other english activities which we will be a part of.
After having lunch at the home base, we went on a boat safari and rafted along the San Carlos river. we saw many crocodiles as well as iguanas, monkeys, and sloths. it was funny seeing people falling into the water and pushing each other around as well as having splash wars between the three rafts. at around 6 we came back to home base, and had dinner.
Wednesday August 8, 2018
The day started at 8:00 a.m, when we left to go to our school. today we worked in the garden and we had some time playing around with the kids. we played kickball and some dancing.
At 11:30 a.m. we came to home base and we went to the lake until lunch was ready. after lunch and a nice break we had a chat about Costa Rican coffee ☕️, we learned a lot and actually we got to try some coffee( it was yummy 😋).
At 5:00 p.m.we had a Russian class, it was super super fun, everyone enjoyed it. After we had a mentors meeting and we got to talk about our sentimental life which was very emotional but it helped us bond more together.
Today Carlos and Gabriella’s service group participated in an English festival. The day started off with an hour of hard work in the garden, because the children at the school were to come in an hour late for the festival. The English festival consisted of a dance to “Old McDonald” which was followed by two singing performances and a puppet show. Three of the volunteers participated in a dance rendition of Jailhouse Rock, which was followed by the Spelling Bee. Jose, a sixth grader, emerged victorious and will go on to compete against other schools. After service, the entire group enjoyed some lake time. Following that, Alfredo taught us about coffee and we learned the reason why his tastes so much better than other brands. After consuming a fair amount of caffeine, there was a large period of free time. During this Abbi A., Anne, and Nina taught a Russian class. Free time was followed by mentor sessions, and finally, a delicious dinner of burgers and fries.
Thursday August 9, 2018
Hey fellas! It’s your pals Carly and Alexa coming at ya from Costa Rica! Today was super fun. Half of the group got to experience Carlos’ school and help work in the garden! We did the Macarena and the school girls taught us cool dances. It was quite the FIESTA! The other group went to Gabi’s school! Carly cleaned gutters! Then, we all took a nice long dip in the lake, some of us even dared to jump from the tower, but not all. After the “LAKE BREAK”, us and our fellow internet hungry friends took a trip to the Iguana Cafe! This bop had free wifi, which was really slow, but usable. Many of our amigos FaceTimed their friends and families back home! We got ice cream, (Alexa got strawberry and Carly got chocolate!), and some friends purchased gifts. Safe to say it was a thrifty time. After the cafe, we went to ‘Su Casa’ which is a local supermarket!!! We shared our shopping cart with many amigos and it was quickly filled with ice cream, cookies, chips, and cereal with milk for our british friend Gordy. His name is Gordon, but Sofia mispronounced it within the first few days… thus, Gordy was born.Then, we paid for our snacks and hopped back on the Juan Ca mobile. For our amigos that aren’t with us, Juan Ca is our conductor! For those who don’t speak spanish, Juan Ca is our DRIVER!
On the way home, we had a real fiesta and BLASTED throwback songs including Tik Tok by Ke$ha and Low by T-Pain! However, a storm was brewing. On the bus, lighting struck just feet away from the mobile and the thunders roared as our fearless driver took us to safety. However nobody noticed the hardships ahead because we were distracted by the music! Honestly, the bus was POPPIN’! Soon, the lighting began lighting up the Juan Ca mobile and the music could not hide the fear any longer. Once we got back safe and sound, I (Alexa) ran off the bus and did a backflip onto the patio and wiped out, dropping my cellular. I am slightly bruised, but ALIVE, and that’s all we can ask for. Everyone ate dinner in the storm, until a DEADLY ROAR brought everyone to screams. Our amigos and I huddled together for safety and were quickly sent back to our rooms. We are writing to you now, safe and sound, letting you know we have ALL survived. We thank our fearless Juan Ca and our helpful mentors for keeping us ALIVE. The storm is silencing and soon we will all sleep sound. Cameron’s necklace, that was given to him by the aliens that abducted him, is keeping me and my roommates safe. With this power I vow to protect the entire GLA group. Sofia has just informed us about a song about a ‘Gnome Mobile’ because our Juan Ca mobile reminded her of it. Now Sofia is showing us the video from her childhood. We really are a family here in Costa Rica.
