All Posts

Wonderfolk Costa Rica 2023

July 7, 2023

Our Arrival
Hey family and friends back at home, we arrived safely. Stepping off the plane we were immediately hit with the humid air and temperature. “It smells warm” a group of us agreed. After picking up the rest of our luggage, we met up with Emma again! She was holding a cute sign welcoming us to Costa Rica.
I was heating up so bad. Ended up tying my hair into a top bun to relieve the back of my neck from the sweat. Fortunately, the bus driving us to our hotel had an amazing AC system. Driving around the city as it hit midnight was really cool. Definitely a lot different than what I’m used to.
The hotel we stayed at was called Casa Cielo Grande. The boys had one house to themselves. Eleven of us were to sleep together (separate bedding) in another. And one other group of four stayed in their own house shared with a Global Works family. We figured that those who really need the sleep should go with the group of four. I slept with the group of eleven.
Our house was moderately spacious, containing 3 bathrooms, 5 single beds, and 3 bunk beds. Assigning ourselves to a bed took a while. I gave up my spot and switched beds 3 different times making sure that the rest of the girls each had a bed to their liking.
I shared a room with Jadyn and was greeted by a small gecko on our wall. The entire situation was funny and quite hectic but we safely led the gecko outside.
Staying the night there with everyone was really fun! We all stood up pretty late though. (We got our good nights rest don’t worry.)
~ Leolafaith’s Blog

July 8, 2023

Hello dearest followers! We are on day two of our Costa Rican adventure. Today we were told to be packed for the next hotel and ready for breakfast at 7. In the morning. This is exceptionally far out of my comfort zone but I complied and woke up at 6. I was absolutely exhausted but I was excited for the day ahead. I washed my face and whatnot, but I really wanted to shower. I didn’t have enough time but I felt super sticky and gross from the heat and the amount of bug spray I had used. I packed up all my stuff, carried it outside, and headed to breakfast. The view from the house we ate breakfast in was insane, so pretty! After breakfast we headed onto the bus and off to a cheese farm!!!! It was a 2 hour drive but I couldn’t sleep and didn’t have anything to entertain me so I kind of just looked out of the window. Once we got there, we went straight into the presentation. We learned all about Crisley and his cheese business, and the struggles he went through to get where he is now. It was very inspirational. Afterwards, we went into 3 groups and got to make our own cheese! It was such a unique experience and it was really cool to see how it was done. I was in the 3rd group so in the meantime I played with the golden doodle puppies!!! They were so freaking cute and maybe a month old at most. I carried them around like they were my children. There was also a cat on the lot, who was very cute. After that we had lunch made by Crisley’s wife and kids. It was exceptionally hot outside so it was a little hard to enjoy my meal. We went on a tour of the rest of the farm and there was a lot of fruit, like star fruit, mango, and guyanabana. We went further up and there was a pig who had given birth this morning! Tons of little baby piglets, we even got to hold them! They were cute but they squealed a lot, annoying. Soon after, we said our goodbyes and hopped on the bus to our next hotel, Heli something. We got our room assignments, and headed off to our rooms. At this point it was POURING rain. Not even the raincoats could help us. We got some downtime to settle in and shower, which I really needed. The humidity here makes you feel pretty darn sticky. I hopped in the shower and immediately felt better. I went and visited others rooms, and there was the scariest thunder ever. It was soooo loud. After our downtime, we had orientation where we went over rules and future plans and whatnot very standard. We went to dinner after which I was very happy about. We had burritos and fries at the restaurant on the property, and did an activity about community guidelines. I loved the fries by the way they were scrumptious. Since I am the blogger of the day, I also had to announce tomorrows plans to everyone along with what the plans were for after dinner. I felt like a teacher to be so honest. All went well though! After, most of us headed down to the pool to get a night swim in! It was probably like 7 at this point, and I had the longest day of my life while running off no sleep. Still had to get in the pool though! I was pretty reluctant to because I had already showered, but yolo! I had so much fun splashing around in the pool and learning how to dive and whatnot. Soon I got tired of that and came back to my room. Where I am now. Writing this. That has been my day so far and I’ll probably head to sleep after this. Don’t miss me too much guys.

