Time Capsule Letter
Hey there Sea Turtle Team! I can’t believe it’s been so long since we have all been together. It feels like just yesterday we were all hanging out together at the Green Gold Eco Lodge. I’m sure by now you’re all back to school and your regular routines. While it may seem like a lifetime ago we were in Parisima, I hope your memories and life lessons you learned while on program still are with you and have made an impact in your everyday lives.
Days spent together breaking down barriers and making new friends, while working on saving the sea turtles and our other service projects are moments you should be proud of and cherish. While it may be easy to get caught up in things like homework, tests, jobs or sports practices, know that the experience we all had together live on and build confidence for more adventures to come.
Lucky for you, I’m here to remind you of some of the beautiful (and challenging) moments we shared together!
We started our week off by zip lining through the canopy of the Costa Rican jungle on route to Parismina. We enjoyed the beautiful views while soaring over the jungle canopies, while taking some time to get to know each other and get excited about more adventures ahead. On our first night on the beaches close to Jason’s lodge, we began our first of four patrols. Even though there was some rain here and there, we experienced some beautiful clear nights where we could enjoy the bright stars, fireflies and even some bioluminescence!
One of the groups saw a leatherback, and kept her safe through her whole process of laying her eggs and sending her back off into the ocean. We held sacred space as we observed her laying her eggs, then supported the guide as he relocated the eggs to a false nest. After camouflaging the nest to keep it safe, we watched her reenter the ocean.
We can be proud in knowing both mother and babies are safe! The other group also got to see a green turtle reenter the ocean safely after she had already made her nest. Brie checked on the nests the following days and was happy to report our successful camouflaging helped to protect the nest against poachers. For all we know, these turtles have hatched and live full lives that extend long past our own.
We can be proud of the hard work we put in which ensured that any turtles on the beach were protected from poachers, hungry wild animals, and given the best chance to make it back out to sea and live a long life. In addition to our night patrols we cleaned up the beach, picking up both large and small pieces ranging from micro plastics to large bottles and plastic containers. By doing so we kept this trash out of the ocean, and the bellies of many marine animals. I hope you guys can see what a huge difference these beach clean ups did, and are inspired to do your own versions in your community!
In addition to service, we did a bunch of activities including ziplining, surfing, swimming, cooking, and dancing. We enjoyed some time in the town of Parisima, playing soccer and volleyball with the local kids and buying handmade wares from local artisans at the market.
While on the boat tour with Jason we saw sloths, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, a poison dart frog, and many many more. And we can’t forget Lacey! Our resident dog at the lodge, she loved hanging out with our crew and assisting in the clean up of any spilled snacks.
We created so many memories together, from breaking it down at dance class, sharing meals and meaningful conversations, and digging deeper into how we can better ourselves and our community, I really saw you guys grow immensely. Together we came up with “a One Meaningful Goal” to be kind. Be kind to not only each other, but to yourselves, the environment and everyone you meet. You guys built an amazing, supportive community during your time together.
We hope you all have taken the lessons you learned on this trip and applied them to your lives back home in meaningful ways. Learn to expect the unexpected, give and receive unconditional love and support from others, be flexible, and continue to keep your hearts and minds open to new people and experiences. Thank you for your hard work, willingness to be open and inclusive, and overall awesomeness.
Peace, love… and chow!
Angie, Brie, Jen, Cathy and the local team from Parismina
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Sunday June 30, 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 got to had a surprise pizza party as delayed flights streamed in.
With full bellies and new friends, students got a quick orientation from Mentors Jen, 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! 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 sloth sighting and hearty lunch of rice, beans, pasta, salad and fruit juice, everyone had plenty to chat about as the van departed.
Students returned back to Hotel Pacande to prepare for dinner after road closures added a hiccup to transportation plans. A group discussion led by Director Brie prompted students to consider the sociopolitical implications of the strike which effected their afternoon, and to think critically about social movements both abroad and domestically.
After a thoughtful, insightful and poignant discourse, the group departed to lighter conversations with a walk to dinner, where they enjoyed delicious Costa Rican fare and fresh juice options (pineapple, papaya, cas, blackberry or horchata!)
Planning for an early start, students headed off to bed for some much needed rest and roommate bonding time.
We cant’ wait to see what tomorrow’s adventure holds!
Monday July 1, 2019
After breakfast, orientation and a “guess your mentor game”, students a d staff waited in high hopes for news of successful negotiation between protesters and government officials. After activities, games and alot of hoping,came that the road blocks would continue through the afternoon. After a traditional Costa Rican lunch of casados and fresh fruit juice, the group enjoyed an outing to the Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center. Students recieved a behind the scenes tour, where the learned about rehabilitation efforts and the story behind how animals found their way to the center.
