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Monday April 15, 2019
Hola from Costa Rica!
We have a long day of travel behind us and are looking forward to our activities in the next few days.
All students arrived at the Tijuana airport late Sunday night for a flight to Mexico City, and after a layover there, a flight to San Jose, Costa Rica. From there, we took a three-hour long bus trip to our home base, arriving around 3 pm. A few afternoon activities included unpacking, kayaking, and swimming in the lake. We are eager to wake up early tomorrow after a good night’s rest to complete our service for the day at a local school here in San Carlos, Costa Rica.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Tuesday April 16, 2019
Today was our first full day in Costa Rica. We woke up at 6: 30 and had a wonderful breakfast with some fresh fruit. We did service for 3 hours at the local elementary school in the town of Boca Arenales. We cleaned out the lot where the animals were at where they eventually want to grow crops. The elementary has some nice murals around the campus. When we came back, we had a nice lunch, got to hang out in the lake and we went swimming, kayaking and got to jump. We ended the night with dinner and hanging out with our friends.
Wednesday April 17, 2019
Today as a group on our second day in Costa Rica we began with a delicious breakfast of eggs, chorizo, and grilled cheese. Not the sandwich grilled cheese, but actual grilled cheese(Many kids thought it was french toast). After breakfast, we all boarded our bus and began our second day of service at the elementary school, where we began finishing up our work in the lot previously mentioned.
As a group we loaded all of the sticks and large branches we cleared from the field the day prior into a classic homemade Costa Rican trailer. We also tore more rocks and concrete out of the field, leaving the plot of land ready for farming. Once we finished there, we boarded the bus and came back for another delicious lunch.
We then journeyed to the animal refuge in town where we saw plenty of native Costa Rican animals such as Pumas, Baby Sloths, Monkeys, Snakes, and even a huge Crocodile. Then, we made our way to the local supermarket and loaded up on junk food and exchanged our American dollars for some Costa Rican Colones.
After that we came back to camp for our final great meal of the day and began getting ready for our night hike which would conclude our day. On the night hike we journeyed on foot around the property our camp sits on where we saw horses, toads, and lots of spiders. It was a day full of satisfaction, fun, and great time with friends.
Thursday April 18, 2019
This morning we woke up around 7:30 to a beautiful breakfast that included, fruit, eggs, bacon, cereal, and pancakes (my favorite)! After breakfast we played a serious game of exploding kittens. This is a card game that includes many scenarios in order to avoid the exploding kitten. If you get the kitten you’re out! Others played Uno, swung in the hammock or made friendship bracelets. Then we walked to the nearby chapel where Mr. Correnti taught us all about Holy Week and reminded us why we are here to serve.
The tiny yellow chapel, built for the owner’s mom to have a place to pray, was on a hill where you could see a volcano out of the door on a clear day. After leaving the Chapel, we decided to walk to a local store where we got ice cream and other snacks. (Editors note: As I write this I have discovered that Mr. Correnti loves the pop artist Dua Lipa and is currently sitting next to me blasting the song One Kiss and dancing around the room with Mr. Anzar. Lol)
After getting our snacks we were ready for a coffee talk. Alfredo, the owner of the ranch we are staying at, told us all about the coffee here in Costa Rica and even let us sample some different kinds. He actually owns a coffee plantation and produces delicious coffee called Ñor Alfredo Coffee. Later, we all went to the lake to kayak or swim while others took a siesta. After swimming, we played some more exploding kittens, showered and headed over to dinner. Tonight, we had barbeque chicken, French fries, beans, and more. As I am finishing up writing people are headed to the fogata (campfire). Where we will enjoy each other’s company and eat marshmallows (probably while Mr. Correnti and I blast Dua Lipa).
Friday April 19, 2019
What’s up amigos!
We had kind of a late start today, which was much needed because of all the late nights we have had (and the insane games of exploding kittens should I dare add). We got to wake up around seven and eat a delicious breakfast and overall have a very relaxing morning at the home base.
After breakfast, we headed over to witness the stations of the cross at the local village. Not gonna lie, on behalf of all the students on the trip, we were all a little tired and not the most excited humans when it came to head over to the village. Despite this, when we got there, we jumped right into action and immersed ourselves into the town’s culture and religious traditions.
It was beautiful to not only witness the story but walk alongside Jesus on this special day. It’s not every day you get to walk through a foreign country with the one and only Son of God! Jokes aside, it was surprisingly a great morning, I guess we all just need to keep an open mind about things. Afterwards, we headed over to get ice cream with iguanas! It was super cool, and we saw a bunch of iguanas!
After this quick visit, we got back to home base and ate our lunch, and then immediately jumped in to a soccer game. The laughs definitely made up for the heat and sweat! Afterwards, we left to adoration at the local church, which was very beautiful to witness. On the way there we blasted Bruno Mars songs and sang at the top of our lungs.
Afterwards, we made our own empanadas (which I think many of us needed the help with cooking) and hung out before dinner. Finally, we ended the night telling spooky stories by the lake and probably another round of exploding kittens. Or another one. Or maybe just ONE more…
Pura Vida, Roji 😊 + A little motivation from Frijolito staring at me as I write this
Saturday April 20, 2019
5:30 am: ¡Buenos Días Chicos!
