Friday July 6, 2018
Megan here. One of the GLA mentors. All of our students arrived safe and sound yesterday, even after several delays. We’ve settled into the home base and shared our couple of typical Costa Rican meal together — with plenty of rice and beans! Last night, were welcomed by our home base staff and dogs, and a fierce Costa Rican thunderstorm.
We are beginning to get to know each other and I am looking forward to learning more as we continue our orientation over the next few days. We have a lot to look forward to over the next three weeks — from spreading environmental awareness to playing soccer with local kids to soaking up the sun on several beautiful beaches. Stay tuned to hear more about our adventures!
As we say in Costa Rica, Pura Vida or pure life!
Saturday July 7, 2018
Hi! My name is Vivian, and today was our first full day in Costa Rica. We started the day off with a delicious breakfast of eggs, tortillas, and gallo pinto. Everyone was learning each others names and getting to know each other, which was pretty awesome. Then the staff did some orientation things and we played an ice breaker game with M&M’s where we learned some fun facts about each others’ lives. Later on in the day there was a swim test in the in-lodge pool, and the weather was perfect at that time: sunny but not too humid.
After another delicious meal of pasta, we did a role play activity to better understand the factors that come with hosting a World Cup. It really taught us how to work together as different individuals to come to an agreement. Then, we got to the beach early so we were able to experience the HUGE waves and scenery. It was so unbelievably beautiful and of course we had to take a bunch of pictures for memories. Overall, it was a chill but fun and intimate day, and I can’t wait to experience more with this amazing group of people.
Sunday July 8, 2018
What is the scariest thing you have ever woken up to? A bad dream? Shouting parents? Or an annoying alarm clock? These really do not compare to what the naive 12 of us experienced at exactly 4:45 am this morning. There was a screeching that was very similar to dinosaurs from the Jurassic World movies.
Finally after a couple hours of laughing, we figured out that they were howler monkeys! Alyssa and I raced to all of the cabins to wake the heaviest sleepers I have ever met. (I thought I was a heavy sleeper). This was probably my favorite experience on this trip yet.
Breakfast was at 7. We had fresh Piña, Mango, and Banana. We also had Cereal, Coffee, and Toast. Then we headed to the beach for a game of human knot while overlooking the crystal clear water, and white sandy beaches. Almost everyone swam in the warm tropical Pacific Ocean. After that we had Pork chops, potatoes & carrots, and chicken. I cannot explain how amazing the food is. Doña Maria and her mother cook all of the food from scratch! Then was some pool time where we played lots of fun games, and really got to know each other more.
Our first day of service is tomorrow, so our service coordinators, Marcia and Matteo came over to teach us about the activities we are going to work on. They shared lots of personal stories, and a lot of ecological information.
Dinner was shortly after the service introduction, and it was one of my personal favorites: plantains, pico de gallo, frijoles refritos, and some cheese. After dinner we all planned to meet back at the living room at 7:15. We started by playing cards, then Hailey decided to get her hair cut, so many of us helped out to give her the coolest haircut ever. We then proceeded to have karaoke party which progressed into a lip sync battle. We went back to our cabins very tired due to the fact that we had very minimal sleep from being woken up by the monkeys before 5 am.
Monday July 9, 2018
Like always, I (Sarah W) wake up the boys at 6:20 so they can get ready, but today, there was a surprise. Tyler decided to yank down his curtains in his sleep! So today we started our day at 7 by eating gallo pinto, huevos, y pan. Soon after, we boarded our bus and headed to a plant nursery to start our first day of work.
Before work Matteo gave us a short (ish) presentation using a map and he told us about the rivers and about the watersheds in Costa Rica. During work, we were trying to replant seeds in order to give them to the local farmers. Marcia split up the work by teaching us how to do all the jobs and allowing us to choose one we liked. After work, we stayed on the nursery’s property and ate lunch, a delicious mix of rice, meat, vegetables, plantains and refried beans. After lunch and work, we took our bus (thanks Cesar) back to home base for a lesson on recycling paper. During our activity, Tyler and Kilee broke the blender and we had to do everything by hand, thanks guys :)).
