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Costa Rica: La Pura Vida (Session 4) 2016


Hola CRH4,

Can you believe in less a little over a month we’ll be in Costa Rica eating gallo pinto (a breakfast specialty of rice and beans, spending time in an amazing homestay community, and zipping through the lush canopy! We are excited for our upcoming adventure exploring the beautiful country of Costa Rica and serving in a very special community with you!

Esteban is home in Costa Rica – that’s right, we have our very own Tico (native Costa Rican) guide! Michelle is finishing up some work in the USA and will be headed down soon to join him and prepare everything for your arrival!

We’ll be reaching out to you in the next few weeks to go over trip details and answer any questions! We can’t wait to meet you!

Pura Vida,

Michelle Nance and Esteban Arguedas

July 31, 2016

Today was amazing! On the ride up to the village, I was so nervous. When Michelle said the names Felix and Amelia, my mind thought “will they like me,” “I hope my Spanish is good enough,” and “man, I hope she’s a good cook!!!” When we met all the families, each person greeted us with open arms and a big kiss on the cheek. Blake and I ate dinner with Felix and Amelia and at first, it was pretty rough. Neither of us had any idea of what the other was saying! Quite funny! But then Felix started showing us pictures of his grandchildren and frogs in his backyard; and at that moment, I knew we were going to get along perfectly. Being in a group of such amazing people makes me feel so excited to help them and make a huge difference in their lives! I’m so happy!

Pura Vida,

August 1, 2016

Today was our first full day with our homestay families, and first day volunteering. All of the families seem really lovely, everyone is so nice! When we woke up, we were greeted with delicious, authentic Costa Rican food (which included rice, eggs, fried plantains, and cheese). We loved seeing the pleasure of the parents when they served us. While work was tiring, we found motivation in thinking about how everything we did would impact the community in a powerful way. At night, we had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the culture of Costa Rican dancing. After, we helped the mothers to make tortillas. It was really interesting to understand the process of making food that the mothers do everyday. Dancing with the Costa Rican kids was fun-filled and exciting. Overall, we loved everything we did today, and are looking forward to spending the next few days with the community.

Pura Vida,
Pranav and Evelyn

August 2, 2016

We woke up this morning to delicious pancakes and even better locally-sourced coffee. Phoebe, Deborah, and I tag-teamed our Spanish skills to have a great conversation with our homestay mom, Yovanis, and her daughter, Nikki. I was so excited to learn about the celebration taking place in Cartago! I love learning about new cultures and the idea of a non-secular monoculture is so fascinating to me. Today is the festival of Costa Rican’s Virgin, el Virgin de Los Angeles. After breakfast, we put on our gloves and painted tin roofs bright red. We were all having so much fun, talking and laughing and joking! Time flew by!

We broke up for lunch, and my homestay friends and I had a delicious lunch made by Yovanis with tamarindo sauce from her tree. We had a short rest and then we went to the pool instead of working because it was too hot. I had so much fun! We played chicken and two hilarious games called “pterodactyl” and “honey I love you” that had us all in stitches. I really enjoyed hanging out with everyone, and truly appreciate that this experience has allowed me to become close with all these wonderful people. After we walked to our homes from the pool, Deborah, Phoebe, and I talked with Nikki and collaborated with her to figure out the plot of a dubbed Korean drama.

We oohed and aahed at the spectacular lightning – I was amazed, having next to no lightning where I live in California. I had a blast roasting marshmallows and dancing with the Costa Rican kids. We had dinner and ended the night with an impromptu dance lesson led by Nikki, who showed us some awesome bachata, salsa, and criollo swing moves. She also busted out some one sheets to teach us ballet folklorico. Overall, I had the absolute best time today and really bonded with my fellow travelers as well as my host family. I wanted to do a little more work on the community center, but I’ll look forward to doing that tomorrow! I’m so grateful for this amazing community and this wonderful adventure!

Pura Vida,

August 3, 2016

A day in La Pura Vida! A day in the life of a Tico/Tica is honestly one of the most exciting and exhausting experiences I have never had. But as I write this entry, I would like to acknowledge and applaud the wit and strength of my new friends. Our group started out the day bright and early by painting the remaining shingles for the roof. By mid-afternoon the heat wave came crashing down to us, leaving us all soaking in sweat. However, we persevered (perspired a little more) and painted on. Of course we balanced work with play by playing games with our biggest fans: the mini ticos and ticas of the community.

After we finished painting, we got our first taste of the typical tropical wet season. Everyone rushed to clean up and get to shelter, that is except for the mini ticos y ticas. The Global Works team huddled together, slightly astonished by the bolts of lightning scattered across the sky, while the kids were completely unscathed. They skipped, danced, and sang in the face of this fairly intense storm.  This “carpe diem” fearlessness has to be, in my opinion, one of the most admirable traits this community possesses. Not only is their strength displayed in the face of literal danger, but also on every new situation they stumble upon. For example, heir willingness to help us no matter what the task is. The fact that they are always welcoming to the unknown has helped us immerse ourselves in their world for almost a week now.

As these realizations surfaced, it has then that I decided I wanted to be that daring and fearless too. We should never be afraid to step outside of our comfort zone and sing in the rain. So far that is the most valuable lesson I have learned on this trip. To seize every moment and bask in the Costa Rican spirit of La Pura Vida.

– Jess B.

August 4, 2016

The day started out with Alana, Phoebe, and me eating breakfast at our homestay mom’s sister’s house. We are at a traditional breakfast of rice, pinto, eggs, plantains, and delicious Costa Rican coffee. Today we got to work on the community center all day, and we were all happy we didn’t have to paint again. We poured concrete into large holes in the ground that will eventually turn into pillars that hold the roof of the community center. The process was made easier by a cement mixer.

Since tonight was our last night with our homestay families, we had a great fiesta with wonderful food, a lot of pictures, and a piñata. Each of us said a “speech” in Spanish to our families. The day was very and fun-filled, so once we got back to the house I did some quick packing and crashed in bed. I will always remember the wonderful times spent with the local community and the loving homestay family!

Pura Vida,


August 5, 2016

We started the day off with a very sad morning, we had to say goodbye to our families. After a lot of hugs and tears, we went on our way to the rain forest, leaving our tight community to enter the big tourist city of La Fortuna. Zip lining was so much fun, a nice way to end an amazing week. After zip lining we headed for a late lunch. The grocery store and souvenir shop were next. After buying gifts and trinkets, we started for Heliconias.

A short drive away, but when we got there, reality hit that we would be leaving tomorrow. Deborah, Blake, and I reflected back to the beginning of the trip when we all were awkward and nervous to meet each other. The night ended with a great circle of us all sharing our thoughts and feelings about the trip. To sum up everyone’s feeling, they loved the trip, people, and everything was great!

Pura Vida,