Greetings to the students of our first Costa Rica Beachside Service Adventure session of 2018!
Your proud team of directors and mentors – Callie, Daya, Michael, Carlos, Bridget, Sam, Sophie,
Chanel, Bethany, and Kasia – had the most amazing and memorable time with each and every
one of you. We hope that the following moments during the ten days we spent together felt as
meaningful for you as they did for us.
We had four service projects during the session, each one enlightening, challenging, and
enjoyable in their own way. Those of us at Escuela Paraíso chose an aspect of nature (such as
trees, farmers, sloths, monkeys, etc.) to paint in a school mural. We were lucky enough to see
the Paraíso students’ artwork and performances as part of the school contest, play soccer and
dance bachata, even witness a circular rainbow! With Avellanas, we sprinted after our intrepid
and sometimes zany community leader, Frank, as we picked up trash on the beach and painted
signs for the community. As a reward for our hard work, Frank and “Pollo” gave us surf lessons
and hosted a little fiesta at a neighborhood restaurant. And don’t ever forget our signature hand
clap and work song (“Limpieza de playa, en Avellanas, con mis hermanas, vamos a hacer”)!
All of us working with Restoring Our Watershed (ROW) had a host of adventures and surprises,
including milking a cow (some of us for the first time!), eating moringa seeds, and getting to
know our motorcycle-riding community leader, Alberto. Finally, Verdi Azul shone – with sweat,
but also with pride and glory – as we carried heavy logs, dug deep holes, and painted signs
(Calypso, Floppy, and Lalo provided the emotional support). On our last service day, along with
all of us at ROW, we put on relay races, did educational crafts, and (“Pato, pato, VACAS”) had a
stampede of cows interrupt our game of Duck, Duck, Goose. “Verdi Azul is very cool!”
From the meaningful: sharing stories of self, reflecting on what it means to be a responsible
tourist and effective leader, participating in our final appreciation circle; to the thrilling: Jellyfish
stings! Canopy ziplining! Trying gallo pinto and dragon fruit!; to the downright fun: fire twirling,
nightly games of UNO, bus ride dance parties, Zumba/T25 at 6 am…No question about it, we
will remember our ten days with you for years to come. We hope that wherever you are
(perhaps someplace just a little bit colder?), you are able to look back on your experience with
GLA and use what you learned to be the change you want to see in the world.
Now if you would all put your hands over your heart, and repeat after us: “Voy a reír, voy a
bailar, vivir mi vida, GLA la la la…”
-The GLA CR Beachside team