Costa Rica Children and Community 1A: June 28- July 12, 2021
June 28-29, 2021
We got to Costa Rica around 7 pm and had to go on a 2 hour bus ride, we had dinner at 10 and arrived late at night. We have been staying in bungalós with 4 per room. It felt very jungle like! It is really pretty here and there are a lot of different animals and plants. The first day we were told we were going to a cheese factory. It was much different from what a lot of us pictured. To get there, we drove through a village and a lot of the houses were small and made out of cement, tree logs as beams, and tin roofs and walls. A lot of peoples’ houses were also their family business including the cheese factory. We got there and the family was super nice and they taught us how they make their cheese, and how to harvest rice. We had lunch with the rice we “de-shelled” (not really sure what to call it). We made the cheese in a room in their house that was similar to a small garage. They will see the mozzarella cheese we rolled into balls! After, we walked around their neighborhood, it is very different from ones in the U.S because their are no real street names and everything is surrounded by farms. We got to walk around and see pigs and chickens, and try new fruits. Many of us also got to talk to the kids in Spanish and try to hold a conversation. A lot of us got to learn how different our lives are from the kids here by attempting to talk to the kids. It was super fun and we got to see how families make a living!
June 30, 2021
Today we went on a long bus ride and went zip lining! It was a lot of fun! There were 7 cables and one was a pair a cables where we got to race our friends. After that we got lunch and were able to relax and hang out for a bit. There were hamburgers, chicken nuggets, typical chicken dishes, etc. After lunch, we got back on the bus and went on a bumpy bus ride to our next hotel in the Costa Rican rainforest! We are sharing rooms with about 6 other people, and have gotten the chance to meet everyone and build new friendships!
July 1, 2021
Today we woke up the earliest we had this week! Coffee, eggs, orange juice, sausage, and watermelon filled our stomachs at 7:00am. Then, we headed back to our rooms to get ready for the day. The plan was to help rebuild some paths next to Pocosol. Most of us headed into this activity thinking we were going to be given machetes! It turned out that we were shoveling dirt into sacks, loading it onto an ATV, and laying the new dirt onto a rundown and muddy path. We were split up into two groups—one for shoveling and one for laying dirt. We worked for around three hours before we hiked up the path for lunch and a break. Lunch consisted of rice and more rice. Lunch went by quick and then back to work we went, and after two more grueling hours of work we were done! We started back up the path when all of the sudden it started raining buckets. After a while we all showered the grime out and then headed to dinner. For dinner we had rice and soup, all of which was great! We ended the day with a reflection and a meeting, and everybody was cooked, so we all headed to bed!
Harrison K. & Jack L.
P.S. No students actually drove the ATV!
July 2, 2021
We woke up and ate a breakfast of pancakes and fruit. After that we got our shovels and bags and headed out to finish our road reconstruction from the day before. Half of us worked hard digging up sand to put in bags that was then brought to the other half to lay down to make a trail. During this we hung out with a local kid who was our age and we talked with him through broken Spanish and Google translate. After working, we headed back to the hotel for lunch of fish, veggies and rice, and got to relax some after working. Now our afternoon task was to rake leaves off of a hiking trail that went around the lagoon. It was nice to see the whole lake, and while raking we saw a cool bird which Randall took pictures off. On our way back from raking we all decided to jump in the lagoon and swim around. It was a little cold, but it was lots of fun. After swimming in the lagoon we all got back and took a much needed shower. We had a quick meeting and a spaghetti dinner! After, we all played the games like Catchphrase, mafia, and card games. That was really fun because we could relax after the tiresome day.
July 3, 2021
Today we awoke at 8am and headed down for breakfast! We had pancakes, watermelon, and tea. We then COVERED our selves in bug spray and went on a 30 minute hike to see a big waterfall. The whole way we talked and chatted, mainly about the Kardashians and the Jenners. The view was really, really pretty. We then went back and packed/showered and went to lunch, which consisted of rice, the usual. We got in the car and drove about an hour to a town. We listened to a ton of music and probably annoyed Oscar, our driver, a little. In town, we got one hour to shop. Some of us shopped for jewelry, souvenirs, snacks, and we found a really good iced coffee place. A couple of girls even bought a baby chick! We got in the car again and drove back to the hotel, where we stashed away all of the snacks we bought and unpacked. Randall gave us a Latin dance class which was really tiring, but so fun! We learned bachata, merengue and salsa. At 7:00pm we went to dinner and ate fried chicken and french fries. We even got to do karaoke and we sang The Story of My Life by One Direction. Afterwards, we had a short recap of the day, got some chill time and went to bed.