The tour included a wide range of Costa Rican wildlife, including 3 types of monkey (spider, howler & Capuchin) sloths, coati, kinkajou, porcupine, scarlet mackaw, parrot, and toucan… just to name a few! After the tour, a group conversation about the exotic pet trade, voting with our dollar, responsible tourism and personal stories rounded out an exciting and educational afternoon. A walk to dinner at Como en Casa was a perfect way to end the day. Wonderful ambience, Costa Rican fusion food and lots of laughter had students enjoying the moment and taking in the experiences if the day.
Tuesday July 2, 2019
After a long day of travel, students finally arrived on Parismina. On the way there they got to stop at a local supermarket and practice their Spanish skills as they grabbed last minute necessities.
Later on, the students passes banana plantations and Brie explained in great detail the abuse within them. Students carefully listened and learned as Brie explained the housing situation, plastic bagging and the chemical and economic side of things. Everyone arrived at home base boat ride. We met Jason who told us about his journey to cresting the ecolodge. We got settled into our rooms and chilled in the hammocks.
Later on, Mako came to the lodge and talked to us about turtles. It’s amazing how much you learn from a local. After the turtle talk and being knowledgeable about the different species of sea turtles the mentor led us in a group activity. It was like an improv scene where we were put into groups where we had a debate or “town meeting” of the circumstances of the hotel being built on a beach and it was very ecologically bad. It was interesting because some of us has to think from a new perspective we weren’t accustomed to.
That night we dressed in all black clothing and embarked on our first night Patrol. We didn’t use our headlamps because we wanted to strengthen our night vision which took us out of our element. One group encountered a 100 year old leatherback (estimated) laying eggs and was swept with emotions from that experience. They were able to help collect information and camouflage the relocated nest, saving 94 eggs from poachers in all! The other group saw a green turtle as they were making their way back to the water from laying eggs.
Blog written by Lea, Maria, Josie, Jack, and Rochelle
Wednesday July 3, 2019
This was our first full day at the Green-Gold Eco lodge. Our day began at 8am when we started with our breakfast. Our breakfast consisted of eggs, fruit and toast. Unfortunately, it was raining most of the day but we made the best of the situation with community building activities and chill time. Our community made guidelines to follow and respect each other.
Collectively, the best part of our day was the beach cleanup. After picking up around 8 bags of trash our community left the beach feeling accomplished. To wrap up the dya we began an activity in which we gathered in groups and assembled each of our life stories. This activity ended up quite insightful by discovering more about our individual experiences. Furthermore, we enjoyed a dinner which included rice and an Asian cuisine.
After dinner, we started a game called”where do you stand”.
This game let us share our different points of view on many different subjects. This was very insightful and led to alit if community building. At the end of the dya we learned about our community members and their back stories. We learned how much trash people waste and out where not convenient. Love your children.
-Written by Abby, Bannon, Moss, Kate, Mataya
Thursday July 4, 2019
Today we had an early start and good breakfast to fill us up for a busy day of surfing and swimming!
A Playa Negra we were split up into two groups in order to learn to surf more efficiently. The instructors were great and many of us learned quickly. The current was pretty strong but the waves were great for us beginners! After splashing around and falling off boards a few times we all dried off collected our stuff and our instructors showed us how to find coconuts to open and drink! Many of us learned that coconut water is much sweeter than regular water.
At the Reggae Bar we all enjoyed cold fruit juice and chicken, veggies, salad, pasta salad and delicious coconut rice and beans! Some students bought lychees, a tropical fruit, before our departure to home base.
On the drive to home base, it became obvious that many people didn’t put on or reapply sunscreen, even though the staff kept asking and reminding us! Oops!
Once we navigated back to home base we enjoyed pizza and soda to celebrate the fourth of July!
For the rest of the night, students took advantage of free time to shower, chat, and read in hammocks.
Today was a very adventurous day we will not forget!
Written by: Baylie, Cydney, Ben T. and Katelyn
Students started the day with a hearty breakfast, and loaded into local transport through the jungle to Parismina. They first got familiar with the town with a tour led by locals Mako and Maya. Complete with a quick stop at the turtle nest relocation sight and a bottle fed baby calf, students were welcomed into local kitchens for a cooking class!
Empanadas were on the menu, and each student got to see the process and then try out making their own. The group finally had the opportunity to explore the town of Parismina, where lots of stops at family run stores for ice cream, smoothies and cold drinks brought some extra money into the community.
After lunch and filling up on local treats, students got to tour the artisan market and meet the artists who offered their handicrafts.
Then it was off to the plaza, where friendly games of soccer and volleyball were shared between GLA visitors and kids of all ages from Parismina. A short ride home, group reflection and some much needed showers brought them to dinner time…how the day flew!
A final night Patrol and packing filled the final time slots, and students hit the hay for much needed rest for the following day’s travel.