Monday June 11, 2018
Aquí estamos! We have all made it safely here to Costa Rica. The rain pounded the roof at the airport but luckily as the last students trickled in we were greeted by a full rainbow to commence our time here in Guanacaste. Now at the home base, the students are moved into their cabins with bellies full from a homey pasta dinner made by the lovely women here at the eco-hotel. It is already evident that these weeks will be filled with lots of laughs, many bugs in our shoes, and individual growth as we get to explore out into Costa Rica and into ourselves as we find our place here in this space.
It’s only 8pm but the night is dark and the frogs and crickets fill the air with their song. I have high hopes for this group and extreme excitement for them to get to know this magical place. There is a saying here in Costa Rica—Pura Vida—that people use as a greeting and a goodbye but also say just in passing. Literally it means pure life and I’m hoping that the students truly get to experience a small bit of what it means to the people here. I am currently watching the students form their community agreement and am excited to watch them grow into a small family as we go on this adventure and push ourselves to try new things and meet new people!
I’ll leave you with the saying that is said so often here in Costa Rica, with hopes that your children will be able to explain to you it’s meaning!
Kilee Davis (International Director)
Tuesday June 12, 2018
We started the morning with a big ray of sunshine, shining through our cabin windows. It was a rough sleep with the monkeys jumping and screeching at 3am. After a hearty breakfast of eggs, toast, rice and beans, we walked across the street to go horseback riding! Luckily only one person fell off. After the horseback riding adventure we hopped off and had some delicious fresh fruit to tie us over till lunch time. We got back to home base and had to take a swim test.
After that we chilled in the pool for a little while. We then had a tasty lunch of rice, beans, salad, picadillo and plantains. After our lunch we played some games to get to know each other some more. Later, Matt filled our brains with knowledge about watersheds. We had some free time where we went to a nearby beach to run around and let some (non existent) energy out of our bodies. We finished off the day with a scrumptious meal of tamales and salad. The fresh juices make the meals even better! With our tummies and minds happy and full, we sang some acapella to finish the night out.
Wednesday June 13, 2018
We woke up bright and early, ready for another amazing day here in Costa Rica. For breakfast, the Angeles Ecolodge staff prepared for us-a variety of fruits including papaya, pineapple, bananas, watermelon, with also some toasted bread with butter and jam. After that we loaded the bus and headed off to Playa Blanca. Different to the beach we had seen yesterday. This beach was full of little and big rocks. Everyone immediately dove into the ocean and tried to navigate their ways through the rough currents.
After having cooled off some people hung up their ENOs and relaxed while others others watercolored with Marcia. Later we headed to a nearby park to have lunch. The chicken, rice, and vegetables were delicious. On the way back we made a pit stop at a tiendita and each bought ice cream. We also stopped at El Centro verde where Tom showed us around and gave us a branch of little bananas that everyone devoured. Back at the home base we had some free time. Some went swimming and others played UNO. Then Marcia came and gave us a presentation on the most common animals in Costa Rica and we all got to work planning activities for service tomorrow. To finish off the day we had everyone’s favorite-chicken and French fries.
Friday June 15, 2018
Yesterday, our early Costa Rican morning started with an American meal for breakfast, a ham and cheese sandwich. We then began with practicing our Spanish phrases for the school later this morning. At 8:00, we departed to the school to teach the children about the diverse wildlife in the area. We played an interactive bingo game to help them to respect and understand their surrounding. In the schools, we split into our two groups and spent around 4 hours with the children. We began by introducing ourselves and spending time doing different activities with them. We played soccer as well as practiced our Spanish.
We all developed special relationships with them and became very close with them in the few fours we spent together. As we left from our amazing journey, the children waved and gave hugs, sad to see us go. We then enjoyed a hearty meal of beans and eggs for lunch. To rest after a hard working morning, we relaxed in the pool to then prepared for the rest of the day. The rest of the day consisted of local dance lessons followed by a hike in coffee fields. Thankfully, only one person broke a toe nail and got chased by a goat. We made it to the top of the beautiful mountain and later bought some local honey. On our way home we listened to some throwback jams to let out the rest of our energy. Our day ended with a great meal and group reflection. ¡Adios!
Saturday June 16, 2018
Today was a fun and exciting day filled with adventure! We started our day with fresh coconut milk, cereal, and beautiful fruits. We then all loaded up on the bus filled with excitement, knowing we were on our way to Santa Cruz, the historically packed city in the center of Costa Rica. We had time to explore and buy some goodies as well. We then hopped back on the bus and headed to the local farmers market stuffed with fresh veggies, fruits, and impactful stories from local vendors. One of our most exciting stops was a coffee tour where we learned about how coffee is made and produced compared to big companies.