July 4, 2021
Today we went to El Futuro for the first time to learn about the community and projects we’ll be working on. We met the president of the community council and he showed us all of the projects previous Global Works groups had completed. We also met several women who had been home stay moms and cooked lunch for us. Because it was so hot, we postponed our morning work and instead painted inside the large eating room. The idea was to capture coexistence and friendship between Costa Rica and the United States. Our group symbolized this through birds, painting a toucan and bald eagle on the same branch. In between them we painted Dula Peep, the chick we adopted. Underneath, we painted the words Pura Vida as an iconic Costa Rican symbol of an easygoing attitude. One of the women, Rosa, especially loved our painting so we decided to give it to her after signing and dating it. Later, she sent a picture of it in her home. It was amazing to know that she appreciated the gift and also that she would have a token to remember us by. After lunch, a quick rainstorm passed us and left a cooler, although still hot and humid, working environment. We got to work cleaning the fence to paint and shoveling dirt to the walkway of the Catholic school that we’ll focus on for the trip. Tomorrow we will probably start pouring concrete for its floor. Then after a quick soccer passing game, we headed home back to the hotel for a restful evening by the pool!
July 5, 2021
Woke up early to eat a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and rice. After finishing breakfast, we were on our way to the community El Futuro. In the heat, we cleaned off the fence so we would be able to paint it later, and dug up dirt to make a garden in front of their Sunday school. We also laid dirt to prep for the concrete floor that would be laid tomorrow. For our break, we ate a delicious lunch of rice, plantains, “torts” a fried beef patty, and mash potatoes. We went back to work right after finishing our meal, making sure everything was prepared for putting the concrete down the next day. After finishing our work for the day, we played a game of fútbol with our new friends, Alexander, Akai, and Schneider. After we finished with all the work and the game of fútbol it was time to leave, and we headed to our “buseta” to go home. We then had some free time and many people swam in the hotel’s pool to cool off. After swimming we headed for dinner and had a good dinner to finish off the day. Finally, around 10pm, we headed to our cabins and went to bed.
Michael L. & Peyton M.
July 6, 2021
What’s up guys?! Natalie here! Today was our third day working with the community. Previously we had cleaned the fence, and prepped for laying cement. As soon as we got to the work site we split into groups, some digging up under the fence others prepping for paint and the rest of us were mixing cement. The process is a lot slower than expected for most things compared to how quickly we can complete projects in the United States due to the abundance of resources. It’s very eye opening to see how much harder people here have to work to achieve the same result because they don’t have access to the same materials. The group leaders had a secret activity in store for us today. We left earlier than usual and we’re surprised with a visit the the wildlife rehabilitation center. Everyone was extremely excited as we got a tour around the wildlife center and learned about the different animals. Our tour guide was super chill and a low key comedian. First we stopped by the the macaws, only red and green are native but there were some blue macaws which are from Brazil. (Side note remember the movie RIO, “Blue” was a blue macaw 🦜). We learned about how people illegally have them as pets, the first two birds we saw were pets that were injured and will never be able to fly again so they get free range at the center. Other macaws were in their habitats as the workers try to assimilate them to the wild again. There was one bird who was mixed between a red and green macaw which is very pretty but not practical since the two birds are from the opposite coasts of Costa Rica. Next are parrots, they are illegal to own in Costa Rica since they are native but as you may know many in the US have them as pets. Our tour guide explained this saying “you can’t have bald eagles as pets because they are native and we protect them but other countries can”. It’s the same with the parrots they try to protect what’s native to their country. (The monkeys were my personal favorite so I’m going to save them for last). Another exhibit was the pigs which they have 2 types, the boar which is extremely aggressive and the smaller wild pigs which are much more docile. Not much to say about them other than that pigs eat EVERYTHING making the boars dangerous in the wild since they travel in such huge herds. Costa Rica has six types of wild cats including Pumas, Panthers, Jaguars, Margay, and two others that I don’t remember, oops. At the wildlife center they had a Margay which is the smallest wild cat in Costa Rica. She was very well taken care of and extremely relaxed which is good to see since anxious cats pace a lot. (Like lions at the zoo). We got to see 2 species of the raccoon family one who was hit by a car and has neurological damage. Lastly the monkeys. The spider monkeys, white faced monkeys, and howler monkey. The spider monkeys were my favorite. They told us about how to get baby monkeys—people kill the mothers, so everyone you see with a pet monkey that means one less mother monkey. They work on “de-humanizing” them so they can be returned to the wild. At the end of the tour we got to prepare the food for the animals and set them on enrichment activities so the animals have to “earn” their meals, kind of like games! After the visit, we returned exhausted to the hotel, 10 minutes later it started pouring and my roommates and I decided to go dance in the rain. We ran around and ended up jumping in the pool! I loved today’s surprise and helping build the foundation for the Sunday school. Can’t wait for what’s to come!