Just for now,
Alexa and her faithful companion Carly Michelle.
Friday August 10, 2018
What’s cracka lackin’ amigos?! It’s Alexa and her pal Carly back at ya with another daily update! Luckily the storm stopped last night and we were able to return to our normal activities with no casualties! We went back to the same schools we were at yesterday and continued our service. Carlos’ group played a game with the older kids which resulted in Cameron having to dance like a chicken, do push ups, and dance awkwardly. It’s important to note that Cameron was NOT wearing the magic necklace (given to him by aliens) when forced to perform these actions.
After returning home, we had lunch and a small break where some of the group members took another dip in the lake. Soon enough, it was time to travel to the cow farm where we watched cows get milked by machines. Some of us even tried our HAND at milking! These brave amigos included Lauren, Sabine, Tricie, Abby, and our british friend Gordy. On the way back we stopped at a local Wawa type of thing and got ice cream! Finally, we returned back to home base. Gabi and Sophia played some real bops and got the Juan Ca mobile back to it’s hyped up self.
Soon enough we were all involved in a group activity. We were told to get into pairs with people we did not know very well and take a stroll with them around the base. The objective was to find 3 connections with your partner. After, we went to mentor groups. In mine, we watched a video about how the meat industry negatively affects the Earth’s water consumption, and it was safe to say we were all vegans until dinner. Soon we were at dinner, where we happily enjoyed our chicken wings, and then just hung out. I’m actually writing to you while my new friends are playing some sort of Russian game with cards. Sabine has just discovered hula hoops and it is safe to say it is our Gordy’s’ first time ever using, and possibly seeing, one.
and Carly did nothing.
Saturday August 11, 2018
Hey what’s up its JC and Kayla! We had a great day today despite the fact that we had to reschedule horse back riding due to the incredibly unfortunate mudslide 😀 !! First we went shopping for souvenirs in La Fortuna, parents watch out for gifts when we come back ;). Next we went zip lining. It was lots of fun!! We had a beautiful view from the trees as we zoomed through the air. You can say the day ZIPPED BY. AHAHAHAHA. On our way back to home base, we stopped in La Fortuna again for some scrumptious ice cream. Yum. On the ride back, we listened to more music.
We all jammed to the music and we continued the dance party when we got back to home base. Then people hung out in the lake and finally, after multiple days of waiting, Cameron finally jumped from the tower!! He landed safely in the water. He even jumped twice! We all cheered as he jumped the second time, he obviously had a blast. Right now we are all heading to the treehouse to wind down before bed. We’re all probably just going to talk about the day and random things. All in all, the day was amazing, especially the zip lining.
Signing off til next time, JC and Kayla.
PS : Rice is life
Sunday August 12, 2018
Hey y’all guess who it is! We are back and better than ever to tell you about day 10. The day was amazing before it even began because we weren’t going to have breakfast until 9:00! On top of THAT, our amazing chef Luis put chocolate chips in our pancakes! After we ate a yummy meal we hopped on the Juan Ca mobile and headed off to the stables for horse back riding. On the way there, we listened to Country music to get in the spirit ;). Alexa’s Tim Mcgraw was denied by all and Carly “saved the day” by playing Sam Hunt. Once we got there, the stable keepers chose the perfect horse for each of us and we were on our way. On our ride we encountered many obstacles! Luckily our trained horsies were able to maneuver through streams, mud piles, and lots of branches. They were even able to escape the wrath of Abby’s evil horse that kept biting the others. With the fun, came quite a view, (and we don’t just mean us in cute helmets and saddles). We saw a huge volcano and mounds of glorious mountains (see the photos). After the trail, we dismounted from the horses with minimal chaffing.. for the lucky ones 🙁
On the way home, everybody was Country’d out so we bopped to some more throwbacks. It’s safe to say that the 3 boys on our journey are DONE WITH US. I don’t know how much more Selena Gomez and Hannah Montana they can take. JC has resorted to headphones, while Cameron and Gordy try their hardest to drown us out and sleep on the rides. Our fabulous leaders of the day included Carly herself and Tricie. They made a great team and made sure we all got home safe. While riding home, we noticed the beautiful cotton candy sunset in the back. Juan Ca, being the fabulous man he is (see photo), stopped the mobile for us to take pictures! He even climbed atop his mobile to shoot us from above. Quite the photo sesh we had in the middle of the road. We felt like real tourists as we stopped traffic for pictures! We ended the night with a special surprise from our mentors… a bonfire and marshmallows! We told scary Reddit User ghost stories and sang campfire songs! Have we mentioned that we really are a family here in Costa Rica?