When the lesson on paper finished, we were introduced to Adrianna, a woman who was going to teach us to dance. We made dance circles and danced for what felt like a fun filled forever. After the dance lesson, we got back on the bus (thanks Cesar part 2) and met up with an extended farming family and all of their animals to drink cafécitos or jugo and eat a hispanic cornbread. We carried baby chickens, pet dogs, saw a horse, met little kids and met a really nice Costa Rican family. For dinner, we had tamales and rice. All in all, it was a pretty good day!
-by Sarah Wheatley
Tuesday July 10, 2018
Hello everyone! This morning we started off with a delicious breakfast of pancakes accompanied by mango and bananas. We then headed off to service at El Vivero or The Nursery. Along with 6 high schoolers from the local community we learned about the different types of seeds and trees in Guanacaste. One characteristic of the seeds is that they are very hard and take over 100 years to germinate. So what we did was cut the seeds open and sand them down to allow for the process of germination to occur much quicker.
After the morning of service we headed to Playa Junquillal for a lunch of burgers and fries. We then swam in the ocean and relaxed to the sound of the crashing waves. We then returned to the home base to wash all the salt and sweat off our bodies while Tyler decided to take a swim in the pool. After a quick bus ride to the town of Río Seco we played animal bingo with children of the area. A few of us went into the pueblo and talked with the people of the community and met a few dogs.
Then the moment we have all been waiting for finally came. We went to a corner store to buy snacks and drinks. We were all amazed at the quantity of items we could buy for a small amount of money. Then all stocked up on food we drive back to the home base for an amazing dinner of chicken, fries, rice, and beans. After dinner we did a short activity where we learned about our mentors. We then all gathered in one cabin to have a mini fiesta with all the food we purchased.
Wednesday July 11, 2018
We woke up this morning to delicious empanadas with cheese and beans. Then we headed out to our third day of service at the nursery. We continued with similar work that we had been doing the past two days. We sanded down seeds, filled many bags with dirt, and planted trees. We also had the special treat of seeing a large group of cows walking along the road. After service we had a delicious meal of tacos brought to us by the amazing Dalía.
After lunch we headed back to the home bases for a quick swim and then a mandatory siesta. Many of us wanted to continue swimming however the siesta was very well needed and many of us took naps. After our relaxation we headed into town to play soccer with the kids of the community. Compared to the Costa Rican kids our soccer skills were pretty awful. After the soccer game we hung out with the kids for a while. Then we stopped at the store to buy some well deserved ice creams.
We came back to the home base to swim for an hour before having steak and rice for dinner. For our mentor groups we did an activity where we expressed in writing where we are from. We each had to write a poem that we will share later in trip.
Thursday July 12, 2018
What’s up everyone I’m Maddy, I will be telling you about our 5th day in Costa Rica. First off we all woke up and went down to eat some breakfast Miss Dona made us some toast, cereal, and some delicious fruit, for example we had fresh coconuts from the home base. Then after breakfast we went to are last day of service at the Reforestation Nursery, before we planted some seeds Tom asked us if we could help him push his truck and get it to start. After the hard pushes we gave to Tom trucks, it decided not to start so we stopped and then he taught us about erosion which was cool.
After the teaching of erosion with Tom, Marcía wanted us to help her plant some seeds and put some dirt in the bags. After the hard working team finishes the job, sweet ol Dailia brings us a nice healthy lunch with veggies, rice, and some coke as a refresher. The group decides to come back to the base after a hot, hard working day. Some decide to take a fat nap while other decide to go swimming or awhile. At 3 we went to the beach to hangout for a bit, now we’re off to see the turtles.
We had a little adventure while we were finding fake eggs, it started to rain and we were in sand and we got all muddy and It was amazing for me not for others. We had dinner which was bread and this Lentio soup, and avocado which was so good. Now for the end of the night, we had a little chat and now we’re off to bed, I hope you liked this blog and I hope you have a great day!!!