~ Aday

July 9, 2023

Hola Chicos! It’s day three of Costa Rica and we are SWEATING. After the first night of sleep with air conditioning we felt a lot more awake and actually had time. Started the morning off with a little bit of anime (very crucial to our day) and then we headed down to breakfast. Everyone was served a plate of unbelievably sweet chocolate pancakes that hurt my [Hayze] cavities. We dripped syrup all over the pancakes and got a tiny bit of protein from the ants inside of it…. We had to make a quick stop by our cabins to grab last minute things so we hitched a ride on the golf carts. The driver absolutely LOVED sloths and we stopped a few times to look at them in the trees. They move a lot faster than you would think, they have so much fur and look so heavy. Fun fact sloth in Spanish is peresozo! Soon after we traveled to a cacao farm where we learned the anatomy and process of a cacao. We were greeted by the richest mix of sweet and bitter smells, no place we have been to has smelled this good! We got the chance to drink hot chocolate in between each step, the first cup was so bitter we had to chug it in one very foul gulp. By the end of the chocolate process to drink tasted like pure chocolate, you could taste the difference between this cup and what we have at home. After grinding the cacao beans we were put even harder to work by juicing sugar canes. The physical exertion that the sugar cane grinders put us through was absolutely insane, but I [Natalie] barely broke a sweat and carried Hayze the entire time! We went on a hike around the farm and looked at the plants and learned about the animals that they tried to bring back to the habitat. We then went into town where we got colones (money) and got to explore the markets. I (Natalie) was about to buy a popsicle but the cashier totally gave it to me for free! I barely understood him though and looked dumb standing there. We then went to lunch in such a homelike restaurant with dogs and a beautiful view of a forest. We then headed back to Heliconias for dance lessons! The heat mixed with our two-step cause for a lot of sweating. We learned to dance bachata, merengue, and salsa and got to dance with each other too. Some were obviously better than other but the most important part is that I [Hayze] was better than Natalie. It was so hot that right after we all jumped into the pool. I (Natalie) was throwing rocks and playing dolphin with everyone. After two days of swimming I (Hayze) learned how to swim! After the pool trip we got changed and headed to dinner. During dinner the rain slowly starting creeping up on us, it got louder and louder until the sound of the raindrops overpowered everyone’s tiny voices. Our teenage urges took over and a group of us ran out into the rain, we put our dance lessons to work and danced bachata in the rain. It was very much a movie moment.

Hearts from Hayze and Nat

July 10, 2023

On day 4 of our adventure, we traveled to the highs and lows of Costa Rica and experienced the Sky Tran Zipline course. My group’s anxiety built as we began to ascend the mountain. But as soon each individual went through their first zipline, our confidence rose. I (Tammy Tran) loved the strong winds and the speed of the course. Admiring the nature of Costa Rica was a thrilling experience and marked as a core memory for some. After the zipline course, we traveled to the town of La Fortuna. My group and I bought several souvenirs for our families and ate at a local authentic restaurant. Our souvenirs included hats, post cards, jewelry and clothes.

The humid temperature was foreign to us. But as the days pass the weather became the least of our worries. After shopping downtown, we returned to the hotel and was served fettuccine Alfredo for dinner. It was one of the best we’ve ever had on this trip!

Following that event, we had a debrief session and added a new rule to our community agreements: I Got You. The rule indicates that we have each other’s backs in any situations that is to come, including reminding others of certain items and looking out for them.

Concluding our day, some of my peers enjoyed the pool while others (myself included) journaled their night away.

