Global Works Community Fund ~ Tico Times 2022
July 8-9, 2022
The beginning of our journey to Costa Rica was July 8th at 9pm. Although there was little to no trouble going through security it felt like an eternity as we were all anxious to be in Costa Rica. When 11:59pm hit we got in line for our first flight to Houston International Airport. This would be the first time flying for some of us but the excitement clouded all the nervousness. Getting off the plane after 4 hours of flying was hard and you could see the exhaustion of our faces. After quickly looking for some snacks we waited for the long awaited flight, San Jose. Costa Rica. Skipping to when we finally got off the plane, we successfully went through customs (after a little bit of a situation, aka didn’t know where the hotel was located), and grabbed our bags. The moment we all dreaded came… It was time to turn off our phones and turn them. Meeting our bus driver, Emilio (who was the coolest by the way), loading up the luggages, and driving off to get lunch. This was by far the coolest restaurant ever, there were peacocks, PEACOCKS, roaming free and the most adorable kitten. Although one (or two) of us were scared of getting eaten alive by the peacocks, we successfully ate our delicious lunch and headed to the hotel. La Dehesa is a beautiful and large hotel, getting here we had a couple minutes to relax and then had our orientation. We played a fun game and then looked at our itinerary. Global Works has some super fun stuff planned out for us. After orientation we had an hour to nap and chill in our rooms. We left for dinner around 7:30pm and had the most delicious food, honestly the best. After that we headed back to the hotel to rest for our long day and talk with our roommates. After a long day, it’s time to recuperate energy and HAVE FUN!!!
With love from Costa Rica,
July 10, 2022
Dear GWCF families,
Today was the first day that we had fully spent here in Costa Rica, it was definitely an eventful day. We started off our morning with a nice breakfast. We had bread, eggs, pineapples, and rice for breakfast. It was definitely good, the food here all has a very authentic taste, it is full of life and not just produced for mass consumption. We left the place where we had spent the first night here and headed to the cheese making farm. The person running the farm’s name is Crisley and we got to hear some of his background story. We then proceeded to go and see the actual process of the cheese making and actually made it, and it was definitely delicious. A lot of people were really excited about it, and once they got a taste of it, they couldn’t get enough. Once we had all gone through and experienced the process, we then listened to more of his backstory and the history of the company that he runs. His story was definitely inspiring as well as heartwarming, he was definitely a genuine person and his heart was in the right place. We then proceeded to get a walk around and even though it started raining as soon as we had gone out, we had a great time. Some people got the chance to hold a chicken, or look at the pigs up close or, in Ethan’s case, got to actually hold one and took a picture with them. The walk was definitely eventful on the way back, we got dumped on by rain, and we were able to look at Poison Dart Frogs. We hopped on the bus and took a nice little ride of 10 minutes to the place that we are staying now, Heliconias, and it was still pouring so most of us, if not all of us, decided to just walk to our designated rooms since we were already soaked. The rooms were quite nice with bunks and two bigger, softer beds. Once we had settled down a bit, we went straight to the pool and that was really nice, having the rain come down a little bit as well as having a warm and a cold side. Once we were done having fun in the pool, we then went to have some food with predetermined meals, they were good regardless. Once we had had our fill, we headed into a large gazebo and reflected on our experience so far. Everyone was so positive as well as having realized that the people here are so nice and have great ideologies. We have only been here for less than 48 hours, but the time that we have spent here has already become fruitful in a sense, with us being open and ready to help as well as having already felt a taste of the strong sense of community here. We passed through the first little portion, and we’re looking forward to the coming days.
From Costa Rica,
July 11, 2022
Dear GWCF Families,
What a day!!
We started with an early (for us) morning with a delicious breakfast (my favorite being the fresh fruit). While sharing our individual goals for the day, we went through the plans for the day: finally being able to start our community based service work! When we first arrived at El Futuro, we were mostly tired from the drive (about as long as the drive to Crisley’s farm… around 30 minutes), but ready for the work nevertheless.
Once we were there, we got a tour of the area by Orlando and were able to see what Global Works groups were able to do in past years (laying concrete floors, building changing areas for the soccer field, building office areas, etc.). While waiting for instruction for what we were going to be doing, we got to know some of the people around us; for some that meant being translators, and for others that meant waiting a bit for the punch-line of a joke because of the language barrier. None of us were alone in our experience though, and that is what matters most.
Once we got our instruction, we split into two groups: one to start painting a protective layer onto some exposed metal, and the others to dig holes/make concrete to expand a fence. After a bit of hard work on both ends, we switched jobs and got to work again.