Now, you may be thinking, “hmmm maybe not the best time to start” but when I say it was worth it…it was worth it. Drowsy and tired, we awoke with the simplest idea of what our day had in store: horses + water. Everyone dragged on out of their rooms aware there would be a light breakfast. But to our surprise GLA had prepared for us the classic scrambled eggs, pancakes, refried pinto beans, and some fresh yummy fruit. And of course, you could never forget the Ñor Alfredo coffee. 7:00 am rolls around and now it’s time to head onto the bus.
The group was split into two: Don Ricardo and Mrs. Beeche with group 1 and Don Kevin and Ms. Leon with group 2. Later on, we arrived at the site where group 1 would begin their horse back riding. Everyone jumped off the bus as group 2 stayed on board. Just about a 5-minute ride away was the site of our so called “hot springs”. I know, we’re both thinking of the same thing.
Needless to say, we arrived at Kalambu Hot Springs WATER PARK. Group 2 hopped off the bus and waited in line for a good hour before the park opened. We had an opportunity to play games like slide, sticks, and even taught Mr. Correnti and Ms. Leon some of our youth slang. Once the park opened, we placed down our things and found huge water slides and tubes; even rides like those at our Aquatica back home.
Best of all, lots of pools surrounded by greenery and the stunning view of the volcano. By now it was time for lunch and both groups met at the water park cafeteria. Now we had switched and group 2 had arrived at the horse site while group 1 had their turn to share in the water park fun. Each horse was specifically chosen by height, weight, and horse experience and I was given a beautiful horse named Princesa.
One by one we commenced our journey through the jungles of Costa Rica. We enjoyed a horse ride filled not just with amazing beauty but even things like 60-year-old craters from the last volcano eruption! We were taught to steer the horses with their reigns and developed loving or even some not loving connections with the animals. Nearly 2 hours later we made it back down the mountain in awe of the stunning scenery.
Let me just say, this ride was by far the best thing I have EVER experienced in my life. It was time to head back to home base for dinner, but we made a quick stop in La Fortuna for a few souvenirs and some relaxation. After arriving at base, we had dinner and got ready to head back into Boca Arenal for a beautiful Easter Vigil Mass. We were able to witness the baptism of two adorable little babies and 4 other teens into our Catholic Community. The mass was filled with lots of joy in celebration of our risen Lord!
We even renewed our faith with a blessing of holy water and palms by the priest. We ended the celebration with a caravan around the town to let everyone know that Christ has truly risen! On our way back home, we enjoyed a little bit of music fun and soon enough it was lights out! I know this is getting long but what can I say; it’s been a great day! Onto the next!
Christina Hernandez 😊
P.S. don’t be surprised if I end up with a horse when we get back home, haha!
Sunday April 21, 2019
Greetings from Costa Rica!
Today we had a more relaxed morning, with a nice late start and breakfast at around 9 AM, the latest we have started our day on our adventurous trip. While it was a more chill start of the day, we spent our free time at the lake at the home base, and in the afternoon we went to a zipline up the mountain near the Arenal volcano, it was super fun and the students also had fun looking at the teachers scream and shout as they were going fast on the “Tarzan swing”.
Afterwards, the group got around an hour of walking around La Fortuna and some of us tasted a Costa Rican “granizado” (which is a Mexican “raspado”(shaved ice) with powdered milk and lechera.). On the way back everyone on the bus had a great time singing along to music.
Pura Vida Mae, Camilo. Yeahhhhhhhhh.
We started today with service at the elementary school. The service entailed a variety of different projects such as taking out the weeds in the school’s garden, painting tires for decoration and cleaning the newly bought area next to the school. Let’s just say that the paint was very messy and some of us came out with a new skin complexion. After service, we came back to home base and ate lunch. After lunch, we got ready to leave for a boat ride.
When we got to the place to board the boat, we found out that we were going to go rafting. We separated the group into 3 different boats, and we were able to swim in the river and even see howler monkeys!! After rafting, which was incredibly fun, we relaxed near the river and ate mini tortillas with queso fresco. After rafting, we went back to the home base and had a delicious dinner. After dinner, some of us played card games, and some of us went to the lake to stargaze.
Pura Vida, Hennessy
Tuesday April 23, 2019
Today we were able to do service at a smaller school that only had 13 students! All the students were incredibly energetic and outgoing. During this service day, we did different activities with the children such as playing soccer, dancing to music, and playing musical chair. In the end, everyone was soaked with sweat and were tired out by the little children. After service we went to the nearby corner store and bought ice cream and cold refreshments. When we went to the home base, we had lunch and then got ready to leave to the iguana souvenir store.
However, before getting to the souvenir store, we stopped at the supermarket for some snacks. Once we got to the souvenir store, we were able to get some more ice cream and see the iguanas. After the souvenir store, we went back to home base and went to the lake. During our lake time, most of us went swimming and kayaking. After lake time, we went to our rooms to finish all our packing and get ready for dinner. For our dinner we had some delicious hamburgers!!! And we are ending our last day with card games.