~ Tammy Tran

July 11, 2023
It’s day five and the small adventures and moments don’t stop coming. We woke up to a new addition to our Costa Rican group! Natalia was away on her other adventure in Spain. We welcomed her at breakfast before we started our short bus ride to the community in which we will be doing our service. My eyes were burning with tired. We met some of the leaders of the community and got a tour! We started with the bull ring. The fence blue and red and the heat sweating out the group. We searched for any amount of shade. On the tour we saw the buildings and projects that Global Works has helped build over the 25 years we’ve worked with the community. Along the way we saw people who are a part of the community waving and saying hola as we pass. Once we were done with the tour we played soccer and badminton, a group of us headed to the local convenience store and got a variety of snacks, mostly ice cream right before we headed out to lunch!
We stopped at a local restaurant. Most of us order milkshakes, our food starts arriving. When it arrives the people who ordered tacos are left with a little confusion because instead of the tacos we have in the US, we were given rolled tacos deep fired. They were eaten with no complaints. The sauces seemed handmade with ketchup and a sauce that looked like ranch but tasted like coleslaw. The food was beyond good with cabbage and fries.
Then we were off again to Proyecto Asis Wildlife Rescue Center, where we take a tour of all the animals that are being rehabilitated. We started with the birds the most colorful ones I’ve ever seen, we learned about how one of the types of birds lives for a hundred years but only ever has one mate after that mate dies the other one does too in less than a week. A rather romantic thought but there was one sad situation with two birds of the same species but different breeds like a donkey and a horse but birds. They were mates but can’t be rehabilitated into the wild because they can’t be together while being out in the wild, because their breeds live on opposite sides of Costa Rica.
After the birds we saw monkeys!! All fuzzy and small it was incredible to be able to get so close. After the tour we were assigned to make the food for the animals, which involved cutting up fruits and veggies so each animal gets the same amount. We get handed toys for monkeys like ones for dogs to get them to play to get their food. We then go and feed the animals! Where we learn more about alphas in the monkey world. Finally we go to the souvenir shop and head back to our hotel and spend downtime before dinner. We pack for our long journey tomorrow to the cloud forest!!
~ Noe
July 12, 2023

Hey guys today you’re gonna see the world from my point of view aka Mildred. I’m gonna write this one in English then in Spanish.
Today when we woke up we had to put our suitcases in what used to be a beauty salon at Hotel Heleconias. Robert help me take some suitcases and once we were done Emma asked us if we could help take some bags to the restaurant. One of the workers pulled up in a golf cart and he offered Emma a ride so… me and Robert hoped in! Once we got there we just stayed there and waited for everyone else to start coming in. Violet, Linna, Merrylin did their makeup at the breakfast table. It was so fun to watch how other people do their makeup and how it’s different from others. Once we were done with breakfast Emma told us to start getting ready to get on the bus and make sure you have everything; and to fill our water bottles of course. I asked one of the workers if I could get some ice so I had ice water that came in real handy later…

We separated into groups to fill up the buses and load our luggage. Emma, Syniah, Sheilisa , Tammy, Jaydn, Cynthia, Marrylin, Aday, Noe, Robert, Linna and me!! We were on the BIG bus and it was still tight. On the “newer” but smaller bus it was Yisak, Hayze, Natalie, Natalia, Leolafaith, Ethan and Mike. We were listening to music and then Sheilisa said I have good music taste and it made me really happy!! Then others people wanted to listen to Taylor Swift and I didn’t have that so Robert put music on and they sang. The bus ride was SO BUMPY and Syniah kept bouncing around and it was so silly. About 20-30 minutes in we were going and then the small bus was rolling back and we got scared but then they went up really fast and passed the hill. When we tried to go up the same thing happened to us. The car stalled three times… which if you don’t know it’s super bad for the car 🙁 after three times the bus driver said the car can’t pass because of the grass so we had to get down and walk 900 meters. I wonder how many miles that is. The ice water I packed earlier saved us a few people took sips of it and it was heavenly. Even though it was hard we pushed through and made it, when we got up here the other bus had already been there and I saw Leolafaith playing badminton.

We relaxed for a little bit and then we got our rooms and it was five people per room ( except Robert and Yisak) I got roomed with Leolafaith, Syniah, Sheilisa, and Linna, so far it’s been amazing and everyone is so kind and caring. Through out the day we had such yummy food for lunch we had soup which had potatoes and I think duck because it didn’t taste like chicken and it had a wing. After that we had down time and Tammy, and Marrylin did Robert’s makeup and it was so fun. Noe then tweezed Roberts eyebrows and I’m so surprised he didn’t sneeze (when my cousins did my eyebrows I sneezed so many times and got teary eyed). We finished at 5:15 PM which was the time we were supposed to be down for the presentation.

