Time Capsule Letter
By the time you get this, it will have been several months since our fantastic two weeks in Costa Rica! We hope you’re doing well with your OMGs (One Meaningful Goal) and will use this letter as a reminder to check in with all of the 26 friends you made on the trip!
When we think about your group, we first remember how impressively hard you all worked during our community service days; painting the whole building at Santa Teresa, finishing dozens of desks and benches are Chacón, and pulling out a record-setting number of weeds. The cows were especially appreciative for the extra food! Not to mention our last day of service at home base with all of the kids from Santa Teresa, with fútbol, face paint, and fried yuca!
Ziplining and horseback riding were great opportunities to face some fears, and any day that included ice cream had to be good, right? Your stories of self were all inspiring, and we are so proud of you all for sharing in front of such a big group!
Who remembers trying their Spanish with Juan Carlos or doing the “Cotton Eyed Joe” with the local kids out by the lake? We will never forget the peeing monkeys from the boat tour, or the massive amount of snacks you were all able to consume in such a short period of time! We’re still thinking about Alfredo’s pancakes and arroz con pollo.
We hope you enjoyed watching us try to dance with our teacher Manolo, struggling to make perfectly circular empanadas, and scrubbing paint out of our hair. We loved playing cards, jumping into the lake, and after dinner chats with you all!
We hope to hear from you about the amazing things you’re going to do in the future (is anyone still learning Spanish?). In the meantime, keep believing in your ability to make a difference and being the change at home!
Sofia, Nicole, Susan, and Richyth
Friday July 19, 2019
Yesterday we had a successful day at the airport, where students came from both the U.S. and U.K. to meet and begin our program. We drove from the airport to our home base in San Carlos and had a delicious first dinner together. Everyone was ready for bed after a long day of travel, and the rain and chorus of frogs helped us all drift off to sleep.
Today was our first full day together. We got to know each other with a few different ice breakers, learned about our service project and mentor groups, enjoyed time at the lake both swimming and kayaking, created our community agreements and celebrated a birthday. We are looking forward to what the next day will bring!
Sofia, Nicole, Richyth and Susan
Saturday July 20, 2019
Today was an awesome day for all of us in Costa Rica! We had delicious pancakes for breakfast with hash browns and lots of watermelon. Soon after, we left to go on a raft tour down the San Carlos River. On our excursion we saw howler monkeys, a crocodile, lots of birds, and a sloth! After finishing our river tour, our rafting guide Jorge taught us how to make hot chocolate using cocoa powder, sugar, and powdered milk.
We then finished this activity with some tasty tortillas and plantains! On our way back to home base we stopped off at a local supermarket to stock up on some Costa Rican snacks. We then had lunch and enjoyed a relaxing and cooling dip in the lake. We then played some introductory games and proceeded to create illustrations to represent our personal “Story of Self.” To finish our day we enjoyed hamburgers and fries for our dinner!
More fun to come!
Mia, Rachel and Chloe
Sunday July 21, 2019
Daily Dose of Dee and Dani
Hola amigos! Today was day four of our journey in Costa Rica. We started off the day with yoga at 7:00am and followed with a delicious Costa Rican breakfast. We then had a group simulation of how bananas are sold and had to figure out the best way to split the profit. We learned what actually happens when the money is split and talked about how the workers are often treated. We then had a scrumptious lunch consisting of chicken straight from the grill. We then boarded the fun bus and made our way to the Finca de Piña, or Pineapple Farm (Spanish word of the day!)
We saw the way pineapples were picked and sliced. We then boarded a tractor and took a tour of the farm. On the tour, we each got many tastes of the juicy pineapples that were freshly picked. When we arrived back at the farm, we were treated to pineapple empanadas, pineapple marmalade, and piña coladas (alcohol free of course ;)). When we got back to home base we played an EPIC game of kickball! Group two won by seven points. We learned more about our mentors as they shared their “Stories of Self” with us. We then headed straight to dinner and were treated with some sick pasta! Thanks for tuning in! Pura Vida!
Dee and Dani
Monday July 22, 2019
Hello! We started our morning doing yoga at 6:15am, and then we went to breakfast and had pancakes with eggs and hash browns. After our delicious meal, we got ready for service at our two schools: Santa Teresa and Chacón. At Santa Teresa, we played soccer, kickball, duck duck goose, made bracelets, played hide and seek and taught some of the students words in English.