Carly & Alexa
Why hello there. We didn’t see you there. It’s us, Lauren and JC, about to serve you a hot steaming pile of information straight from the furnace called our day. First off, we went to our respective schools and started service. It was really fun, as some of us haven’t seen the kids for about 4 days. It was really fun because the kids all had tons of energy that they had been saving up. Actually, they are always full of energy. They were battery packs ready to go. They were the sun feeding solar plants. They… really had us running around XD. Afterwards we ate lunch, as per usual. The food was very good. We then had a bit of free time to spare. Most of us spent times in our rooms to unwind. We then drove to the hot water holes. Or for people who don’t speak unnecessary wordage, hot springs.
They were really relaxing and there were even slides! We raced each other down the slides and had a blast. Tons of people also had chicken fights. I — JC — didn’t because I am a CHICKEN. Get it?? HAHAHHAHAHA. Sorry. We also got ice cream and got back on the bus. We had another exceptional dance party on the bus and stopped by the super market again to replenish our ice cream stock. As soon as we got to home base, we ate dinner. That brings us to right now, which is us writing this blog. We currently have free time and some people are playing poker outside. Don’t worry parents, we aren’t using real money. We are having real fun though haha. We are all a bit sad that the trip is coming to a close soon, but also very excited to see you all again :D. So for now, this is adios! Au revoir! Goodbye!
Your home slices,
J.C. and Lauren
Tuesday August 14, 2018
It´s Abby! We started our day with our last day of service. The kiddos where practicing their body parts and landscapes in English today. After some learning we played with them for the rest of the day. The kids drew pictures on our arms and legs, lucky with washable markers. Other kids printed photos and made us goodbye cards. Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things. We have grown so attached to these kids in such a short amount of time.
What’s happening chicos?! HERE WE GO AGAIN! It’s Alexa here to tell ya about the second half of our day! Luckily it started to storm as we got back to home base so it was almost impossible to distinguish our sad tears with the raindrops! To lighten the mood, our mentors had some great activities planned to SPICE up the afternoon! After lunch we had a dance lesson! We were all DANCING QUEENS! Those who can dance showed off their spicy moves while the ones like me tripped over their feet until it was over. But despite each of our skill levels, it was easily a lot of fun for everyone.
Right after, we had a cooking lesson with our very own Alfredo and a special guest Glenda. With Alfredo, we made empanadas! My amigos filled their empanadas with pork… cheese… mushrooms… and beans! Then Alfredo threw them in the fryer and we ate happily. After, we made VEGAN ¨hamburgers¨ with Glenda. Some of my amigos were skeptical to try them, but the experience was fun for all. After that, we had a short amount of free time before the mentors had something ELSE planned! It´s safe to say that they were trying hard to distract us from the fact that we aren´t going to be seeing our kiddies tomorrow .
In my opinion, they did a great job when they told us all to bring chairs on the lawn to watch a movie! The options were Wall-E and Mama Mia and we easily chose Wall-E. Just kidding. There’s 13 girls and three guys. If someone voted for Wall-E… nobody heard it. And haven’t you picked up on all the Mama Mia references above? On top of MAMA MIA, the mentors also surprised us with ice cream! It was the best girls night (plus Carlos and JC). Tomorrow´s our last day of service and I´m not sure if it has sunk in yet for anyone.
All 16 of us are going to Sofia and Rosie’s school to work in the garden while the kids spend the day with their moms for Mother´s day. Hopefully some of the local students will stop by for a final goodbye. That’s all we got for ya today… it´s been GREAT! Tomorrow’s leaders are me and Carly and it’s going to be an amazing last day! Families, we can’t wait to see you all and tell you about our adventures. These blogs DEFINITELY don’t catch all of the amazing details.
Alexa & Abby