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Costa Rica Middle School Service Adventure 2024

June 23, 2024

Today we woke up bright and early and had a traditional Costa Rican breakfast. We then went to our rooms and packed our stuff and then got on the bus. We had the two hour journey to the cheese farm and we bonded as a group doing icebreakers and other fun exercises. At the cheese farm, we started off with the tour of animals, vegetation and forest (where we got drenched!). We got to see cows and one of the cows was very interested in us. We also saw baby pigs and they were really cute, and chickens too. After seeing the animals, we made our way to some tables where we had nachos for lunch. After nachos and cracking open some coconuts and playing ninja and talking we got to make cheese – palmita cheese. It’s like a fresh mozzarella.

Afterwards, we made our way to our new hotel where we got our room assignments and unpacked our bags. We hurried to the swimming pool, where we have lots of fun as a group. We were swimming and playing ninja again but then it started raining so we went back to our rooms. After sitting for a bit, we went on a quest to find each other through the pouring rain and decided to sit by the pool and play cards. The entire group eventually joined us in a game of BS while the thunder boomed outside . Around 7 o’clock we made our way to dinner. We had spaghetti and alfredo sauce with mushrooms and toast. During dinner, we played telephone as a group and had good conversation throughout our time. Then we went to a gazebo and started with an icebreaker game to get to know each other’s names, then played the warm wind blows, which helped us find our commonalities. Afterwards we talked expectations, and how we want this trip to go and learned about the very good slogan of LUCS, which stands for feeling Loved Understood Comfortable and Safe as a group. #LUCS We then headed back to our rooms and heard about a toilet overflowing, which was a little funny, considering that it wasn’t our bunk. It was dealt with quickly. Now we’re headed to bed and excited for more adventures tomorrow! Good night!

By Carter B, Devers, Gracie, Myla, and Sadie

June 24, 2024

This morning, we woke up around 8. We ate pancakes with some coffee for breakfast. Then we got on the bus to go whitewater rafting. On the way over, we sang a lot of classic tunes, like “Let It Go” , “California Girl” and “Country Roads.” When we got to the rafting place, we got helmets and lifejackets. We went on some crazy rapids. We ate watermelon and pineapple during rafting on a beach. The pineapple had great flavor. We saw around 12 iguanas. We saw sloths and a basilisk lizard, the lizards that can run on water. After rafting, we went to the pool. We played some community games before dinner. It started storming on our way to dinner. We got soaked while walking to the restaurant. We had some chicken with fires for dinner. Our favorite part of the day was the rafting. Those rapids were really enjoyable and will be an experience we can look back at.

By Josh, Ali, and Will

June 25, 2024

In the morning, we woke up at 6:30/7:00. Then at 7:30 we had breakfast and left at 8:00. We had an hour drive to go zip lining with more singing. We sang the songs Mr.Brightside, frozen and A million dreams from the greatest showmen and more. We took a gondola up a mountain above the tree line. We took some pictures and saw the biggest lake named Arenal in the distance and the volcano, also named Arenal. Some people saw a howler monkey. On some of the zip lines you could do 2 people at a time and reach a high velocity. Everything around you looks like a semi blur. There were 7 zip lines, 2 were short and the rest felt like minutes long even though in reality it was 30 seconds. It was really fun. We went to the town of La Fortuna and ate at a restaurant. Then we walked around the town and bought souvenirs. Some people got mugs, snow globes, bracelets and stuffies. Many of us met an older man named Mario, who sold whistles that looked like animals made of wood. They were very artistic. One of them represented different animals when looked at from different angles. Then we went back to the hotel. When we arrived it started raining really hard. Everyone ran fast to their cabins and everyone got drenched. Some kids chilled in the cabin while others went to the pool’s covered area and played card games. While playing cards there was a lot of thunder and lightening. Then lightening struck a tree not very far away from us. The tree started shaking. It was very loud and it hurt our ear drums. There was a really bright light in front of our eyes. Everyone left the pool area and it continued to storm. Power went out for the cabins for a solid 15 minute. After a while the storm finally subsided. Some people went to walk on a hiking trail. Then people hung out and people went swimming. We played a friendly game of tag in the pool. Then we showered and headed to dinner. The counselors decided for us to mingle with others and we got assigned seating. We may do this some more in later dates. I think it was nice to talk to other people on our trip and everyone seems nice. I enjoyed it. After dinner we went to the hot springs and chilled together. All the boys sung let it go in the hot springs. Everyone is having a fun time on this trip.

By Jaiden, Xander, and Martin

June 26, 2024

Today we woke up early and had a filling breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon, and fruit. Today was our first day working on a community service project and we were excited to check it out. We drove 15 minutes to a local school in a community called La Lucha. We were greeted by the students who gave us a presentation on the different regions of Costa Rica. We got to try different foods from each region, including fruits, chorreadas (corn pancakes), and arroz con leche. Then we got to play soccer and tag with the students.