When the concrete and painting group both got to a stopping point, it was the perfect time to take another break for a delicious lunch of rice and beans, plantains, avocados, fish, and some veggies. After lunch we got right back to work: painting the outside of the building and setting in the final posts of the fence. (When we get back to El Futuro, we will be able to finish the fence!)
We had finally finished both sections of the project when it started to pour rain again (not unlike Crisley’s farm). While most of us stayed inside where it was dry (despite the rain coming in from under the doors and through the windows) some of us decided to take the (possibly once-in-a-lifetime chance) to go “frolic” in the rain for a second time.
After quite a bit of rain, the bus finally came back and we loaded on, giving us a little free-time before dinner where we either hung out with each other, or took the chance to take naps.
Dinner was, as it has been this whole time, delicious!
After dinner we had our nightly check in/huddle and talked about whether or not we had been able to complete the goals we had set for ourselves this morning (spoiler alert: we all did!), and got a debrief on what will be happening tomorrow: another exciting day… you’ll have to wait and see.
With love and excitement for more adventures Costa Rica,
July 12, 2022
Dear GWCF Families,
Goodness, another exciting day!
With another exciting day done and in the books, we are happy to report back with what has happened.
Even though we had to wake up a bit early today, we were able to jump into our activities (Asis Rehabilitation Center for Wildlife, but I’m getting ahead of myself). Starting with a delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and, of course, fresh fruit, we were able to talk with each other and be able to get excited for the day. Once we got to Asis Rehabilitation Center, we had a little bit of time to check out the gift store before our tour began. (Most of us got something for our families, but no spoilers!) The tour began! We saw spider monkeys, white faced monkeys, native pigs, macaws, toucans, raccoons, and more! We even saw some more poison dart frogs. The next stop for our adventures was lunch, a delicious restaurant that served the virgin pina coladas in pineapples with fruit faces! Since there was no rain, we figured it would probably be best to check out a nearby waterfall now in case it began to rain in a little, and with what we had experienced the day before, we were more than willing to take the chance to miss getting drenched by the rain, and while the bus ride was long, it was worth it! The walk there was long and hard (500 steps down, and up… yes that is 1,000 total!) but swimming in the river and being able to take pictures with the beautiful waterfall was worth it 1000%. We spent longer than expected swimming and enjoying the nature of Costa Rica, so we weren’t able to adventure in the wilderness that is downtown La Fortuna, but that’s okay, because when we got back to Heliconias, we got a dance lesson! We learned three new types of dances, and kept dancing through dinner, which was (of course) amazing. After dinner and out nightly meeting, we still had a little bit of free time before lights-out. Some took that as extra sleeping time, extra long showers, or some more swim time in the pool. Either way, we are all worn out from the day, but ready for what comes next.
With love and bounce to our step from the beauty of Costa Rica,
July 13, 2022
Dear GWCF Families,
Today was off to a great start with the ability to sleep in for longer than usual. Sadly it was our last day at Heliconias so packing and cleaning was what was awaiting upon waking. When going to breakfast we were served plantains, rice, black beans and toast. It was more than filing, and we even saw our favorite stray, Benji. We then loaded the van with all our things and took a long very BUMPY ride to Monteverde Cloud Forest, where we later would be staying for the next two nights. We settled into the hotel got lunch and got our rooms situated. Most of us exhausted from our days here decided during our free time to catch up on sleep. Free time extended due to a fog surrounding us with pouring rain. Some of us decided to play some card games with our extension. After a couple of hours Mark thought it was good time to take a hike to visit a tall tree. It was rocky and muddy and THICK (as in the roots). We enjoyed the tree by giving it hugs, took pictures and we wanted to see if we could go around the entire trunk holding hands, we could surprisingly. We then had dinner which consisted of tamarindo juice, chicken, white rice, yellow mashed potatoes and salad. We then had our mandatory, legendary group huddle to reflect on today and things we are doing tomorrow. We then all went to sleep, saying goodnight.
