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Costa Rica La Pura Vida, Session 1 2018

June 24, 2018

This morning we woke up at 8 and had a delicious breakfast of rice and beans, eggs, watermelon, pineapple, and toast. Then we got in our bus and we traveled for about two hours to a sustainable coffee farm. We played some ice breaker games and ate a typical Costa Rican lunch made up of vegetables, chicken, and potatoes. For dessert, we ate pineapple gelatin. Then, we got a personal tour of the incredible farm from the owner Richie. We learned about a machine called a trapiche, and were able to see hands-on how sugar cane stalk could be turned into a liquid. We enjoyed some of that drink, jugo de caña, with a hint of lime. Then, we learned about coffee plants and how they grow. We saw how they are typically placed under larger trees to shield them from the sun and the rain, and then we learned about secondary forests and how important they are for both the well being of the farm and for air quality. After, we learned how to roast the coffee beans in a homemade machine, and were given the opportunity to grind the beans ourselves and create and package our very own coffee. Soon, we headed back to the hotel and had a bit of down time to clean up. We walked to dinner in San Jose and enjoyed a variety of typical Costa Rica cuisine. Afterwards, we got back to the hotel, did some skits to prepare for homestays, and went to sleep early to make sure we got a lot of sleep for the early morning soon to follow.

-Jane S.

June 25, 2018

At 5 am we were woken up for breakfast. We had a similar breakfast of rice and beans, eggs, toast, and fruit, and hit the road early. After an incredibly beautiful and scenic 3-hour drive, we arrived in the town of Fortuna. It was centered around a massive volcano, Arenal, and was so high above ground that we could almost touch the clouds. Soon, we were on ziplines 650 feet above the ground, through the Costa Rican rainforests. The feeling of being up so high through such beautiful landscape was one of adrenaline, fear, but most of all, complete and utter happiness. After this great experience, we stopped at an adorable restaurant in the town of Fortuna, where we enjoyed another great, authentic Costa Rican meal. Soon, we will be meeting our homestay families, and we are so excited! Pura Vida!

-Jane S.

June 26, 2018

After an afternoon of ziplining through the rainforest, we stopped in the busy town square of Fortuna to shop and experience the city life in Costa Rica. We looked through hand-embroidered bags, bracelets, and traditional sweets in the local chocolateria. We then got back on the bus to head to the community where we would meet our host families. We learned that the families were refugees from Nicaragua and the community center that we would help build was going to be a symbol of their culture that was lost in the move to Costa Rica. We were greeted by our families and shared a meal together as a group before heading back in pairs to our individual homes. We exchanged gifts with our host families and were given a tour of the home before settling into our beds. The next morning, we had breakfast with our families that included rice and beans and headed to the community center to begin working. We started the day with preparing cement that will eventually become a place for games for the local children.

-Sophie M.

June 27, 2018

Hoy fue un día muy chiva. En la mañana antes de ir a colaborar en la comunidad estuve desayunando con mi amigo Micai en la casa de nuestros padres de la comunidad. Desayunamos cereal, pan tostado con jalea, frutas y té frío.
El trabajo estuvo muy bonito y mientras trabajábamos, todo el grupo compartíamos junto con los niños de la comunidad. A medio día fui con mi amigo Micai a nuestra casa a almorzar. Comimos garbanzos con pollo y aguacate y fresco natural de piña. Luego de almorzar y descansar un poco, el grupo junto con nuestros guías Annie y Randall fuimos caminando a unas piscinas cerca de la comunidad con una chica de la comunidad la cual nos guió a las piscinas. Todos estuvimos divirtiéndonos un poco y después comimos galletas luego vimos un mono y los chicos estaban sorprendidos y felices.
Fue un día muy lindo
Soy tico
Pura vida ??