We waited about  for the presenter to Arrive. Once they were here they did the coolest presentation about The children’s Eternal Forest. We learned about how it started and how the first teacher was invited to Sweden to talk about what’s happening in Costa Rica ( back when 70% of Costa Rica’s forest had been destroyed) this inspired the children to raise money and bought I think 10 Hectors of land ( it’s different then Acres I think), that’s the reason is called The Children’s Eternal Forest. After the presentation the presenter did a mini quiz and whoever got the question correct got little prizes Jadyn and Violet got it right.
Once were done we had appreciation time where we write down appreciations for people that did something that we wanted to appreciate today. I wrote one for the presenter and she was so surprised.

After we had finished that we did “ Hopes, fears, and goals” where we wrote about Wonderfolk and the six months we have been in the program. After that we had dinner, I don’t really like sea food because I don’t usually eat it so I got chicken. The beans were SOOO GOOD, then we had popcorn with condense milk for dessert. Then I did my little presentation on what we are doing tomorrow aka wear work clothes and bring your water bottle bottle etc.

Now we are back in our rooms and the girls in my room are playing a game called speed. This day has been so full of surprises and the view is so pretty.

P.S I miss you mom and to all the parents your children miss you and don’t worry we are all having so much fun we are all so excited to tell you all the little details when we come back❤️
Hola chicos hoy van a ver el mundo de mi punto de vista yo soy Mildred😋!!
Hoy en la mañana nos tuvimos que despertar a las 7 de la mañana y llevar nuestras maletas a un lugar del hotel Heleconias que era un salón de belleza. Robert y yo llevamos algunas maletas porque ya estábamos listos. Luego Emma nos preguntó si la podemos ayudar con algunas bolsas. Un trabajador del hotel paso con un carrito de golf y ke preguntó a Emma si quería un raite y Emma dijo que si. Luego Robert e yo nos subimos y fuimos al restaurante. Así que llegamos temprano esperamos que lleguen los demás. Violet, Linna, y Merrylin se maquillaron en la mesa de desayuno y fue muy interesante viendo como se maquillan de diferentes maneras. Después de terminar el desayuno Emma nos dijo que nos comenzamos subirnos en el autobús y subir nuestras cosas y llenar nuestras botellas de agua. Le pregunté a una trabajadora si me regala un poco de hielo y ayudó mucho durante un problema.

En los autobuses nos separamos en dos grupos Emma, Syniah, Sheilisa , Tammy, Jaydn, Cynthia, Marrylin, Aday, Noe, Robert, Linna e yo estábamos en el autobús mas grande y viejo. Aunque era más grande todavía estaba apretado. En el autobús mas pequeño pero nuevo estaba Yisak, Hayze, Natalie, Natalia, Leolafaith, Ethan y Mike. En el autobús Sheilisa me dijo que tengo buena música y eso me hice muy feliz. La carretera aquí era muy feo y eso hice que las personas salten mucho en su silla. Después de 20-30 minutos miramos que el autobús pequeño estaba rodando para atrás y nos asustamos, luego el autobús fue muy rápido arriba. Cuando nosotros pasamos donde del otro autobús paso nosotros nos fuimos para atrás y el carro se apagó. Eso era muy malo y el chofer lo intentó tres veces pero el auto bus no pudo. Luego nos tuvimos que bajar del autobús y caminar 900 metros para subir. El agua frió que traje fue muy bueno y lo compartimos y era maravilloso. Cuando llegamos mire a Leolafaith jugando Badminton.

Nos relajamos por un ratito y luego nos dijeron quien vamos a compartir nuestro cuarto con. Somos cinco personas por cuatro ( excepto Robert and Yisak) a mi me pusieron con Leolafaith, Syniah, Sheilisa, y Linna. An sido muy amable y cariñosas. Luego durante nuestro tiempo de descanso Tammy, y Marrylin maquillaron a Roberto era muy divertido. Noe le depilo sus cejas de Roberto estoy sorprendía que no lloro para nada y tampoco estornudo. Cundo a mi me depilaron mis cejas por mi prima yo estornudé mucho. Terminamos a las 5:15 que era el tiempo que teníamos que bajar para la presentación.