After that, some of us started to help paint a wall of the school building and the rest of us were helping to mix concrete for a construction project. Later, some of the students at the school were participating in an English spelling bee and some of us watched while a few of us helped out. We had lunch at the school which was ate rice, meat, platano, beans, cauliflower, and delicious fresh pineapple juice. Afterwards we went to a convenience store next door and got snacks like chips and cookies.After we got back to the hotel from our excursion, we did a dance class in the gazebo with Randall, another global works leader. We learned 3 different types of dance – salsa, bachata, merengue. We practiced them along with the music and it was really fun to learn and experience. It was cool to learn something new and get out of our comfort zones.

When we finished, we went to the pool and we played for a long time and had a lot of fun, even though it was raining a bit. For dinner we had arroz con pollo, frijoles mollidos, ensalada, y tortillas tostadas.

We’ll head back to the school tomorrow to finish up some of the projects we started. Goodnight!!

By Naomi, Jésus, and Arlo

June 27, 2024

Good evening!

Today we started out the day with gallo pinto, toast, and eggs. Then we left at 8:30 to go to the school where we’d been working the day before. Half of us worked on concrete and creating a new sidewalk, while the other half finished the second coat of paint and spreading gravel. After difficult manual labor, we went into the school cafeteria to have chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies, rice, beans, and plantains for lunch. After that wonderful lunch, we played more bonding games as a group, including mafia and frog detective. Then, we chilled and finished our projects while playing cards. After that, we took a 15 minute bus ride to the animal rehabilitation center and met our guide named Carlos. Carlos brought us to many rehabilitation enclosures taught us about the animals in them and the dangers threatening them in the outside world. He also scared us a bunch of times, which he was really really good at. In the enclosures, we saw monkeys, many different species of birds and a pig with spikes. We also saw a very small cat called an ocelot and we saw an animal in the raccoon family that scavenges for food a lot called coati. Carlos told us a story about them injuring a driver because they wanted food so bad. Also we learned about how when these wild animals are human pets it makes it very hard for them to be rehabilitated back into the wild because so many bad changes have happened while they were with humans, so please don’t take monkeys out of the forest is the lesson we learned.

When we got back to the hotel, some people went in the pool. Then we had a dinner of yummy burritos and french fries where we did assigned seating so that we could socialize with other people and we think it worked pretty well. After that, we did a reflection on our community service and then did shout outs – we would compliment others that we noticed did something that was worthy of a shout out. Then the counselors told us we couldn’t hang out if we didn’t pack so we rushed to get our bags packed and now we are here writing the blog!! Bye!

By Carter B, Devers T, and Taylor A!

June 28, 2024

Today we woke up to a sweet tasty breakfast of two pancakes and lime juice. We hopped on the bus for a 5 hour drive to our next place. On the bus we got to make a playlist. We each picked one or two songs for the playlist. We enjoyed singing along to them on the ride. About mid way through we stopped at a restaurant and got some delicious local food. We then hopped back on the bus for two hours until we arrived at our destination. We started to see the coast, we felt excited about seeing the ocean. We arrived to Uvita, a town on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. We then hopped back on the bus to go to a yoga class where we stretched and relieved our muscles and stress. We went to dinner and had an amazing spaghetti with garlic bread and chicken. We then ended the night off in the pool. We made a whirlpool by running around in circles. We can’t wait to surf tomorrow morning.

By Tommy, Theo, Bay

June 29, 2024

Today we woke up early for breakfast at 8:30. We had a buffet of gallo pinto, pancakes, eggs, and fresh fruit. Then we took off to go to our surf lesson. We walked about 5 minutes to the beach where we were greeted by our surf instructors. They gave us a lesson in the sand and then we split into groups and went in the water. Most of us were able to stand up on our boards by the end of our time, which felt so fast!

We came back to the hotel for a lunch of beef tacos. After lunch, we went back to the beach and we stopped by a small stall by the beach where people got ice cream and shaved ice.Once we were back at the beach some of us went back into the ocean to jump in the waves and some of us stayed on the sand digging holes.

When we got back from the beach we showered and some people played cards or made friendship bracelets. We also made a “hair salon” and some people got small braids in the front of their hair and other people got their hair put into a bunch of tiny ponytails.
For dinner, we had hamburgers or chicken burgers with fries. Then we did an activity where we wrote letters to our future selves about our experience in Costa Rica. We’re headed to bed early tonight because we have to wake up super early for a hike tomorrow!

By Myla, Sadie, Gracie

June 30, 2024

Today was really relaxed. We started the day with a delicious breakfast, and then we moved on to a short nature hike. We walked through the national park near where we were staying. First we walked through the trees and then on the way back we walked on the beach. It was grey and raining and some of us were getting our feet stuck in the sand. Then, we headed out on our 4 hour bus drive to head back toward San Jose. The 4 hour bus drive was felt quite long but we were able to socialize a lot

After the bus ride, we arrived at our hotel and started to prepare for the goodbyes ahead. We played a closing game before our final dinner, pizzaaaaaaa!!!!! After a few card games, we got our phones back. I feel like the whole trip went so fast. I just can’t believe that the trip is over already. We were all able to make lots of friends and bond together. This trip has truly been magical and for all of the students in this trip, I love you guys!

-⁠Copeland and Carter G