Translation- Today was a very awesome day. In the morning before going to work in the community, I was having breakfast with my friend Micai in the house of our parents in the community. We had breakfast cereal, toast with jelly, fruits and cold tea. The work was very beautiful and as we worked, the whole group shared with the children of the community. At noon I went with my roomate Micai to our house for lunch. We ate chickpeas with chicken and avocado and fresh natural pineapple. After lunch and a little rest, the group along with our guides Annie and Randall walked to a pool with a girl from the community who guided us to the pools. We were all having fun. After, we ate cookies,  and saw a monkey.  The boys were surprised and happy. It was a very nice day.

I’m a Costa Rican

Pure Life 

-Leandro C.

June 28, 2018

Day five was super special for me, my host family, and all of the students in the Global Works community. It all started at the end of day four for my roommate Ethan, my host family, and me. Ethan and I were invited to go to an English Festival with our host family. The English festival was just a normal spelling bee but we were invited because the daughter of our host mom was attending. This spelling bee was so special because Ethan and I never really connected with our family at first and this was a huge opportunity to do so. We all went to the spelling bee and Ethan and I found out we had to participate by telling the participants what the words were. We were a little nervous at first, but it ended up being really cool and fun.

So day five. Day five was very fun because in the morning we woke up at around 9AM, which is pretty late. Everybody in the group walked down to the town market from their different houses. Once everybody met up at the market, we walked to the senior home and talked to all the old folks in Spanish. Although sometimes it was hard to understand because they spoke amazing Spanish, it was super fun and was a great way to start the day off right. All of the seniors were really happy to see us and most of them were always smiling. We tried to teach the seniors English and fun little games like tic-tac-toe. It was an amazing experience. After the senior home, the group walked down to an elementary school and witnessed another spelling bee. After the spelling bee, we walked to the project which is a building  that was originally a big house that held around 60 immigrants from Nicaragua. That house is where we do some of our community service. At the project, we all did some paint-scraping and talked with the cute little Costa Rican kids, also known as Ticos. After some hard work, the group went to one host family’s house (of Jane and Maggie) and we all hung out. This day was a huge bonding experience for all the students because we all laughed and made jokes. And after that, the day was over. It was about 6PM and we all went back to the market on our way home. I got a lot of chocolate milk. We all went home to our host families and talked with them and just ended up having a great time.
-Daniel D.

June 29, 2018
We started the day off bright and early at 8 am, woken up by the gentle knocking of our host mom, Carmen. My roommate, Sophie, and I got ready for the day by making our beds, washing our faces, and changing into our work day clothes, as we did every day. Carmen had promised to make us pancakes, as we had talked about American comfort foods the day before, and so we joined her in making the batter and frying them over the pan. Instead of using Nutella and sugar to top our pancakes, we used a common creamy spread popular in Costa Rica, which turned out to be absolutely delicious. After breakfast was over, Sophie and I headed to the community center to start our long day of work. Day 6 consisted mainly of continuing to chip the paint off of the main wall, as well as making concrete to complete the second table. Both tasks ended up being a lot of fun, as we were accompanied with the local kids, who joked around with us and taught us some new Spanish words.  We ended work at around 11:30 to break for lunch. Our host mom made Sophie and I a normal lunch of rice, beans, and vegetables, as well as a special oat drink for me to calm my stomach. I ended up napping after lunch, as work had taken a toll on me, and fell asleep to the sound of rain and dogs barking outside. We then went back to the community center at 1:30 to finish up the work we had begun in the morning. We ended at 3:00 to go home and take showers before the tortilla making activity we were having later that day. At 4:00, the locals of the community came together to the community center for an evening of eating, soccer, and socializing. This ended up being super fun, as we got to become even closer to the community through making tortillas, as well as meeting more of each other’s host families, and arguably most important, goofing around with the adorable little Costa Rican children. By 8, everyone in the group was exhausted but contempt with the day of fun and work, and parted ways to go home with their families to get a good night’s rest.