Esperamos para la presentadora y durante ese tiempo jugamos juego que se llama charades. Durante la presentación nos enseñaron sobre el Bosque Eterno De Los Niños, y como comenzó. Comenzó por una maestra que la invitaron a Sweden para hablar de la deforestación de 70% de los árboles en Costa Rica. Esto influenció a los niños a juntar dinero y comprar 10 Hectores de terreno. Y por eso se llama el bosque de los niños. Después de la presentación la presentadora nos preguntó diferentes cosas sobre la presentación y si lo contestaste correcta mente te ganaste un regalito. Jadyn y Violet ganaron unos regalitos que contenían chocolate y Violet me regalo un chocolate.

Después tuvimos una reunión donde hablamos de “Miedos, Metas, y Esperanzas” donde escribimos de Wonder Folk y nuestra experiencias en esto seis meses. Luego cenamos una comida muy rica y los frijoles eran deliciosos y para el postre nos dieron palomitas con leche condensada.

Ahora en el cuatro están jugando juegos pero ahora estamos platicando sobre nuestro día.

P.S. Te extraño mucho mami y familia. Para todos los padres sus hijos los extrañan mucho pero no se preocupen porque nos estamos divirtiendo mucho y estamos emocionados de contarles todo los detalles. Los amo

– Mildred

July 13, 2023
Today marked the first day of our actual service work here in Costa Rica, as well as our first full day spent in Poco Sol! We got to wake up to an absolute downpour, which woke some of my roommates up, but I was dead asleep. Our lodgings have a beautiful view of the forest, and it’s been a nice escape from the super hot and humid city. We ate one of the best breakfasts yet in my opinion, with eggs, toast, fresh pineapple (it’s so much better here) and a queso empanada! It was the perfect fuel for a long day of hard work.
After breakfast, we suited up in our rain boots and jackets and started a hike to our destination- a riverbed where we spent two hours shoveling sand and rocks into bags and transporting them to a hiking trail. It was HARD WORK. But one of the best parts was how having to be cooperative and work together had really visible results! Having an opportunity to make areas more accessible really reminded us all what we’re here for, and put us in connection with one of the pillars of wonder folk, our nature hood!
We kept a positive attitude and gave our 100%, so our lunch felt even more rewarding. We had rice and beans and pasta salad, which we INHALED before me, Linna, Robert and a couple friends took a quick nap before heading back to work for a couple more hours. We also got to work with a couple of staff here in the rainforest, like Marvin, who’s incredible strength and energy kept us going. Also, we had some sing alongs and generally kept morale up to do our best until the moment we were done at 3, when a couple people jumped in the lake and then we headed back to home base, exhausted and dirty, to take a lot of showers and have a few hours of rest. We were all so tired that we just zoned out and snacked while dealing with all the brand new bug bites we got while out working.
We got back together at 5 to prepare for our homestays tomorrow!! We practiced some Spanish and fought off swarms of bugs before we had some yummy soup together and played some games to finish off our day. Tonight we’ll be packing and preparing to leave Poco Sol, and start the next chapter of our stay here- our service in our home stay community!
Now it’s definitely time for bed, but hello and we miss you to everyone back home!

Buenas noches, and much love from Violet

July 14, 2023

This morning was an early one. We mainly spent our time packing up our bags and saying our goodbyes to the cloud forest. After a traditional Costa Rican breakfast, we decided it was time to start our trek back down the mountain. Our group was not fond of the hike and there was lots of complaints; however, we soon found that we were in front of one of the most incredible views ever and despite the long walk to the vans it all became worth it. (Especially when met with the cold from the vans AC).
After retrieving our suitcases from Heliconias, we headed to the homestay community to start some community service. We painted la escuela and cleaned up their fútbol field before we were promptly met with an unexpected visit from our home-stay families. They brought homemade food and lots of excitement for many. Me and Leolafaith were nervous about the language barrier between us and our host mom.
After lunch, we continued the service work in the field. My group was definitely tired however a dog kept us company and amused us for the rest of the time. Before we knew it, it was time to go home with our families. Many of us had a car that picked up our luggage and some of us got driven back to the houses while others had to walk. Our host mom, Marilyn, came and picked us up on foot with her daughter by her side. On our walk home, she explained the scenery and the animals around us.
When we got back to her house we unpacked and chatted. Our host mom turned out to be more welcoming than we thought! We were able to relate on family dynamices and life in Costa Rica vs the US. Her daughter, Katy, showed us her rabbits, bunny and princesa, and we played while Marilyn made dinner. She even taught us how to make fried plantains and we helped by flattening then with a tortilla press. We ended our night with full bellies and tired from lots of conversations and games from Katy. We got ready for bed and fell asleep to the cool breeze from the window and the sound of the crickets. We still miss our families back in the states but our host family makes us feel like this is our home away from home.
Mucho Amor,