– Natalie M.
July 7, 2021
Today was our last day in the community. We woke up and ate breakfast which was pancakes and fruit. After breakfast, we got on the road and went to the community. Today we painted the fence, and we also painted the door that lead to a supply closet. The group also finished making the floor for the school. We made cement and laid it down on the floor. We made the cement by adding gravel, water, and cement mix. The group finished and the floor looked amazing! After we finished the floor, we ate lunch. Today pizza was ordered! Chicken and salad was also available for us to eat. We ate with the kids and people that live in the community. Many kids that live in the neighborhood came and hung out with us while we worked, for lunch, and after. After lunch we played soccer and threw a ball around the with the kids in the community. We learned a lot about the kids and had a lot of fun with them. We also had the opportunity to speak with the community members and ask them questions about their day-to-day lives. It was interesting to hear what they had to talk about. We left the community after saying goodbye and went to the hotel. After that we went swimming for a bit, and we had a meeting where we talked about the impact of our service projects and where we were going for the last part of the trip! Tonight is the last night here in this hotel. We are leaving and going south to the beach! We hung out and had dinner. After dinner we went swimming again and finished packing.
July 8, 2021
Today we woke up bright and early at 5:30 AM, and brought our bags out to the bus. We had to leave early due to a scheduled protest that could potentially block some main roads. We all caught up on the missed sleep over the past couple of nights and slept on the bus. We stopped at a local Costa Rican restaurant for breakfast and enjoyed a buffet with homemade food and coffees. After breakfast we got back on the road and sang tunes while laughing and reminiscing on the trip. We then stopped and walked along a bridge that looked onto a river filled with alligators. Back on the bus for 4 hours until we stopped at a restaurant for lunch with a beautiful view over looking the ocean! After lunch we hopped back onto the bus until we arrived at our beach hotel. After settling in we walked 5 minutes to the beach and ran around on the beach during a gorgeous sunset. We took photos and played in the water, and ended with a team meeting overlooking the sunset and ocean. We walked back to the hotel and enjoyed a homemade barbecue and then all quickly passed out after a long travel day.
July 9, 2021
We started off the day with a delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, toast, lots of fruit and homemade coffee at 9am. After breakfast we took a group walk down the road to the beach where we hung out for about an hour and 1/2. We spent our time jumping in the waves and enjoying the beautiful views off the coast of Playa Uvita. After playing at the beach we walked back for another delicious lunch at our hotel and had another hour or so of free time before we went back to the beach to go surfing! Once we got to the beach for day 1 of our surf lessons, we got right to riding some huge waves! It was high tide which meant the waves were massive, it was a super fun way to start day 1 of surf camp. After wrapping up day 1 of surfing, we came home got all showered and had an American dinner of hot dogs and hamburgers while we all watched Jumanji as a group. It was a super fun day and we can’t wait for day 2 of surfing tomorrow!
July 10, 2021
Today we “took a breakfast” (as Randall says) at 8:30 of toast, rice, and eggs. We then walked to the beach right when they opened and went to our second day of surf camp. Today, we learned how to turn on the surf board. You turn your head 🧠 then shoulders then feet in the direction that you want to turn. We kaluahbunga’d🏼 and slouched the waves. After 2 hours of surfing we went back to the hotel and showered 🧼. We then ate lunch 🥗 of rice and beans. After, we went to a beach town 15 minutes away. There were boutique shops, ice cream, and souvenir shops. We spent 2 hours just walking around town and shopping. There were many dogs and cats wandering the town, too. We came back to the hotel and Group B surprised us at our hotel. We hung out with them for a little bit, and then we parted ways when we ate dinner. We had burritos and pizza for dinner and watched some of the México 🇲🇽 soccer. We headed to bed 🛏 early tonight because we are going whale 🐳 watching tomorrow! ️ game.