We did a walking tour in the pouring rain and then rejoined for fresh coffee, treats, and gifts. Our next stop was a small town center in one of the first Costa Rican cities. We met with a local and our lodging host to hear stories of the past. We headed to our home base for the night and unloaded. We then quickly got back on our feet and went on a beautiful nature hike where we saw waterfalls, bugs, and wildlife. After that, we came back to the home base and enjoyed a delicious dinner of beans, rice, and chicken. Lastly we had a relaxing meditation hour, and then peacefully fell asleep cozy in our beds.
We made an awesome video of our day that you can download here —-> June 16 Video
—by Sophie Balis
Sunday June 17, 2018
This morning we woke up in a new reserve. We ate eggs, fruit, bread, and the traditional rice and beans. After breakfast we headed up to our hike. We went on a hike and some of us decided to go on the short hike and some of us decided to go on the long walk. I ended up going on the long walk and while we were walking we saw so many beautiful things. We saw a lot of mangos, ants carrying leaves, and bees. We also came across a stream of water where we were able to cross and stop to enjoy the sound and the sound around us. We also got a chance to bathe ourselves with the water and drink it. We were all amazed by the taste of the water. The trail led to a house, which was beautiful and very colorful. Up there we were able to see the beautiful view and see some amazing things. We were able to see a couple of bats and lizards and also a squirrel and a woodpecker.
After that we continued our walk and headed back down where everyone else was painting. We spent an hour painting the beauty we saw and at the same time eating some fresh fruit. After we were done we headed to another reserve for another walk. We walked up to the top of a big grassy hill. We were able to look at the beautiful view and of course take many pictures. After we were at the top we went back down and got back on the bus and drove back to the place we were staying at for the weekend. Once we arrived we had a delicious meal prepared for us. We had the options of chicken, pasta salad, salad, beans, rice, and tortillas. It was all very good. After lunch we drove back to our home base. Before getting to the home base we stopped by a market to buy some goodies. When we got back we did a communication activity, which didn’t end up that good, but after we were able to swim and cool off. After we came down we were served some amazing food. After that we did mentor groups and then went to bed.
Monday June 18, 2018
The morning started bright and early as we had breakfast at 7:00. Breakfast included toast, eggs, and of course, rice and beans. After breakfast, we all packed up and headed to a new school called Las Delicias. Before leaving, we spent quality time as a group bonding with the dogs, Kira and Laura. After arriving at the school, we brought out our inner kid by playing soccer and jump rope. We spent all morning with the kids educating them about the importance of respecting the animals around them. After our lesson, we spent more time with them picking up trash, playing sports, and helping serve lunch.
After finishing up at the school, we headed back to home base where we ate fish, rice, beans, and fried plantains. We then had some down time before heading to Playa Avellanas. We spent a couple of hours at the beach playing in the sand, in the waves, and with the dogs. The dogs were definitely one of the highlights of the day as they ran around, splashing in the water. After spending 3 hours at the beach, the crew went back to the home base where they ate dinner consisting of soup with avocado and cheese. After dinner, each camper did a Pulse Check with one of the mentors, where they were able to talk to the mentors about the week that has flown by. After finishing Pulse Checks, we hung out as a group before heading to our cabins after a long day.
Tuesday June 19, 2018
We started our morning off with our usual breakfast and went to the school that we first did our service at. During the service, Marcia helped us with explaining the animals that are living in Costa Rica, we handed the kids coloring papers to color the animals, and played bingo. After saying good bye to the kids and eating lunch, we played soccer with the kids who attend the second school we went to. Then we had some free time; some of us were in the pool, and some of us stayed in our cabins to rest. Then we ate dinner and shared our personal stories for mentor activities.
Wednesday June 20, 2018
Today was a day of hard work for the group. We went to a new school for our lesson and afterwards we started beautifying the surrounding community. There were pits of half-burnt trash and thousands of bottle caps bejeweled to the earth. We worked in the blistering sun until Dalia arrived on her motorcycle with delicious tacos and coke. Later, we played more soccer with our friends David, Matias, Justin, and many more. We finished the night with a Coco viewing, and we all loved it.
We miss you all!
And happy birthday Mom!
We made an another awesome video of our day that you can download here —-> June 20 Video
Thursday June 21, 2018
We started off the day with corn flakes and fruit for breakfast. Then we went Guapote where we planted many different types of plants around the school. After, we returned to home base where we had some free time. Then we went out to a pizza restaurant for a birthday celebration. We ended our day with a mentor group activity at home base.