July 15, 2023

Ciao Friends and Family!
I’d never thought up until today that I’d be woken up by the crow of a rooster at the crack of dawn. It was a lovely start to the day along with a delicious breakfast that consisted of eggs, rice with beans, and fresh passion fruit juice. Shortly after, my roommates and I headed off to our meeting place to begin our morning activity. The stories ranged from frogs on faces, geckos in the shower, to being woken up by a horse beside your window.
After many giggles and laughs we began to start our service work, one group painted a shed, the other group painted the outside community bathroom, and in my group we shoveled a drainage ditch in the grass. We were actually able to see the ditch in action as its purpose is to help create a little river of water flow out into the street rather than creating a big muddy pile of water. When it rains here, it pours, quite literally. We had just wrapped up a days work of service and all of a sudden, lightning strikes and then two seconds later we heard the BOOM BOOM from the thunder. Never have we heard such frightening thunder like we did today.
Luckily, we were able to make tortillas with our home stay families and other members of the community to ease the nerves. First they started off by showing us how to combine the corn flour with water, then we each got our own little ball of masa (dough) with a circular plastic to make the round shape of the tortilla, and lastly the home stay moms cooked them for us. For the cherry on top we ate the sizzling hot tortillas with natilla, pico de gallo, and potato YUM. Though, we were STILL waiting out the rain, we had a blast playing connect four, badminton, and soccer with kids from the community.
To end off the night, Natalia, Hayze, and I played Costa Rican Uno with our host family siblings and we watched a romcom! Through all the bonding we made with our host families, we can’t help but think of our families back at home. We all miss you endlessly and while we’ve taken part in an experience to remember, we can’t wait to be back in your arms. Take care y’all, we’ll see you soon! Pura Vida!
#lol #misshome #puravida #wonderfolkrocks 😜
Nos vemos pronto,
July 16, 2023

Hello friends and family. Day 10 was very eventful. My roommate Robert woke me up around 8:30. It was day 3 of our home stay. We ate a breakfast of rice, beans, and eggs. Muy rico! After breakfast, we headed to the community center where we worked to finish our last day of service work. It was sort of delayed due to the rain, but I and Aday finished up the bathroom we were painting. It looked really good. After that, we had lunch with our host families at the community center. My host mom brought us arroz con pollo y heart of palm. It was really good! Our last service task was repainting a rusted fence. We used metal brushes to scrape off the rust and then used anti corrosion paint that matched the fence to keep it from getting rusty again. It was really nice to do a small task that helps a lot in the long run. Once we finished that, we got picked up by our families and went home to get ready for the despedida. It was around 3pm, and the despedida wasn’t till 6, so me and my family sat down and watched a movie together. It was nice to get another bonding moment in before we had to leave. Once the movie was over, me and my roommate got ready for the despedida and were on our way. When we arrived, I sat down and talked to my host brother for a bit before I went and socialized with my friends. Soon after, the host families came together and presented a bit of a speech for us. It was very sweet and heartfelt. This day also happened to be Emma’s birthday, so the cohort had gotten a card ready for her, so we surprised her with it and had everyone sing happy birthday. It was very sweet. After that, they served dinner. Rice with chickpeas, it was good per usual. Once everyone was finished, the real festivities began. The music started playing, and everyone started doing karaoke. People were dancing salsa and bachata, the dances we had learned in a dance class a few days back. It was really fun and everyone was having a great time. They even gave us ice cream! Around 9, it was time to head home. I watched part of a another movie with my family, until my host brother, Christian, had to go. We said our goodbyes and exchanged instagrams. After that, I got pretty tired and headed to bed. It was an overall great day and I have been loving the Costa Rican lifestyle. Adios! Pura vida!


