Saturday August 3, 2019
Hello to all friends and family!
We had a full first day with the 14 Day Initiative for Children Costa Rica program! As students trickled in from all around the world, we took our first six students over to the mall to walk around and grab some lunch! Once everyone made it safely, we embarked on our four hour journey to the home base in San Carlos. As we got close to the home base the sun set over the volcano and mountains and it was a warm colorful welcome for the exciting days to come!
We arrived at the home base right as it was getting dark but just in time for a group photo! Everyone checked into their lakeside cabins, as dinner was being prepared. A delicious local meal of pork, salad, potatoes and rice and beans was served and all the students were sleeping before 9pm! A busy first day in the books but everyone is excited for the days to come! Stay tuned!
-Lyndsey, Sofia, and Susan
Sunday August 4, 2019
Hi everyone! Today was a fantastic first full day here in San Carlos. We started out the morning with a traditional breakfast of gallo pinto, scrambled eggs, and fresh pan fried cheese from the dairy farm down the road. We spent the morning in orientation with some fun name games mixed in! Our group really got off to a great start, and we have bonded already. After a lunch of fried chicken, vegetables, rice, beans, and fried yuca, we headed to the lake to take the swim test.
Shortly after, we walked down the road to watch a local soccer game! We were also able to meet some neighborhood kids whose school we will be volunteering at throughout the next two weeks. When we returned to home base, we were treated to a few cool animal sightings! We were lucky enough to see howler monkeys and owls right outside of our cabins. We enjoyed a spaghetti dinner and are spending some time relaxing after a long day. We can’t wait for what the rest of the trip will bring and are excited for our first day of service tomorrow! Stay tuned for more!
Sofia, Lyndsey, and Susan
Monday August 5, 2019
Today was an amazing first day of service. Everyone had lots of fun at the schools, working with the kids and creating new connections. While it might’ve been a bit of an early start, we were all excited to not only teach, but to learn as well. We split into two different groups, one going into a smaller school and one to a larger school farther away. One group was painting desks and gardening, and the other group was teaching English while also practicing some Spanish skills here and there.
After some new bonds were being formed between us and the students, we went over to the soccer field and played a game before heading back to home base for lunch. The rest of the day was more relaxed, and we had lots of fun swimming in the lake, and jamming out to music.
Before dinner, we had an eye opening experience with an interesting activity called banana split, focusing on how the wages of one banana are split throughout each level from the farm to the shelf. Overall, a great start to the program, and I’m excited to spend more time with my new friends in the program and at the school.
Tuesday August 6, 2019
Hello parents once again from Costa Rica! Today (day 4) we split into our service groups and helped the same schools we did yesterday. My group went to Santa Teresa where we kept the kids busy by playing fun games as well as teaching them English. Our service group painted the ceiling (most of us were pretty short)!
After visiting the schools we went to the dairy farm! We were taught how natural cheese was made. We also saw many cows and pigs… very cute! Later in the day, we had the opportunity to see some more of the town and visit a small shop. As each day goes by, we get to know a little bit more about each other and Costa Rica!
Wednesday August 7, 2019
Hello family and guardians,
Today was amazing! During service we painted a wall, sanded a railing, and helped weed a garden, along with helping the students during English class at the school. This school has its own vegetable garden that students can bring home to their families, which makes weeding the garden an important and helpful task. After lunch we got to see an organic pineapple farm. Our tour guide Michael was hilarious and very educational. We learned that this farm produces roughly 50,000 pineapples a week!
At the farm, we got to try a lot of pineapple straight from the field and learned what features make a pineapple the best pineapple to pick in a grocery store. When we got back, we got to do an activity called “Story of Self”. All the students take part in sharing their life story. Everyone has a unique path that brought them to GLA which makes this activity especially interesting. These five days being in Costa Rica have been so fun and we all will never forget these memories!
-by Ashley V.
Thursday August 8, 2019
Hey parents! It’s day six, and we are still going strong. Today at Santa Teresa, we used our time washing the internal walls of the school in preparation for painting them on Monday. We also played a thrilling game of soccer with some of the kids! Lunch was made by our Peruvian dance instructor Manolo. It was a traditional dish from Peru called “arroz chaufa.” The dish was a rice with onions, cabbage, eggs, and different meats.
After lunch, we were treated to a lesson in Latin dance. While this was out of most of our comfort zones, we all ended up enjoying it. We learned Bachata, Swing Criollo, and Salsa. We each danced all of them, and some of us had more success than others, but it was a very encouraging and welcoming environment. In the evening, we finished up the last “Stories of Self,” and we all got to know each other on a deeper level. For dinner, we enjoyed more Peruvian food, and we are excited for the rest of the trip!
Friday August 9, 2019
Here is the daily update about our Costa Rican lives! Today we all visited the larger school, Chacón, and did manual labor like painting and washing buildings to make them bright and beautiful! Because the kids do not have English class on Thursdays and Fridays we sadly did not get to teach them today, but as always it was fun to exchange hellos and such with them.
