Thursday June 28, 2018
¡Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!
It’s a lovely day in San Jose! Our local and international staff have excitedly been preparing for our newest GLA arrivals! FINALLY the big day is HERE!!!
Here is our staff from left to right: Local Director Jason, Mentor Brittany, International Director Adriana, Mentors Emily and Erin at the Green Gold Lodge in Parismina, Limon, Costa Rica.
Each student began their adventure by securely exchanging their dollars into colones with the help of a mentor, and arrived safely at Hotel Pacande to freshen up and settle into their next 10 days of Pura Vida!
After enjoying lunch at the hotel, students had the option to rest, or participate in activities to break the ice and get to know their new GLA family.
Tomorrow, we will depart for our beachside rainforest home base, but not before stopping in the cloud forest for a zipline excursion! We are so excited to share updates and photos of our trek to the Caribbean coast where students will call home.
We had a few late arrivals, but a full group pic is coming soon…we promise!
Sunday July 1, 2018
This morning we all woke up in our new rooms in our lodge here on Parismina. A lot of us learned an important lesson about tucking our mosquito nets into our beds, because we woke up with upward of ten bites. We then had some morning free time and many of us headed downstairs to rest in the hammocks. After our breakfast we got ready for our first walk of our organic farm tour led by our house leader Jason. Here we saw various plants, fruits, and insects (and some of which we got to taste!).
During our nature walk we got to see a sloth, some iguanas, grasshoppers, a ribbon snake, and a nest of biting fire ants. After some free time we got to see a presentation from ASTOP, an organization for the preservation of sea turtles. This group taught us the reasons poaching of sea turtles occurs here in Costa Rica and what they have been doing to stop poaching. This information got us very excited for our first night patrol. The very nice man left and then we were given time to go swim in the ocean. The ocean was gorgeous, and had black sand which many of us had not seen before.
After we passed a swim test (which we all did AWESOME at) we got to swim. About half-way through swimming, more and more people went off to go play in the sand. Some people were buried while others of us just relaxed on their towels. The heat of the day was wiped off of us while swimming. After that, we came back where we all rinsed off and then had some downtime to relax and talk with everybody. All in all we had a great day and are looking forward to hopefully seeing a turtle on our night patrol. If not, at least it will be an awesome week.
-Tanya, Maddie, and Jackson
Wednesday July July 4, 2018
Today was day 2 in our expedition at Parismina lodge. After we woke up we were BLESSED with an amazing breakfast, especially fried dough that was the definition of comfort food (shoutout Julianna). Next we took a 45 minute walk through the rainforest and across an airplane runway into town. During the walk we had the opportunity to see multiple monkeys and a sloth. In the village we all got to eat ice cream and snow cones. Then ASTOP gave a second presentation which went more into depth about the turtles.
It was pouring rain by the end of the presentation, so we caught a ride on the back of a truck to home base. It felt like Indiana Jones! At home base we took a 2 hour siesta in our hammocks, which was followed by a leadership activity on the beach. After a quick dip in the water, we ate dinner. We were rudely interrupted by an 8-legged friend in our room 🙁 but Jason saved the day and got rid of the traveler spider. Last night we didn’t see any turtles, only their tracks, but hopefully tonight luck will be on our side and we’ll get to see some tonight.
Hannah, Maggie, Taryn
Thursday July 5, 2018
This morning we were all blessed to wake up to more mosquito bites and howler monkeys near our lodge. We enjoyed eggs, toast, and fresh fruit for breakfast. Our plan for the day consisted of a boat trip around Parismina, leadership activities, and reforestation, but because of the nonstop rain, we had to cancel our boat trip. Instead, we had a lot of spare time to bond and share stories and snacks. We also played activities such as human knot, shoe tower, and “walk a mile in my shoes”. For lunch we ate rice, beans, carmelized plantains, and vegetables. We didn’t let the rain stop our next adventure.
As a group we walked on the rainforest trail and collected fallen coconuts that were sprouting small trees. With those, we walked the beach to bury the coconuts into the sand with our shovels. After about two hours, we counted a total of 109 planted coconut trees. We were all very proud of our hard work and team effort to make a positive impact on our environment. There was an opportunity after the reforestation to take a dip in the ocean for a while. After showers and rinsing off, we had some free time to relax. For dinner, we enjoyed rice, mac and cheese, salad, and weenies. Since there was no night patrol tonight, we were able to have early bedtime. This will contribute to tomorrow’s next adventure.
This morning we woke up to clear skies, and had arrepas with syrup, and fresh fruit. Due to the good weather we finally had our boat tour, throughout the tour we managed to see a caiman, multiple tropical birds, fresh water turtles, and the poisonous dart frog. Directly after we went to town and made empanadas and tortillas in a cooking class and we had the pleasure of eating them. We traveled to ASTOP and had lunch which was hamburgers and chips for the Fourth of July. We were able to purchase gifts and keepsakes at the local artisan fair as well as having our hair partially braided.
After the fair, we walked over and joined the locals for games of volleyball and soccer, sad to say Costa Rica beat the U.S. 8-2. We had the opportunity to meet the children of Parismina as well as practicing our Spanish with them. Sadly we had to leave, but enjoyed the truck ride back to home base. We enjoyed a rose, bud, thorn exercise and talked about our day, we had a delicious dinner of pasta and garlic bread. Our Fourth of July wasn’t as traditional as normal but we had more fun celebrating the diversity and culture of Parismina.
Ally, Alex, and Emilio