July 17, 2023

This was the day we left our home stays and headed off towards the beach, our final destination. It was definitely a bitter sweet goodbye but also a moment where we all got to recognize how close we and our peers got to our host families. We woke up that day and finished any remaining packing that needed to be done and sat down with our host families to have our final breakfast with them. Everyone, peers and host families, knew to meet at 8 to say our final goodbyes and get on the bus. The bus was very fun although it took 7 hours to get there. Along the way we sang, read and took funny photos of each other sleeping. Overall the bus ride went quick talking and laughing with peers. On the bus ride we also got to see macaw’s and wild animals. Before arriving at the hotel we also stopped for lunch where many bought souvenirs for themselves and their families back home. Once we arrived at the hotel, Emma let us know where to go and who we were going to room with. It was exciting seeing our new rooms and roommates. We walked to dinner together and sat together at a long table, after we walked back and took a groups picture.


July 18, 2023
Hola, to all of our family and friends back home. We all miss and love you so much! This is day 12 of our Costa Rica adventures.  Today we woke up with a rush to surf. Our group had been looking forward to this day since our trip began.  Before we went to catch some waves we enjoyed a mini buffet-style breakfast at El Tecal.  Which was just the right way to start our day.  Of course it wouldn’t be a true Costa Rican breakfast without gallo pinto, scrambled eggs, and fresh fruit.  Starting surf lessons in the sun was uncomfortable.  Everyone’s laughter made us feel safe.  We knew this would be challenging when the surfboard was too heavy to carry into the water.  Some of the group members looked like naturals, while the rest of us fought the crashing waves. Leaving a few of us with war scars. After the first round of surfing we took a break to enjoy the view. Along with, some fresh fruit and ice cold water. The second round gave each group member a brand new mindset that continued to push them outside of their comfort zone. Some of the challenges we faced were standing on the board and pushing up on it. Ultimately, we finished strong and everyone had a great time.
On our way to lunch at El Tecal, we stopped to drink some fresh coconuts.  Then we attempted to crack them open with the last bit of energy that we had.  The coconuts were so bouncy that it rolled into the street and hit one of us.  Our lunch menu for today was build your own taco bar.  There was pico de gallo, lechuga, guacamole, pollo, pescado, salsa rojo, y salsa verde.  We also got multiple orders of tortilla chips that everyone finished in a millisecond. Our lunch was delightful and everyone cleared their plates. Majority of the group went back to the beach to hang out and play in the water.  The rest of us stayed back to relax and freshen up from our action-packed morning of surfing. On the way home from the beach, we stopped at the supermarket to get some snacks. While we were there, we stumbled upon this life-changing vanilla ice cream! It tasted like birthday cake. This special dessert was so heavenly. We totally forgot there was sand in every single crevice of our body from the beach.  Playing in the sun made us hungry. So onto dinner we went. The menu consisted of white rice, chicken, curry sauce, plantains, and salad. After dinner, we took another trip to the supermarket. As everyone made it back to the hotel we had free time, made noodles, talked by the pool, or chilled in their rooms. This was also time to reflect on our adventurous day. It was nice to give you all a snapshot of our Costa Rica journey. Have a wonderful day. Daily reminder to live life to the fullest !!!
Sheilisa & Syniah
July 19, 2023

Hello families!
Feliz Cumpleaños a mi~
July 19, 2023. It’s my birthday!

I was woken up by a sleepy voice, Linna was knocking on my door and as soon as I opened it she stared to sing me a happy birthday. I then got a call from my mom wishing me the best for all that I do and for a safe trip back home. Love you mom ❤️. The start was heart warming but even more as I continued my day. I got a letter written by all the members and mentors wishing me a happy birthday, letting me know their appreciation for me throughout the time they have known me, might have been a little teary. Finally seventeen and I’m glad I was able to spend it the way I did today.