We made an another awesome video of our day that you can download here —-> June 21 Video
Friday June 22, 2018
We started off our day with a breakfast of beans, rice, and toast. After, we headed off to visit a women’s cooperative sustainable farm. On our way there, we stopped in a small town to learn the traditional method of making pottery. There were no machines or even electric wheels; everything was done by hand. At the sustainable farm we learned how you can harvest solar energy to cook meals and have them taste just as good. Later on, we visited a wildlife rescue center and saw jaguars, spider monkeys, ocelots, and many more. To finish off our day, we had a delicious soup with a side of potatoes and corn.
We made an another awesome video of our day that you can download here —-> June 22 Video
Saturday June 23, 2018
After starting the morning off with some freshly made empanadas we waited for our favorite bus driver Cesar to come pick us up. We then headed to Tamarindo where we went to the farmers market. Then we had hours of free time to do A LOT of shopping, eating, swimming and relaxing on the beach. After Tamarindo we then headed to a small and secured beach called Playa Callejones. We were able to swim for a little and have a quick snack while watching a breath taking sunset and of course taking many photos. We ended our day with music, a couple free style singing and rapping, laughter, and as always good food.
-Love ya girl Leyah 🙂
We made an another awesome video of our day that you can download here —-> June 23 Video
Monday June 25, 2018
Today we started off with some fresh watermelon and some Costa Rican pancakes. After breakfast we went to the beach and did a scavenger hunt. After the beach, we had to stop by a soda to get us some yummy snacks before we got to the home base. For lunch we had beef, beans, rice, and salad. After lunch we had free time and then we had a snake workshop. After learning about snakes we had dinner. We ate a chicken sandwich with fries. After dinner we played some jeopardy and then headed off to our cabins to get some sleep.
We made an another awesome video of our day that you can download here —-> June 25 Video
Tuesday June 26, 2018
After waking up to some delicious breakfast as always, we started our day off early with heading to blank where we were able to teach the kids about the water use and conserving water in Costa Rica with some game we had made. Hours past and the wonderful Dalia came to bring us lunch where we ate rice, beans, chicken, and some veggies. Shortly after we headed back to the base to get ready for our final soccer game with the kids from the local school. We ended our day with great food, group activities, laughter, and some good bonding
Again from ya girl Leyah 🙂
We made an another awesome video of our day that you can download here —-> June 26 Video
Wednesday June 27, 2018
We started of the day by having eggs, rice, beans, and tortillas for breakfast. After breakfast, we loaded the bus and headed to the school we would be working at today. Kinder Florida was located in the mountains and had approximately fifty students. Once we got there, we broke off into groups and prepared for the water dynamic activities we had prepared. The first activity we did was called “El Planeta Azul”. The purpose of this activity was to learn what percentage of the world was covered with water. On top of that, it was a good way for everyone to introduce themselves.
Another activity we did was called “Agua Para Todos”. This activity aimed to show how in different time periods, different amounts of water were used. To demonstrate this we used water, sponges, and food coloring (to show the contamination of water). The children got very competitive and had a good time participating in this activity. During our down time we played a fun game of mafia. After completing all the activities and saying goodbye to the kids, we got back on the bus and headed back to home base. For lunch we had rice, beans, beets, chicken and vegetables. Everyone enjoyed this lunch, saying it was one of the best so far. Ready to cool down, we headed to Playa Avellana. Here we swam, relaxed, and got smoothies from a restaurant called “lola’s”. On our way back, we stopped at a tiendita to get ice cream as well as other snacks. To finish off the day, we had chips, beans, salad, and mozzarella sticks for dinner.
We made an another awesome video of our day that you can download here —-> June 27 Video
Thursday June 28, 2018
Today was an extremely busy day! We had a nice breakfast of cereal and fruit! We spent time with the kids at Las Delicias, teaching them about the importance of water in the watershed. It was very difficult for many of the students to say their goodbyes to the kids who they had become so close with. We spent our afternoon back at homebase, relaxing and packing. We then enjoyed a dinner together before more time off. At 8:30, we left for La Playa Ostional where we searched for turtles laying eggs on the nearby beach. We saw a couple of turtles laying approximately 80-120 eggs in each of their holes. It was incredible to see the process of them laying their eggs. We got back to homebase after a long and exhausting day at around 2:00 am.
We made an another awesome video of our day that you can download here —-> June 28 Video
Today was a day of rest and relaxation as we prepared to depart from Angeles. Following our late-night rendezvous with the turtles, we slept until 10am for a late breakfast. Some of us dropped into the pool and I showed everyone the baby puercospín (Central American porcupine) that I discovered. Afterwards, we headed across the street to grab smoothies and relax as the storm rolled in. Then we went to Junquillal for some beautiful black sand and calm cerulean waves. We finished the night with our last dance party at Angeles.
We miss you all!
Writing by Hannah, Photos by Emma