Sincerely your Costa Rica group,
Graciela Juan D. (with help from Kiki)
July 14, 2022
A hard day in Costa Rica! We started off the day, with a healthy breakfast, from our great cooks, and spent our first night in the Cloud forest. Not alone though, we had some bugs around our rooms and crawling around. Waking up bright and early at 7am was quite the change for many of us, some of us tired, others wide awake and ready for our long day of work ahead, with many adventures. Our breakfast was quite plentiful today, we had some waffles, along with some fruit, and a drink made out of a fruit that was just the best. After our breakfast, we had gotten a presentation, from a lead scientist at the Cloud forest, about some of the interesting facts and restoration of Costa Rica. The Cloud forest alone had many species of frogs, birds, snakes, and even more animals, along with the slow and impactful change that has been going on in Costa Rica, raising the amount of Forest that take up the country. After our very informative presentation, we got some boots on, and walked down the trail to our work site for the next couple of hours. For our work, we filled up bags with sand from the river, and right after would dump the sand, to make a strong trail together. Even with the many holes in our boots, that rushed in with water, and our scaling system to 106, we worked hard for two hours and persevered to the end. After our relentless work, we went up for lunch, and had a hearty soup, with many different vegetables, some I would never even have unless I went on this trip. After taking off our boots, and putting on a new pair of socks, we went back down, to finish up our job, some of us switched, others decided to change their jobs. Just when we were getting back into the groove of things, a sudden burst of rian started coming down, and lightning started striking, so we decided to go back up. The rest of our day was open, and we used our time, playing UNO, showering and making jokes. Nearing the end of our day, we had a new member added to our team, Andy who had been gone on other trip, but still made it on time to join us for dinner. To end off our day, we went on a night walk, where we found tiny snakes, many many, frogs and toads, and some creepy bugs. Lastly at the end of our walk, we were told to turn all of our flashlights off, and got shown some bioluminescent sticks, which were really just fungi instead.
All the way from Costa Rica,
July 15, 2022
Today we began our day with breakfast at 7am, and ate some delicious rice and beans with ham, cheese, plantain, and home made tortillas made by Shirley. This was our last day at Poco Sol, and we all are going to miss everyone there so much, especially Shirley and her cooking. After breakfast we hiked back down to finish working on the trail, adding on thick layers of sand to make the trail smoother for future hikers. We enjoyed some Bad Bunny while working, along with chatting and getting to know some of the workers at the research station. We taught our bestie Marvin, who claims he doesn’t know a word in english, a line from one of the most iconic movies in the history of the world: “where you been loca?!” We miss him already. We continued working on the trail until lunch time, and enjoyed Shirley’s cooking for the last time. We ate some delicious salad, gallo and rice, and some fruit juice that i forgot the name of but it was so so good. Then it was time for us to leave, and we piled onto two buses to make the drive back down after saying our goodbyes. We drove into the city of La Fortuna, and walked around in the central plaza for two hours. We discovered many overpriced souvenir shops that all sold the exact same things, a tasty churro stand, and the exhilarating taste of fresh mamones, or what Americans call rambutans (similar to lychees). We bought some chocolates, jewelry, magnets, trinkets, fruits, clothes, and stuffed animals. After shopping for a bit, we got back on the buses and headed back to our favorite hotel in the existence of the universe: Heliconia’s. I love this hotel because of the natural hiking trails, the people, the food, and how nice the bathrooms are. We had a little bit of time to settle in before having a nice dinner of chicken, salad, rice, and fries. Today, we discovered our beloved Benji is actually a girl and renamed her to Lola. After huddling up at the end of the night, a lot of us went to the pool and played Marco Polo before settling into our cabins for the night.
From Costa Rica,
July 16, 2022
This was the first morning back at Heliconias again. Everyone was stoked to be back here. The rooms are so nice and big. There’s this beautiful green scenery over here and they even have a heated pool on one side. Anyways we woke up and got ready for breakfast. We had delicious pancakes and eggs and headed to the bus to El Furturo. It was our second day over here to help with the community service. We are trying to get the community center more nice and polished up so it feels more like home for the community. We dug up holes, made cement to fill up the holes, and also painted the walls and doors. It was super hot tho so many of us had to take a break and chill for a bit. For lunch we had pasta, rice, beans, and plantains which was delicious. Literally everything here tastes so good. Right after we all played a round of ninja which was super fun but got competitive at the end. We continued working for a while and then decided to back to the hotel with our friend Brandon from the community. He wanted to come with us since he wanted to join us in the pool. We had a pool party and played many rounds of Marco Polo and did races in the pool.
After swimming we cleaned up and went to dinner. We actually ran into this other Global Works group at dinner who were amazing. For dinner we had fish, fries, and rice which was delicious since we had this really good alfredo sauce over our fish. After dinner we usually do debriefs so for today we had to draw something on a flashcard to describe something about today. It was cool to see everyone’s explanations of their drawings since everyone had a different experience. It was time to go back to our rooms and say bye to Brandon. While we were on our way back a group of us met these awesome people from London and kicked it off so well. We wanted to talk more so we walked to this soccer pitch and just sat there and talked to them for almost an hour. It was super fun, but we had to get some sleep so we went back into our rooms.