Friday July 13, 2018
Hi my name is Liesel Hernandez and today has been filled with new adventures. We started the day off with the boys rushing out their cabin to breakfast so they wouldn’t be late because they over slept. Breakfast icluded gallopinto, eggs, toast, and coffee. Afterward, it was time to go horseback riding which let me tell you was AMAZING. Personally, I was terrified of getting on my horse but I overcame my fear. After, that we went to go drink some smoothies which were really good and hang out for a while. Later that day we went to a new beach called Playa Avenada and it was beautiful. We all ate together at the restaurant where the beach was and everyone basically got french fries. The day ended with pulse check which the mentors check up on us to see how we’re doing.
Saturday July 14, 2018
My name is Kanaili and I’m writing the blog for July 14, 2018. A little bit about me is that I’m 16 and I live in Santa Rosa, California. Today was a very eventful day! We started our morning by walking around Santa Cruz, a pretty large town here in Guanacaste. We had a fun time walking around, looking at the shops and for me, buying overpriced bug spray because the bugs here are no joke. After walking around Santa Cruz for about an hour, we drove to a little farmer’s market that was…interesting. We were told a lot of awesome information about this market though. For many, many years before the 1990’s, farmers from the San José area and more central areas of Costa Rica would all come to Santa Cruz to sell and trade their produce. It is very difficult and expensive to produce goods in Guanacaste due to the intense dry season and bad soil. This market now is a lot smaller than it used to be. We met a man who let us try some of his delicious pineapple that he and his family produce, and it was a favorite among all of us! After wandering around the farmer’s market for a little bit we had a great lunch at a restaurant called La Terraza.
After lunch we started heading towards Monte Alto which is where we are staying tonight. Along the way we stopped at a coffee tour, which was my favorite part of the day. Personally, I love coffee so this was right up my alley. We learned a ton about the way coffee beans are harvested and processed, along with the different degrees of quality. Turns out, Starbucks does not sell high quality coffee, they buy low quality coffee beans in large quantities (to my grandma & mom, I know you’re still going to drink it though). We left the tour about an hour and a half later, and heavily caffeinated. We continued our journey to Monte Alto Nature Reserve which is where we are now. We drove up a steep hill, safely thanks to our awesome bus driver Cesar, to a lookout point and watched the sunset. We had a great time taking silly pictures in front of the beautiful view. We came back to where we are staying for the night to a delicious dinner. We then shared “I am” poems that are about who we are as individuals. We wrote them a couple nights ago during mentor groups, and sharing them out loud was another great bonding experience for our already close knit group. That was about it for our night, thank you for reading my blog entry!
Sunday July 15, 2018
Hello everyone my name is Ivet Folch. Today has been amazing thanks to our mentors and everyone who planned this trip. So start off the day at 5 am when most of us go to watch the sunrise, which we didn’t see because of the trees but it was still beautiful. Then we came back to camp for breakfast which was delicious. After breakfast we went of a little hike to learn about trees and plants, it was so beautiful. After that we swam in a waterfall, it was so much fun. At 3 pm we took the bus back home. Today in the mentors group we did an activity about the wheel of identity.
Monday July 16, 2018
Upon waking up, we fell under the realization that we only have 10 days left of the program. After a moment of silence and dread, we continued our daily routine, we started our morning off with breakfast. Breakfast consisted of toast and jam, fruit (mango, slices of watermelon, pineapple, banana), and AMAZING coffee. After breakfast, we had many options but settled on splitting up into groups. Some of us would swim and the rest of us would cross the street and order smoothies and leech off of the free WIFI. Then we hurried onto lunch together!
Then Cesar (our bus driver, also the coolest man on earth) picked us up and we went to the beach. It was a very calm day. Some of us gathered at a table and ordered shish kabobs and snow cones. While the rest of the group was either enjoying the waves or sun-bathing.
Afterwards, we returned to home base and had time to change and get ready for the beach AGAIN but this time with a sunset. We went to another beach this time. We met up with Alexis, Matt, and David. Sadly, we missed the sunset. We had to walk to the pizza place for dinner and as we were walking we looked up and finally saw the sunset we failed to see on the beach. It was amazing like all sunsets are. The pizza was way better though. We all had dinner together, including Cesar, Marcia, and Alberto.
