Monday July 2, 2018
We are happy to write you from our lovely home base in Santa Teresa as we eat our first breakfast of rice and beans and pineapple. 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 and several flights were even early! Several students got to experience lunch in a Costa Rican mall while waiting for the rest of their 30 new best friends to arrive.
We admired the Costa Rican countryside (or slept) on our three-hour bus ride to our secluded home-away-from-home. Last night we got some rest after a long day of traveling and today we are ready to go with orientation before getting into service and cultural activities starting tomorrow. Be on the lookout for more updates on our adventures coming soon!
Wednesday July 4, 2018
On day three of our adventure, Gabriella’s group headed off to their school Escuela Santa Teresa Sur for a morning of service. During this am we started by turning up the soil in the garden to make sure the kids had a proper place to grow their food and herbs for lunches. Next, we continued the mural that the previous group had started and also got to leave our handprint as a flower petal on the wall. Once lunch time came around, we had a lot of free time to swim, read, kayak and make memories with our new friends. Furthermore, our mentors put together a leadership exercise which consisted of a debate in different groups. In my opinion, it was extremely interesting to hear everyone’s point of view on the subject we were working on. To sum up, the day was very educational and eye opening and we are all looking forward to the next 10 days!
Today students learned the reality of how these children learn and the environment they live in. Students worked together to create a better campus for the children. They pulled weeds, broke the group up, and power washed fences. Innovative ideas were spread all throughout the students’ thoughts on how to improve the school for the children. They ended the day with laughter and fun.
Our first day of service in my group was spontaneous- we did a few different projects. Similar to winter break at my school, the schools here have a two week break for a national holiday which began this Monday. Therefore, the school my group was assigned to help is locked during the break. We began our service picking up trash across the street from a town ( they do not pay for the trash truck to come for their trash, so they just toss it in a pile across the street). The local director at home base kindly paid for the bags of trash we collected to be properly taken away. After that we were driving around in hopes to find either something we could help clean or a group of kids that we could play soccer with. We eventually found a group of five boys playing on a field and joined them in a pickup game. Then our group joined another service group at their assigned school to help pull weeds and power wash a fence for the small, local school.
Thursday July 5, 2018
Today we went into our service group schools and were preparing the garden for the new mulch, pulling weeds and yuca and breaking up the ground. We also power washed the fence to prepare for painting it and continued pairing the mural of a tree with the children and volunteers’ handprints.
Afterwards we played soccer and kickball with the kids from the village and we learned about the history of Alfred-s coffee business and tried to types of coffee. Later, we played group games and relaxed by the lake. Overall we all felt today was very rewarding, had fun, and can’t wait for future service and the excursions to come. (We also went to a supermarket and most people got snacks they had never tried before).
– Eliza, Kennedy, and Brooke
Monday July 9, 2018
Today was our first day of camp for the families and kids from the area. We were split up into groups and each group has a designated day to lead and organize the camp. Today, Sophia’s service group put together three hours of activities such as a scavenger hunt, soccer, and face paint.
Alfredo, and the local staff, even put together a lunch for all 40 of the kids that attended the camp. In the afternoon, we went to the iguana ice cream parlor and a nearby supermarket to stock stock up on snacks and necessities. It was a great day filled with lots of smiles, Pura Vida!
Tuesday July 10, 2018
This is Anika, Katelyn, and Kennedy. After breakfast consisting of yummy pancakes, we were off on another adventure! To start the day off, we went on a hike in a national park near the ciudad Quesada. Despite the rainy weather, each of us enjoyed and made the best out of the hike to a beautiful lookout spot. Here are pictures from the hike below! Once we finished, we went to the city for lunch at a local café and ate a typical Costa Rican lunch. Later we were given the optional to go into a store and get ice cream! We enjoyed our ice cream in the central plaza nearby and returned to our home base. There, we had free time and some people swam in the lake.
After free time, we went into our mentor groups and shared an object meaningful relating to ourselves. In this activity we were able to learn more about our peers and connect to each other in a deeper sense. Alfredo made us a delicious dinner, and after we had a bonfire where we roasted marshmallows and bonded with one another. Saving the best for last, we also became really good friends with a puppy one of our mentors rescued. We decided to name him Piño since he was found next to the Piña fields. He is now a part of the GLA family! Tomorrow we are going to the Hot Springs and be ready to see a lot of smiling faces.
Wednesday July 11, 2018
Today we hosted our second day of camp for the kids and families in the community. Although it rained most of the time, we still had a soccer game, water games, an obstacle course, and plenty of crafts to keep everyone busy. We had another great turnout with over 30 plus kids. In the afternoon, we relaxed at the hot springs, where we swam and went on the slides. After the busy day, we returned to home base where we relaxed for a little bit before eating a traditional Costa Rican soup. We can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!
Jacy, Jordana, Alyssa
Thursday July 12, 2018
We started the day off with pancakes, rice and beans, eggs, and fresh pineapple and watermelon. Everything was delicious and scrumptious. We were very excited, yet anxious for the last day of the children’s camp. We had planned some soccer games, relay races, and painting. The kids had an amazing time and so did we. To finish off the first part of the day, we ate hot dogs with french fries and fruit cups.
In the afternoon, we had a dance class and a cooking class. An excellent latin dancer taught us ¨bachata¨ and ¨salsa¨, which we practiced in pairs and danced vividly to the music. In the cooking class, we made tasty empanadas and vigorones (a vegan twist on a classic Costa Rican dish). After a tiring day, we had a bit of free time in which we learned ASL from Sophie and Katelyn and at night we indulged in some delicious ice cream and peaches. Now, Sam and I sit here at the table with Gabriella poking me in the back talking about our great day. There’s only two more days left, see you soon Mom and Dad.
-Andrea and Sam
Hi, this is the GLA Initiative for Children Blog! I hope you all are excited to hear about the penultimate (it means 2nd to last) full day in this program! Today was a great day for the chickens because we visited them. Anyway, back to the beginning. Today it started out raining (and it rain pretty much the whole day. We had our last day of servicio (service). Students pulled there last pieces of weeds out of the fields. They also finished painting the mural at the children’s school. Cows were seen (both meat and milk). Some students decided to try to milk the cows to experience a different type of life style. Chicos and chicas also bonded for the last time over card games and a privilege walk. We ended the day with dinner and laughter.
-written by Allison, Winda Winda, Hansen <3, and the coolest cat around: BIANCA!!!