From Costa Rica,
July 17, 2022
Today was our second morning back at Heliconias. We woke up to sunny blue skies. For breakfast, we had toast, ham, eggs, and the option of fruit. The hotel dog, Onyx, hung out with us for a bit. After breakfast, we headed out to El Futuro to continue our third day of community service. We arrived and our group split into two. One group dug holes, mixed cement, and poured it, while the other painted the doors of one of the community buildings. The weather was pretty good today. It was sunny and warm in the beginning of our work, but the clouds rolled in and blanketed us from the scorching heat of the sun. Even with decent working conditions, we made sure to stay hydrated and take breaks. We would go to the store across the street to buy drinks and snacks to keep us motivated through our work. Lunch was at noon, so we wrapped up painting/digging a bit before to rest up. Lunch was soooo good. We had a ground beef patty with masa, fried yuka, a salad type thing, and rice and beans. The drink was strawberry banana juice and it seems popular among everyone.
After lunch, we had a scavenger hunt which we had to use our Spanish skills to complete. We continued to work after that while inviting locals to play soccer with us after we finish work. The soccer teams were 8 vs. 8 with GWCF members and locals distributed into both teams. Playing with the locals was fun, but eventually we had to end the game and say our goodbyes. We realized the bonds we had built with all the community members and the work we had helped accomplish within the past few days. Saying goodbye to everyone was difficult and bittersweet. We’ll all definitely miss the community members very much and appreciate all the kindness, strength and care they’ve shown us. When we got back to the hotel, we bumped into the family from London and the other GWCF group also staying here. We spent our last night making new friends and prepare to leave for the beach tomorrow. See you there.
Missing everyone at home from Costa Rica
July 18, 2022
Today we woke up at Heliconias for the very last time, we had breakfast at about 7:30am and gathered all our belongings right after. We then loaded up the bus with our suitcases and got comfortable for our five hour ride to Uvita beach. For the beginning of the ride we had to settle for the radio since our service was lagging a lot but eventually we were able to play our music and jammed to Bad Bunny. About three hours into the ride we stopped at a buffet style restaurant, had lunch and grabbed some snacks before getting back on the road. Majority of us decided to nap for the last two hours of the ride and suddenly we had arrived to Uvita! It took us about half an hour to acknowledge and settle into our new rooms at Tecal hotel. We then got ready and went off to the beach, where we took pictures, saw a couple crabs and began chasing waves. After spending two hours there we headed back to our rooms, showered, hung out for a bit and then went down for dinner. For dinner we had spaghetti and salad accompanied by a yummy sweet tea. Finally, we ended the night with a group circle where we discussed today’s events and shared a quality we appreciated about ourselves.
July 19, 2022
Today was a fulfilling and free spirit day with lots of different emotion flowing around. We started off with a chill and late breakfast at 8:30. The morning was laid back and there was a lot of free time in between. We had breakfast where we got to serve ourselves pancakes, gallo pinto, scrambled eggs and some fruit choices. After breakfast there was free time for about two hours, then last minute souvenir shopping. With some luck at stores we were off to lunch. Lunch was short lived but delicious nonetheless. In a hurry we went back to our rooms to change for our surf lesson. We were lead through the basics and how we would be learning to stand up on the board. We had a couple practice rounds where we would laid on the sand and tried to get up. It felt a little silly in the moment but worth it in the end. We were split in between two groups from the non swimmers (or not confident in their swimming abilities) and people who know and trust in their swimming abilities. When we got there the tides were calm and shallow. There were lifeguards present at all times and instructors with every group. Surfing was tiring but there was a 15 minute or a little more if needed, break in between. There was some snacks, cold water, oranges and some mini bananas. We all were having fun while catching some waves, and feeling the wind on our face and or hair too. We came back to our rooms and got ready for dinner. Showered and clean we were off to the bus. We were told there was gonna be a beautiful view and it didn’t disappoint. It was a fancy looking restaurant and there were rocking chairs to chill and watch the view of the ocean. The food was good and worth the wait. We had our huddle over at the restaurant and emotions were high. We appreciated others and the time we’ve been having here in Costa Rica. We returned to our rooms and had free time till lights out at 11pm. Ready for tomorrow!
Much Love from Costa Rica, seeing you soon