We enjoyed SEVERAL slices of pizza. They all just kept coming. So many options. All we were missing was chicken wings but alas, we can’t have it all. I made a new friend named Snow! She was the coolest little girl ever. It was very sad having to say goodbye when we had to leave. Marcia also taught me more about my film camera, she is the kindest lady ever. I had an amazing time. It was honestly a very relaxing day which would prepare us for the next day of soccer.
-by Hailey Hutcherson
Tuesday July 17, 2018
This morning we had a delicious breakfast of gallo de pinto, scrambled eggs, and toast. We then headed off to our first school service day in a small town named Guapote. There were only 10 students in the school all of varying ages. We did 5 different activities with the students all related to water conservation and understanding of the watershed here in Guanacaste. All of the kids were very involved in the activities and we left our service covered in face paint with smiling faces waving goodbye at us.
After a delicious lunch of noodle and vegetables we took a quick siesta before heading off to a soccer game in Río Seco. We were once again crushed by the locals. However a Tyler and Liesel both scored their first ever goals in soccer! After soccer we headed to our second cafecito at the same place as last time. We played with the large quantity of pets that the family had for a while and drank coffee. We also learned about Hocara which is a fruit that Costa Ricans use for many different things.
Upon arrival at the home base we were greeted by our three furry friends and a lovely diner of fish, chicken, and french fries. After dinner we did a mentor activity on what we want the world to be like and how a small change can spread quickly and affect many people. We then headed to bed early, exhausted from a long day of playing with the kids.
Wednesday July 18, 2018
Buenos días! Alyssa here!! It’s my turn to blog yay!!
So this morning we had a DELICIOUS breakfast of pancakes and syrup. Then, we got ready for the day. Today we went to a place called Casa Del Sol where we learned about solar ovens and how to cook food inside of them. We had 4 plates of food to put inside; chocolate cake, cookies with sesame seeds, manduras which is a sweet plantain with sauce on top, and rice.
After we got shown the ovens and how they work, we took a nice walk to the Parcel Del Sol where we met a man named Don Juan José who is the caretaker of the Paracel, and he introduced us to different types of trees and plants that they are growing and the nutrients they contain. A lot of the plants, we learned and saw, had a lot of properties to help with cancer which was really interesting. During the tour, it started to rain so we had to cut it short and go back to La Casa Del Sol to have lunch.
While we were waiting for the lunch to be ready, Don Juan José talked to us about composting and the proper way to set up a compost. You need first separate your natural waste from your plastic waste. Then the order you put the waste is first the dry leaves and dirt, then put on top of that the fresh, natural waste, then put on top of that water, after water first and then on top of the dirt you put more dry leaves and sticks and repeat. Dad, if you’re reading this you can try this to help with our composting since it never works 😘🤪
For lunch we had the food that was made in the solar ovens which was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! The chocolate cake was the best cake I had every tasted in my life. The rice and beans were so rich with moisture, and the plantains were sweet and light. A Very, VERY satisfying lunch. After lunch the ladies offered a cafecito and ,(mostly) everyone loving coffee here, said yes.
While drinking our coffee, Don Juan José wanted us to gather around in a circle in our chairs. There we first sang a couple songs. Tyler and I sang a little duet, and then Marcia shows us 2 different types of songs that she knew.
After singing, Don Juan lead us in a division about businesses and negotiating. We talked about genetically modified organisms and how business take advantage of the diseases that they cause. Therefore they are able to create medication to solve them. This enabled them to have a monopoly on two sides of the market. When our discussion ended we said our thank you and goodbyes and headed to the bus to go to our pottery demonstration.
We arrived at the pottery place and watched Doña Susan and Don Jesus , who started the family pottery business, create a vase. It was so interesting the way he HAND MADE the pottery and put so much effort into making these beautiful paintings and vases.
We shopped around the pottery store and then headed over to our favorite activity LA PULPERIA!!! The pulpería is just a little market where we go buy a bunch of snacks and ice-cream. The first one we went to ended up being closed so we stopped at another one closer to the base. By this time it’s raining on and off so we are running to the bus to make sure we don’t get soaked.
