It’s hard to believe it’s been so long since our Costa Rica trip has ended! Most of you are probably back in school, back to your regular lives. You’re probably missing your mid-morning empanada snacks and jugo.
By the time our session three students arrived, we finally had an idea of what we were doing and we were feeling like true Nosara locals ourselves, ready to share this amazing place with the students. Upon arrival, the majority of the students went to eat lunch near the airport while the final students landed. Upon arrival they pulled all the tables together so they could sit together and then after eating, they played cards and organized their own name game. Their high energy as a group after a long day of traveling was impressive to say the least!
From the very beginning the students continuously played a game called “assassin”, which they organized on their own and through which everyone bonded together especially during the first week. Sudden gasps could be heard throughout the day when students “assassinated” each other, whispering the words “you’re dead” in the ears of their targets at unexpected moments when no one else was listening.
Service at Santa Terecita was hot and dirty and hard, but the sense of accomplishment could be seen on the faces of our students. They worked hard together to get the massive cement blocks out of the ground, build a retaining wall, paint the salon, even the hill and floor behind the salon, put in benches alongside the soccer field, build and paint the playground, and rebuild a room for the teachers. The local kids always helped out with smiles and bonded with us through spontaneous tetherball games. Our hotel’s cleaning woman Marleni’s son named Josué would come regularly with a big smile. Certain local dogs including “Santos” also came and received lots of love from the students.
In addition to service, our days were packed with numerous cultural activities and adventure! From bread making workshops to traditional dances and cafecito with local families, we dove into the Costa Rican culture and learned a lot about the traditional ways of life for “ticos” in Nosara. Adventure days were filled with surf and paddleboard lessons, horseback riding, and zip lining all throughout the jungle. Our three-day trip up north to Rio Celeste included some wild hikes and whitewater rafting down the Tenorio river. Additionally milking a cow and a sweet tour of the trapiche (sugarcane) plantation were highlights of the trip.
Evenings were often time for mentor groups or free time for the students. One evening a leer snake about ten feet long was found behind the treehouse and I ran to rally the students to come check it out. A wide berth was given amidst gasps as we watched it slither up a tree.
We organized an “open mic night” for the students and gave them the opportunity to open up creatively to the group. The result was a spectacular night of performances that raised the roof off of the yoga pavilion. During any periods of free time, we could count on music bumping down below in the pavilion making the B&B sound alive at all times. Before bedtime, the students often sat out on the terraces of their rooms and would talk and share with each other.
The bonds and trust that were formed within this group could be seen on a daily basis, and most especially during their final capstone presentations. The students truly embraced the pura vida lifestyle here and bonded with true locals like Alvaro and Carla. These are just a few of the overall memories and moments that made this group a true tico family!