At Chacón, we pulled weeds from the garden, painted desks and benches, and visited the Science Fair that the students were having. Later in the afternoon, we hopped on a bus and visited the hot springs. We enjoyed swimming in pools of various temperatures but most of all the water slide that went 20 MILES PER HOUR!!! We stayed there for a few hours and then came back to home base where we told stories of our lives and ourselves and enjoyed a dinner of rice, chicken and beans. Now we are off to bed 🙂
Charlie and Sophie
Tuesday July 23, 2019
Hola! Today was another amazing day in beautiful Costa Rica! We started the day with breakfast and divided into our service groups. Two of our service groups went to Chacón (which is the bigger school), and the other went to Santa Teresa, which is just down the street. At Santa Teresa, we helped renovate the school by cleaning the walls and painting the ceiling. Even though there was no school in session, on breaks we were able to play soccer and kickball with the kids.
At Chacón, we began weeding their vegetable garden until we were able to interact with the children. We played a variety of games with them that they introduced to us and we introduced to them. Overall, the kids were eager to learn English, and we were happy to teach it to them.
After working at the schools, we came back to home base and had lunch. Then we continued to have lake time where some of us went kayaking while others hung out by the dock. Later in the evening, we met with our mentor groups, where we were able to get to know our mentors and talk about the different aspects of leadership. One of the highlights of the day was attending a cooking class, where we learned how to make veggie burgers. Alfredo also taught us how to make the perfect empanada. Both were absolutely delicious, and we will be bringing the recipe home to all of our families!
After the cooking class, we had “Story of Self” where friends on the trip were able to share their history, about themselves, and their purpose for attending the program. To top off the day, we celebrated Alfredo’s son’s birthday with cake and ice cream!! We are sadly quickly approaching the halfway point of our stay here in Costa Rica, but we are excited to see what’s left to come! We miss you all dearly!
Sarah, Nicole, and Hannah 🙂 <3
Wednesday July 24, 2019
Good evening parents! Today as the students of GLA, we went to service with both groups completing our volunteer work through either painting benches and weeding the herbs/veggie garden at the large middle school, or washing and painting the outside of the small elementary school. At the middle school, we experienced a celebration of the independence of Guanacaste, performing local dances and explaining the different regional foods- a wonderful opportunity for cultural immersion! Some of our fellow GLA students at the elementary school also relished the opportunity to practice their Spanish with the local staff whilst repainting the outside of the school, to which the staff were greatly impressed with their linguistic skills.
After a hot and humid day at service, we were treated to ice creams before eagerly jumping into the lake to cool off. To our delight, we put our lovely home base owner, Alfredo’s, esteemed coffee to the test, comparing it to a popular favourite in Costa Rica from which it was unanimously concluded that Alfredo’s was by far the most delicious! We then spent time continuing our ‘Story of Self’ in which students boldly talked about their lives in front of their peers, evoking a stronger sense of friendship between us as we get to know our newfound friends more. We cannot wait for what tomorrow brings us here in paradise! 🙂 Thank you for reading!
Peace and ciao,
Soph the Goat and Molly B 🙂
Thursday July 25, 2019
¡Hola from San Carlos!
Today was the start of our second week in Costa Rica! Yoga was an option this morning for some early risers; however, we chose to catch up on our beauty rest. We started our eventful day with a delicious breakfast of pancakes and strawberries. One service group went to the Santa Teresa school to continue cleaning and painting the exterior walls of the school building.
While, the other two service groups spent their time weeding the garden as well as painting several desks at the Chacón school. After spending time at both schools, everyone was treated to a Peruvian lunch. Manolo, our dance instructor, made a traditional dish consisting of rice, chicken, sausage, egg and scallions for us all to enjoy.
Shortly after, we trekked across the field, avoiding the many ant hills, to the yellow house for a dance lesson. We learned salsa, bachata and a traditional Costa Rican swing dance. It was super fun to experience Costa Rican culture through movement. Later on, our mentors showed us a parody video on “voluntourism” and we broke into smaller groups to discuss true service learning.
Afterwards, individuals were given the opportunity to share their “Story of Self.” We ended the day with yummy taquitos, some of us not noticing the toothpick. Looking forward to another fun-filled day of even funner activities.
xoxo, Betsy and Maddie (aka the best leaders of the day)
P.S. Hi mom! Oh, and dad.
Friday July 26, 2019
Hi everyone. Today we had another eventful day of service and a visit to a local zoo. In service, we were split up into groups. One group went to the smaller school and continued to paint and fix classrooms while the other group painted benches and weeded in the garden. After service, we had a delicious lunch of fried chicken and more rice and beans. Yum!