We are almost back, y’all miss us? We miss you all too but know that we have spent all this time together and none of it has gone to waste. Every morning, although we had to wake up really early. We were able to spend each minute making a memory. Today we were able to spend a day filled with activities, not knowing what was coming ahead I pulled up to a hike, a long, sweaty, muddy hike. I was scared every minute thinking I would fall or trip or get bitten by an ant but at the end we were able to make it to a beautiful waterfall. The water was clear and as soon as we saw it I saw faces turn bright, even brighter as they stepped into the icy cold water. Without a doubt, the hike was worthwhile. It was able to make us forget all the heat we encountered on the way there, I screamed as I dove into the freezing water. I was able to enjoy that joyful moment as I joined the others who were laughing, splashing in the water, and going beneath the waterfall. After that, we returned to a beach where people continued to swim or went shopping for souvenirs to take home and mementos to remind them of the things they had done and been able to experience during their two weeks in Costa Rica. The day is a solid 10 out of 10.

While I’m not claiming I didn’t before, today was unique in that I was able to spend the day loving every second of it. I learned what it’s like to build genuine, meaningful relationships with people seeing the appreciation I received from others. This trip was a chance, not just for the travel but also for the relationships that we were able to make, the experiences we received, and the knowledge we learned from the people we encountered. Each person’s experiences were unique, but I think I can generalize by saying that for all of us, this is something we won’t forget, something that can spark a change in our lives, no matter how tiny. I’ve come to realize that I spent most of my time inside, in a place I called my safe space. However, I’ve learned that home isn’t just a physical location; it’s also a feeling of comfort, and that’s what I got to experience on this trip-in a different country, in a different setting, but still at home. Without thinking what I was doing so, I was looking for an escape from that. luckily this experience has shown me that, even when faced with a frightening situation, we may take advantage of the chance to develop and learn in ways we may not have previously thought necessary or possible.

An escape is not always something that you want but is sometimes something that you need, that is what I have learned from this trip.

See you all soon!
-Marrylin O.

July 20-21, 2023

Our last two days
Dear Costa Rica,

Throughout the last few beaming hours of us, the 2023 Wonderfolk cohort, lie here—we reminisce about the memories we’ve developed here and the communities that we’ve helped there. We give thanks for what has been given to us and for what we have been taught along the way as only kids in this vast world filled with an abundance of knowledge and culture.

As many of us took walks at dawn to early bird swims, we gather together for one moment together to be together as one until our long commute throughout the windy roads and mountains views. Breakfast leads to our last run to the store at Maxi Pali, a carbon copy of our Walmart, spending our last few Colones on snacks for our long five hour voyage. Frantic packing and our last look at a cockroach friend that snuck in the room alongside a frog. We load our bus for the last time with our baggage physically and mentally into escapades ready to head off to our last lunch. We over look the Pacific view peering North to where our home is taking picture for a spectacle for where we once was and maybe our last times here. Ordering our food and sharing our hopes for what is waiting for us back in the States, we rule our lunch table one last time as we overstuff our stomachs like our suitcases with food we shouldn’t have ordered. Rushing back to the bus so we’re on time with our frantic schedule, the food comas from our delicious lunch hit us and the five hour ride flies by. Lots of laughs, singing, and reminiscing fill the tall ceilings of our bus as we’re on the way back to San Jose. The impatience begins as everyone wakes up from their naps from the shining sunset and starts snacking to pass by time; filling our stomachs to the rim, leaving no space for dinner.

With the great restaurant view and scrumptious food options, we couldn’t help but eat some more to keep us full for our flights. The views, laughs, and time together at dinner continued to remind us of how important it will be to hold onto our memories and the community we’ve created!

As we get close to boarding our six hour flight and receive our phones back, we realize how much we never really needed them. Life was brighter, smiles were bigger, and laughs were louder as we were focused in the moment instead of our tiny devices.

Thank you Costa Rica for fulfilling dreams and checking things off our bucket lists. From swimming in waterfalls to dancing in the unimaginable pouring rain, we not only achieved our ultimate dreams but also achieved other families visions through our hard service work.

The rest of the stories we will share with you home, as we miss you as much as we will miss Costa Rica.

Linna and Robert