After shopping we went back to the home base and watched a snake show! Vinchenzo only spoke Spanish so his wife was there with him and she was translating. He gave us a presentation about venomous and non-venomous snakes in Costa Rica, how to distinguish venomous or non-venomous bites, and more information on snakes. He brought two different types of snakes: a very common one here in Costa Rica called Coral , and another snakes called arcoíris because of its skin in the light is multiple colors. We all held the arcoíris snake, her name was Pepe and she was so precious.
When the snake show finished we all went back to our cabins and got ready for PROM! Let me explain. 3 girls, Kanili, Vivian, and Sarah H, came up with a half-week spirit week and each evening until Saturday we are dressing up. Tonight was prom so we all dressed in pretty dresses and after dinner had a dance partayyyyy! Tomrorow is decades, Friday is stealth, and Saturday is meme/vine day!
So we have an exciting week coming up as it is our 2nd to last week unfortunately. This has been such an amazing trip so far and I can’t wait for the next days with these awesome people.
Buenas noches, and pura vida!
Thursday July 19, 2018
Hey everyone! Viv back once again. Today officially marks two weeks that we’ve been here, which means we only have one more week together, sadly. We started the morning bright and early at 7:00 with toast, eggs, and gallo pinto (my personal favorite breakfast combo here). It was our second day at a local school, and this time it was at Venado School. Marcía, our international director, had activities based around water conservation planned for the children and assigned groups of us to run each one. We prepared all the materials after breakfast and set out to meet a new group of smiling, eager kids. Upon arriving to the school, we were greeted by a group of 1st & 2nd graders and a group of 3rd & 4th graders. We spent the morning doing the activities with each group, and it was so much fun. All the kids were adorable and sweet and easy to work with.
As we left for lunch at Lagartos beach, many of the kids we worked with came up and gave us hugs. Aww right? It was bittersweet and such a great feeling to know that the kids enjoyed our company. For lunch, we had Dalia Express for the last time, and it was delicious per usual. She cooked a flavorful meal of rice and chicken, plátanos, and cooked beans. It was the first meal we ever tasted from her, and many of us enjoyed it as the last. The food here is no joke; every meal is SO good. We ate lunch at the beach and chilled there for a while before returning to the hotel to have some pool time. We left at 4:30 to Playa Negra to see the sunset and WOW the beach was crazy beautiful. The waves were turquoise-blue and the sky was mostly clear. A lot of photos and videos were taken of course, and we returned to Doña Maria’s by 6:45 for a dinner of plantains, maduros, rice, and beans. We ended the night off with mentor groups, and here’s to an amazing last week!
Friday July 20, 2018
Today we started out eating breakfast which was cereal and yogurt and fresh fruit. After that we went to the school in the town Veinte Siete De Abril. We did the same five activities that we been doing at all the different schools. Our group was split into two and we were each put with a first grade class. We started by learning each other’s names by playing a game with an inflatable globe. Then we played another game using a water meter to see how much water we use in one day.
Then we played a third game in which we formed a river and passed beans to simulate rain falling at different speeds depending on the season. The fourth game had dice and the children have to go to different stations to show all of the sources that contain water and use water. The final activity was with sponges, and Haley and Tyler accidentally put way too much food coloring on the sponges.
All of the kids had food coloring all over their hands and some of their clothes however they still had a lot of fun. We were supposed to do service from 8 to 12, but it was cut short because the teachers needed to have an important meeting. After, we stopped by Guapote school to check on the plants that the precious group planted there and to our dismay the plants had been ruined and the garden had been disassembled due to the fact that the school needed computers for the kids. However the workers did not have enough decency to save the plants that have been planted over hours and many months of them growing.
After that we went back to our homebase and relaxed a little bit before lunch. For lunch we had chicken, rice, mashed potatoes, and beans.This was a very delicious meal. Then most of us got into the pool and swam for a couple hours. Around 4 we all crowded back into the bus and headed to Henry’s farm for a cafecito and tour. They gave us tortillas and either lemonade or coffee to drink. After this many of us were expecting to take a nice short walk however we soon found out that it was more of a hike and all completely uphill.