After lunch, we had an hour to rest before we headed to the zoo. During our visit to the zoo, we saw many different animals unique to Costa Rica. Something interesting about the zoo is that it is an animal rescue center, so instead of locking up animals, they take care of them until they are ready to return to the wild. Lucky for us, it was very rainy 🙂 I think we would all agree that the best part of our trip today was buying ice cream and snacks at the end of our visit.
We drove through a nice scenic route on the way back after it stopped raining, where we saw many mountains, schools, local communities, and other Costa Rican animals. Finally, we concluded our exciting day by sharing our “Stories of Self” and a pasta dinner. Lucky for the parents, you get to see all of your favorite children in just four short days! We can’t wait to share the rest of our journey soon. Peace out.
Julia, Genevieve, and Maddie L.
Saturday July 27, 2019
Good morning to all reading this! This morning we started our day off with delicious fluffy pancakes, pineapple, and gallo pinto. Then, half of our group went on a hike around Alfredo’s property. The hike was hot but had amazing views of lakes and country side and cattle. While half of the group was on the hike, the other half went to Santa Teresa (the small school down the road) to finish up painting one of the classrooms.
We then had chicken, rice, beans, and veggies for lunch. We went on a snack run to Walmart and saw a beautiful small mountain town. Then, students went to McDonald’s and a local bakery where they got fresh smoothies and pie. On our trip to town we saw Arenal Volcano and a lot of other beautiful scenery because it was less cloudy today! We had a great day and can’t wait for the following days!
Josie and Anika
Sunday July 28, 2019
¡Hola GLAmilia! Today was an eventful Day 11 for the Children’s Initiative here in Costa Rica. The group split up for a day of adventure in horseback riding and zip-lining. Near La Fortuna we conquered fears and trekked and explored around the local volcano, Arenal. Horseback riding was led by our experienced in house rider, Dee, where we made our way through the jungle, across streams, through the rain, by waterfalls, and to the top of a mountain for a breathtaking view of Costa Rica.
At zip-lining the group suited up and got a quick practice round before venturing into the canopies of Costa Rica. We rode on 12 lines, each one more thrilling than the last. At one of the lines, we even zipped at around 1000 feet. Adding to the wonders of our trip, both groups spotted sloths (they look more like coconuts) among the trees. We made our way back to home base for a quick souvenir and ice cream stop in La Fortuna.
By chance, the city was celebrating their 50th anniversary and we danced to the parades in the streets. Afterwards we got back to home base and finished up our stories of selves and settled in for another night after a long day of fun. ¡Buenas noches!
-by Dana, Emma and Arden
Monday July 29, 2019
Hello GLA Family,
We had an amazing day today here in Costa Rica! We started off our day with some delicious pancakes and fresh fruit. We then headed over to service. One group got to help around the garden and in the classrooms at Chacón. Another group painted the finishing touches at Santa Teresa so that when the children return to school on Wednesday, their building will be totally repainted!
Afterward, we had some lunch and went to a local dairy farm. We got to milk a cow and see how milk and cheese is made. We even got to try some! We came back to home base and took a refreshing dip in the lake.
After, during mentor groups we reflected on our personal goals for post-GLA, and then we created a group goal for when we return home.
In the evening we enjoyed a scrumptious dinner, and celebrated a birthday with some cake! We were even more surprised with a bonfire to conclude another wonderful day!
Kayla, Lily & Kristina
This morning we had our last yoga session at 7am. Then, we had breakfast at 8am. After breakfast, we all came together and planned for our summer camp with the kids from Santa Teresa. The kids came to home base around 9am, and then we began playing games with all of them. Many of the girls decided to color, make bracelets, and draw while most of the boys decided to play soccer and run around in the field. We also went down to the deck and played musical games with the kids.
They LOVED playing musical chairs and freeze dance, and we loved watching them sing and dance. After our music games, we came back to the main house and continued drawing and hanging out with the kids. We also had face paint, and the kids loved drawing all over our arms and legs in all the different colors. The kids left around 12:45pm, and we had lunch at 1pm. At 2pm, we talked about the big airport trip tomorrow and we all packed and got organized. We also had lake time for the last time. Most of us decided to dress up for our last night here so after lake time we all got ready and went down to the deck to take pictures with all of our new friends that we are sad to say goodbye to.
We then did some goodbye activities which included an appreciation circle where our peers would tap our back when one of the mentors said a statement that described someone else. After that, we all got a piece of paper taped to our back and all of our peers wrote on the paper a nice message or word so we can remember everyone. We had our last dinner at 7:30pm where we all sat together and said thank you to Alfredo for having us at his home. We have had a great session here and have all made friends that we will have for a long time.
– by Hunter and Lauren