Time Capsule Letter
Can you even believe that so much time has passed since our Parismina sea turtle trip ended? I still think about the amazing starry skies we got to see together on the last two night patrols.
I remember cheering you on during surfing, and admiring and respecting your openness with the community on our town days (Miriam the Smoothie Queen who had so much gratitude for your business, who could forget her?!). I think back often to the piggyback rides you gave to the school kids, and my own ridiculous and cringe-worthy attempt at singing my way through Musical Chairs when we didn’t have a speaker available for music.
When we first started to get to know each other at zip lining, I could tell you would become a tight-knit group, but you surprised me by the depth of the friendships that were formed in 10 short days. You were so inclusive of each other, so kind, and provided such a safe space that allowed everyone to be themselves.
I was, and am, so proud of all of you for the beautiful community you formed. By the end we were all braiding each other’s hair (and remember the professional braids from the local ladies at the artist market?), sharing bug spray in a unified front against mosquitoes, laughing out way through dance class, and hugging our way through Story of Self.
Our time spent together in Costa Rica truly did make an impact. The beaches are cleaner because of you. Over 200 eggs and two mama turtles are safe because of our group. Beach erosion will be lessened and monkeys are ensured a habitat because of your reforestation efforts.
I really hope that you have taken some of what you learned in Costa Rica and applied it to life back home. Perhaps you are decreasing your plastic usage, or are supporting small, local, ethical businesses, or maybe have reached out warmly to someone who is not native to your culture.
Following up on our One Meaningful Goal, perhaps you now think twice about buying Dole, Del Monte, or Chiquita bananas, remembering the atrocious plastic usage and questionable human and environmental rights practices involved in their production.
We did a lot of hard service work, often under the full sun, but you all made it really enjoyable when we worked as a team. Even when we had to try to quiet you down (because you just got along so well and had so much enthusiasm when talking, or wanted to continue hanging out after lights out because you enjoyed each other’s company so much), I still wouldn’t have traded your group for anything. You gifted me and all of the GLA team so much joy. It was genuinely a privilege to spend time with you all on each and every adventure we had.
I’d love to hear from you – how are you BEING the CHANGE back home? How have you been inspired from our time in Costa Rica?
Wishing you the very best and sending you all a big hug.
Brittany and the Sea Turtle Initiative team!
Wednesday July 24, 2019
Students trickled in slowly on Arrival day, leaving equal time for getting to know each other and resting up from a day of travel.
For those who arrived through the afternoon, lunch was on offer from a family owned restaurant across the street from the hotel. where they enjoyed typical Costa Rican fare (rice,beans,choice of meat, veggies,salad and fried plantains!)
After naps, games and more arrivals, students stretched their legs with a walk to dinner at Tortillería, a local fusion restaurant.
With full bellies and new friends, students got a quick orientation from Mentors Jacob, Angelina and Cathy. The last arrivals enjoyed their meals in the hotel, while discussing the following day’s journey to home base and big ziplining adventure!
Thursday July 25, 2019
The next morning brought the whole group together for the first time. Over breakfast, students acquainted themselves and prepared their day packs for the first big adventure.
Ziplining didn’t disappoint, as students spent their midday soaring over the rainforest canopy. Complete with tapir sighting and hearty lunch of rice, beans, pasta, salad and fruit juice, everyone had plenty to chat about as the van departed for the Green Gold Eco lodge, where the students will call home for the next week!
After a stop at the local market Maxi Palí for some snacks and any last minute provisions the final leg of the journey took them past expansive banana plantations owned by Chiquita, Dole & Del Monte. Director Brie prompted students to consider working conditions, pesticide and herbicide runoff and deforestation as discussion of the term ‘banana republic’ became something more tangible than just a fast fashion outlet.
A 15 minute boat ride and short walk brought students into home base, where dinner of pasta, garlic bread and salad waited.
After orientation and safety guidelines, students finally settled into their off-grid jungle home.
Friday July 26, 2019
This morning the group woke up to a fresh breakfast. Our first activity was the farm tour in which we saw a sloth iguanas cayman a giant wasp nest and some beautiful butterflies. We were all excited to try variety of coconuts and pass them around to drink the juice. After the farm tour we had lunch and then a lecture about the different types of turtles in the area and how they can be helped.
Then we all walked out to the beach to learn about the tracks of the turtles and how to find their nest. We then all came in and did a debate about building Shoreside hotels. We all learned a lot about listening to different perspectives. After that we all had some free time before dinner. We are now on preparing for a first night patrol. Fingers crossed we see a turtle!
-by Lola, Claudia, Sara, Veronika
Sunday July 28, 2018
Today we went into Parismina for the first time and it was beautiful. We got to see baby turtles be released into the ocean. We learned how to measure sea turtles and how to relocate turtle eggs so they hatch safely and are camouflaged from poachers. We saw some cute dogs on our way to grab chocolate cover bananas and ice cream from a local shop. All of us split into two groups and went off to make empaladas which were so tasty. On our way back we were followed by some community dogs all the way back to base camp. Then we had free time for the majority of the rest of the day, which including coconut hunting and hanging at the beach. Then we ended the day with a delicious dinner and games.
-by Liv, Kai, Leah, Leila
Today we went to Parismina and went to the elementary school where we got to play with little kids and teach them some games. Next thing we did was get smoothies from a small shop. We met a very sweet, local boy from town. After this we played sports with the towns’ people. Following this, we went to a market filled with beautiful, handmade crafts and bracelets. It was amazing to be able to support local artisans in Parismina.
We then went to a soccer game, which started with local children, but then evolved to include the local teens as well.
It was incredible to be able to feel fully immersed in Parismina’s beautiful and colorful culture.
We went out for night patrol after dinner and were lucky enough to see the beautiful nights sky. Just a few minutes into our night patrol our group came across a green turtle!!! We watched the turtle dig her nest and lay her eggs. After the turtle laid her eggs, we reburied them to hide them from poachers. In total there were 110 eggs! It was an astounding experience. We watched the turtle return to sea and reflected about our journey and the people we met and experiences we’ve been fortunate enough to have.
Brian, Jackson, Bryn, Kennan