Pura Vida!
– Sasha

June 30, 2018

After a goodnight’s sleep, we ate breakfast in our homestays and headed to work. On the way, we stopped to pet many dogs, including three tiny puppies. We all arrived at the community center around 9 to begin our work of the day. After putting on sunscreen, we continued our work of chipping paint off of the front of the large building. As some people did this, others collected sand and rocks in order to make another batch of cement. We all laughed as the fire ants bit our ankles and shoveled the sand into the wheelbarrows. The cement we were making was going to be used to create table like structures along the windows to provide space to put and cook things on. We worked hard in the sun and were soon given another fun project. We were asked to clean off old tires that were not being used in order to create plant holders in the front of the building to make it prettier. We staked three tires on each side of the walkway and started painting them a pretty light blue color. Then we gathered rich dirt and filled each ¨flower pot¨. Then we put two large plants in the pots and finished our small project. Later we found out that the town was out of water, so the group ordered delicious pizza and ate it together while playing cards. After a couple more hours of work, we all went to the house of Elijah and Caleb to hang out and relax. We played games and laughed a lot. At 5:30, we all walked back to our homes. We ate dinner, played games, laughed, and practiced our Spanish with our families until it was time for bed. It was a very fun day.

-Maggie S.

July 1, 2018

Sundays in our community are days of rest and days to connect with our host families. In the morning we ate a breakfast consisting of rice, beans, eggs and a cup of coffee. After our breakfast we took a car ride seven communities over to our grandparent`s house. We share grandparents with two other students in the group, so they came with us. There, we searched around the finca (farm) for coconuts and different types of fruits. The men used a machete to break into the coconut allowing us to drink fresh coconut milk and eat the coconut meat. After that we ate lunch consisting of rice, chicken and once again a cup of coffee. We played card games and took pictures. We went back to our community and from there everyone had fun waiting for a party to start. Tamales and coffee were brought to us and we all had fun eating and enjoying Salsa music with the community.

-Elijah B.

July 3, 2018

This morning, we woke up with tears in our eyes as we said goodbye to our host families after 8 days. I think we all got much closer to them than we expected to, and saying goodbye was truly painful. After promising to return one day and getting on the bus, we started our 5-hour bus ride to Playa Uvita. Though the trip was long, it was truly worth it because of the gorgeous green scenery surrounding us at all sides. We then stopped at a restaurant called El Jardin and ate a great Costa Rican lunch, full of rice, beans, chicken, potatoes, and more. We also got to shop in their huge gift shop, and after ate some ice cream. After this, we piled back into the bus and continued our ride until we reached a beautiful bed and breakfast called Cabinas Alma in the province of Puntarenas. When we arrived, we quickly unpacked and went swimming in their beautiful saltwater pool. After a delicious homemade dinner that consisted of chicken, garbanzo beans, rice, and salad, we went swimming again under the stars that truly lit up the entire night sky. Soon, we showered and went to sleep, with great anticipation of the morning to come.

July 4, 2018

We woke up and had a great breakfast of eggs, toast, special homemade jams, papaya, pineapple, and banana. Then, we got on the bus and headed to Playa Uvita in the beautiful Ballena National Park. Here, we spent two hours learning how to surf through the warm, salty water. After that, we ate a wonderful lunch at a local restaurant, where we enjoyed chicken, rice, French fries, and salad. Then, we headed back to the beach and swam in the beautifully warm Pacific ocean, jumping over waves and body surfing. While there, we saw green iguanas in the trees, Basilisk lizards on the rocks, scarlet macaws flying through the sky, and many more species of lizards and birds. We walked out to the Whale Tail, a beach that juts out into the ocean in the shape of the huge tail of a Humpback Whale. After this, we rode the bus ride home, only to find a great surprise. We spotted two three-toed sloths lounging in nearby trees, and got to see them eat. Then, we found a family of Congo monkeys, including a nearly-newborn baby. After this, we returned to the bed and breakfast and enjoyed another homemade dinner of fish, rice, beans, chicken and salad. Finally, we ended the night with a cake and a small party to celebrate the Fourth of July. Once again, we fell asleep both exhausted and excited, knowing we would be doing it all again tomorrow.

-Jane S.