After about 30 minutes of trekking uphill we made it to the top for a panoramic view with the ocean in the distance. We were able to rest for a little bit and see the beginning of the sunset from the top of the hill. We then walked back down to the bottom of the hill and headed back to the Home Base for a lovely dinner of quesadillas. For our mentor activity we did a role play of greetings in different cultures and then discussed cultural differences.
-Tyler and Sarah H
Saturday July 21, 2018
Today we woke up to a beautiful breakfast of eggs, toast and gallo pinto. After we loaded into the bus and drove about 45 minutes to Tamarindo. When we got there we walked around a cute little farmers market for about 30 minutes. We then picked a meeting spot and were allowed to go around and shop in groups. We had to check in twice during the day, but other than that we were free to shop within the town. All morning we walked around and went into small boutiques and souvenir store. Personally i was surprised by the prices in many stores so we had to find the thriftier stores to buy stuff in.
Around mid afternoon we started to get tired and our wallets were much lighter. The phrase “shop till you drop” really came into play around 3:00 when all 12 of us were sitting in a coffee shop with wifi waiting for Cesar to come pick us up. At 4 we left Tamarindo and drove about an hour pretty much all on a dirt round to Playa Callejones. When we got there we walked a little bit along the beach where we found Matt. He brought us to a clearing where an Argentinian Barbecue was being prepared for us. Many of us were already full however the smell of the food quickly changed that. We even had a dessert for the first time on the trip of grilled pineapple. After the BBQ we headed back to the home base and went to bed exhausted from a long day of shopping
Sunday July 22, 2018
Hello everyone! It’s Sarah H again! Today we woke up and had a different breakfast than we normally have. We had eggs with refried beans and cheese. We then all got ready to head across the street for zip lining. When we got there we signed a waiver, got or harnesses, and headed to the top of the mountain in a large truck. There were 11 different lines that we went on all of varying heights and distances. Some of them we were even allowed to go upside down on. On a few of the lines we had to go tandem because of how long the line was. We even had two people conquer their fear of heights on the course! After an exhausting 2 hours of zip lining we headed to Cafe Internet for some smoothies and wifi.
For lunch we had spaghetti and meat sauce and then we had the entire afternoon to relax. Many of us went into the pool and tried to tan. We even had a girl who took their senior photos here at the home base. Later in the afternoon many of us gathered around the TV to watch some netflix on the couches. Tonight was the final day of our mini spirit week and it was meme day. Only a few people participated but the ones who did did an amazing job. For dinner we ate tomato soup, plantains, and tortillas. At nights we played GLA related jeopardy with the categories being service, food, environment, and slang. The winners were cabin 6 which included Kanaili, Vivian, and I. We then watched more netflix and headed off to bed.
Today we woke up at the normal time and ate a wonderful breakfast of toast, fruit, and yogurt. We then headed back to Veintesiete de Abril school to do the water exercises with different grades. We split off into our two groups and first worked with the 5th and 6th graders. They were fun to work with because we could ask harder questions and they understood what we were explaining. At around 10:30 we switched to working with the younger kids however we did not have much time because there was an assembly at 11. We decided to attend the assembly with all the kids to celebrate the annexation do Nicoya to Costa Rica. The holiday is July 25 but they celebrated it in school early.
After the assembly we went back to the home base and ate some rice, chicken, and zucchini for lunch. We then had about an hour of siesta to relax. However some of us decided to hang by the pool and go swimming. We then were scheduled to have a dance lesson however we were all exhausted so we did some meditation and yoga to get our energy back up. We then headed to a cafecito and we were accompanied by about 20 children. We brought lots of arts and crafts supplies to use with the children. We did a lot of face painting, jump rope, and I taught the kids how to make fortune tellers. After about 2 hours of playing with the kids we all said our goodbyes and headed into the bus covered in face paint. For dinner we ate hamburgers and fries. At night we all hung out and watch some netflix. Tomorrow is our last day here at Angeles so we also started to pack a little bit.