It was so amazing to have such an awesome group come together for the last two weeks of summer!
It seems like yesterday we were all eating rice and beans together, getting ready to embark on a new adventure and meet our hundreds of new dog friends at Territorio de Zaguates.
Today we want to share with you some of the memories that stuck out from the trip!
To start off our trip we went to the capitol of Costa Rica, San Jose, to see some sights, hug some trees, and try some coffee. We ate lunch at La Tortilleria then broke off into small groups to practice our Spanish with locals. It’s no surprise that Kelly’s group won the challenge! 😉
Then who could forget adventure day! We zip lined, enjoyed a nature walk, and a slow-mo aerial tram. We saw a tapir, a lot of spiders, frogs, snakes, butterflies, birds, and even a sloth!
Our first mentor groups gave us a chance to get to know each other even better. We made our flags with our group names (! and Pepe’s Peeps) and shared some values we thought were important to uphold throughout the trip. Everyone in the entire group went above and beyond those initial values and we thank you for that!
We finally arrived at Territorio de Zaguates to meet our new friends. Our three groups worked extremely well together(yay assembly lines!) and at times even took song and dance breaks… I see a Broadway career in some futures. Together, over the two weeks, we completed a beautiful mural at the front gate, finished tiling the much needed vet clinic, and pushed ourselves to move cement blocks while riding in the back of a truck, painted a fence that seemed impossible to turn green, pulled out trees to be replanted, moved hay, and mixed cement. Then mixed more cement. Then mixed more cement. Until we started dreaming of mixing cement.
All of our hard work definitely paid off and we were even able to wash dogs one day as a much needed treat! We finished all projects started before, and created a better image for TdZ! I hope we will all return one day! You honestly were one of the most hard working groups; you knew very well that we have an aim to everything we do and that we also have fun!
GLA is about learning, service, but also about fun and we had so much of it! One of the best and most relaxing days we had was at the hot springs. We got to enjoy the warm water heated by a volcano, the view, the food, each other, and a calming yoga session led by Smara. To top it off, she introduced acro yoga and everyone had a blast! How fun was it to work as a team to achieve poses that many thought weren’t possible! Our student led activities were fun as well! Lap game – where we laughed a lot and learned more about each other and a series of charades, the human knot, and Simon Says. Our group was full of natural leaders and it definitely showed!
Zoo Ave rescue center gave us an insight on the life of some rescued animals and we had some more delicious ice cream and smoothies. You now know the story about Grecia and how technology can impact in a good way the life of wild animals.
What about dance classes, where we learned salsa, bachata, and the Costa Rican swing? Exotic fruits tasting, Spanish classes and cooking empanadas?
The coffee tour was full of laughs, coffee tasting, funny hosts and of course….wifi!
Who could forget the hike to the waterfalls?! We were well on our way through the mud until Ricardo got us lost 😉 and we had to backtrack through even more mud, but we finally made it to swim in beautiful blue water! After, we ate lunch, then some of us went on a second hike to one of Costa Rica’s tallest waterfalls…in the rain! That was a nice workout day. When we got home we had a surprise…. pizza dinner!
Beach day was so awesome! Playing soccer, having burritos, smoothies, brownies, and more POPS, riding the waves with our team of talented surf instructors, and enjoying fresh fruit after. We pushed ourselves to try something new and it was amazing.
Our final hike with the dogs was challenging, but rewarding. Seeing all the dogs run free and cuddle with us reminded us why we were there in the first place.
It was truly a trip to remember and our lives won’t be the same without you all and all those hugs everyday!!! Every day with you felt like a blessing and I am thankful that I watched you all step out of your comfort zones and grow as leaders. You were all very open minded and adapted to the local culture with ease.
Our wish is that you will continue to grow every day, and that the new perspectives you gained in Costa Rica will help you take initiative to positive impact your communities at home, and that is wherever in the world your home may be. You all have such great energy, we hope you spread it everywhere you go!
Thank you so much for being part of this Costa Rican adventure, we also learned so many cool things from you all!
The adventure never ends and the best is yet to come!
-Samara, Kelly, Pepe and Ricardo