In the afternoon we had a “coffee chat” with the owner of our residence Alfredo, where he told us about the history of Costa Rican coffee, the Costa Rican coffee industry and his personal family’s story in the coffee business. We also got to taste test his family’s coffee versus another common Costa Rican one and compare the differences.
Next we had lake time and got to do the thrilling jump off the upper dock for the first time in the trip! Alfredo even jumped in in his clothes after seeing all the fun we were having. Later we had mentor group check ins, and a delicious dinner of shrimp alfredo (yes we see the irony). Altogether a great and exhausting day.
Chao for now,
Saturday August 10, 2019
Hello friends and family!
Today the group had an exciting and eventful day water rafting in the river! We were excited to get an extra hour of sleep this morning and wake up to a relaxing day off from hard work doing service at the schools. We took a bus ride to the river and split up into groups, seeing all sorts of birds, trees, reptiles, and other animals. We even saw a crocodile, shown in the images listed. After having authentic snacks and coffee along the San Carlos River and seeing species of wild turkey, we made a quick stop to the supermarket for some late night snacks and headed back to home base to chill at the lake and play some games. We especially enjoyed running around on the field in the rain. Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow!
Sunday August 11, 2019
Greetings from Costa Rica,
Today, we started the day off with a beautiful breakfast by our BFF, Alfredo (home-base owner!). Then we started our one hour drive to go zip lining through the jungle surrounded by clouds and birds. It was me and Gavin’s first time EVER! Afterwards we headed to a stable to have a picnic lunch and go horseback riding up the side of the Arenal volcano, we saw a sloth and all trekked through a waterfall.
As the day came to an end, we stopped in the town of Arenal and bought mucho souvenirs and some Costa Rican ice cream. The day ended with another great meal that included taquitos, a cabbage salad and the typical rice and beans! We cannot believe it’s Sunday- we have mixed emotions about it being our last and final week here in Costa Rica.
Gavin and Cora
Monday August 12, 2019
Today was a blast. After a delicious, hearty breakfast of fluffy pancakes and fresh, local fruit, we packed up our backpacks for service. Our trip to the school was interrupted by a special surprise: a drowsy sloth napping in a tree! My service group had a great time at the bigger school (Chacon), where we spent some time weeding the community garden and were also rewarded by getting to participate in their gym class; wow, those kids can run! After lunch at home base, we loaded up the bus for a little road trip to the hot springs.
We spent the afternoon relaxing in clear, steamy pools surrounded by luscious forests. We stopped to buy “mamones” (Lychee) from some locals on the side of the road and proceeded to belt our hearts out on the drive back to camp. For dinner, we were spoiled once again with yummy burritos, salad, and the famous rice and beans. Our post dinner activity involved a beautiful bonfire and a discussion about travel with our lovely mentors. After another fun-filled day, I think we are all ready to fall into bed!
Can’t wait to see you all soon,
Tuesday August 13, 2019
Today we woke up, had another great breakfast and went to our second to last day of service. My group went to the Chacón school for our last time, and the other group went to Santa Teresa for their last time, and tomorrow we’ll switch. At Chacón today, we painted bricks of a garden area, weeded the garden, and then participated in the P.E. class, which was very fun. The other group at Santa Teresa finished painting up the interior walls of the classroom, they also enjoyed playing soccer and more games with the kids.
We all came back and had lunch and then packed up and got ready for our excursion. Today we went to an animal sanctuary, which was very fun and very different than ours. It was so great to see all the different types of animals; my personal favorite was for sure the monkeys! When we were done exploring, we headed over to a local coffee shop, oh, and don’t forget we stopped by Walmart! Ending the day, we jammed out to music on the bus ride back to home base! We miss our parents tons! Adiós!
– by Ashley S.
Wednesday August 14, 2019
Hi friends and family!
Today was a cloudy and rainy day in Costa Rica. Luckily, the weather the rest of our time here has been enjoyable. Service was restricted due to the weather; however, we still managed to paint inside a classroom and carry heavy books to help out at the bigger school. In the afternoon, we settled down to enjoy the rainy day by watching a movie and eating homemade cookies.
Afterwards, we participated in a cooking class. We made handmade empanadas and vegan burgers. Finally, we all sat together and talked about how our time here has impacted us and how we can continue making a change in our own communities. We can’t believe it’s already Wednesday! We are all so excited to come home and talk about our adventures!
We can’t believe it’s the last day! Today we invited the children from Santa Teresa where we do service at for a field day. We also invited the students’ mothers, since today is Mother’s Day in Costa Rica. We made cards, bracelets, played soccer and played a few rounds of musical chairs. After that, we packed up to return home and then did some goodbye activities. We’ve had a great two weeks with lots of friendships made and service done. We’re excited to see you soon!