Hawthorne Valley School Costa Rica 2019
April 23, 2019
We arrived to San Jose, Costa Rica on Tuesday Afternoon. Carly and Chalo, our leaders, greeted us outside and we went to a restaurant nearby for lunch. It was hot, and all of the street signs were written in Spanish. We all recognized the relaxed temperament of Costa Rica, which our instructor Chalo called “Tico Time”. “Tico”, explained Carly, is what Costa Ricans refer to themselves as.
After a long bus ride, we came to Chachagua, and walked to dinner. The walls were crawling with lizards. While we ate, we practiced our Spanish with the Chefs. We felt a cool wind, and heard loud birds and insects of another planet; we’d come a long way.
April 24, 2019
After an early start at 5:30 AM and jumping back on a bus for a three hour ride to the base for white water river rafting, we stopped for a traditional breakfast for Costa Ricans. We ate white rice, black beans, sweet plantain, and scrambled eggs. After enjoying breakfast, we boarded the bus and headed to the river. The drive was a particular highlight and has been an incredible part of the trip. The small winding roads flowed downwards, almost vertical to the mountain. After being slightly terrified, we made it to the canyon floor and met our extremely outgoing and funny guides, and finally we launched into the river.
We paddled through the constant splashing of other boats, incredibly warm sun and awesome rapids. We drifted down the river while experiencing the quick wit of the guides. Eventually we made our way through over a dozen class 4 rapids. With all of us working together with our guides (mine was Santi), we managed to get through the rapids. After 4 hours on the river, we went to lunch and even picked up a few rafting friends on the long bus ride back to our incredible hotel.
Though we had a lot of time on the bus, with singing and some conversation, we all made it back in one piece. We had dinner and a group meeting and now we are all off to bed to get ready for an early start tomorrow!
April 25, 2019
Today we went to El Futuro, a small community in Costa Rica, When we got there we took a small tour of where we would be working and we also visited their school. The children seemed very excited to see us. We then split into two groups. My group was in charge of a room full of benches and tables, to prepare them for varnish. Later on in the day some of us went to play futbol (soccer) with the younger kids of the elementary school. It was clear that they loved playing this sport. It was a very hot day, but that did not stop them from running around. Some of us were very sore from our day of rafting. The food at our community meal was great, and the fresh fruit tastes amazing and it is served at very meal.
– by John D.
After our introduction to the community we were split into two groups. My group began the construction of a school room near the main church. We applied many layers of sunscreen, filled our water bottles, and began work. The goal today was to dig the 19 meter deep holes for the posts used to construct the classroom. We were given two different types of shovels, one sharper and more flat, and the other a regular garden shovel. Don Leo, a community member who was working with us, showed me how to loosen the dirt by pouring a bit of water into the marked spot and waiting for it to seep in before digging. It was easier than I had expected, and we finished about half the holes before lunch. The hot sun and humidity made frequent shade and water breaks necessary. It was gratifying to see the hole grow deeper and deeper, and the best part was when Don Leo measured the depth and said, “excelente”! We finished the holes and made sure they were ready for the next stage; concrete. After the holes were finished, we joined the children from the community’s school for a soccer game before heading back to the hotel.
– by Bryony
April 26, 2019
Compared to yesterday the day went very fast, working outside was a very energy consuming task, we had to mix concrete and pour it in the holes that we dug yesterday to hold up posts for the foundation of the soon to be Sunday school. Inside we got to enjoy the shade while working on finishing the sanding of the stools and began the process of varnishing them. A small group of students volunteered to create a mural on the walls of the kitchen and began to prime the walls in order to begin the outline (in pencil). During lunch we had a an opportunity to have a conversation with a small part of the community. Although the language barrier made conversation difficult in the end we managed to have a level of communication. They tried to help us learn common phrases, words and actions. Towards the end of the work day some of the community taught us how to make tortillas and told us “bien!” Or “MALO.” Depending on how the tortilla turned out, making sure that the next one would be even better. Today was full of hard work; we began to grow a sense of the community and learned that you can never use enough sunscreen.
-Yakko A.H. and Aryell B.S.
Gringo: Class of 2019
I do not understand
He just keeps waving his hand
Is he talking about a car?
Oh! It’s a Command
It’s digging a hole inside the land
I wish I could understand
This Costa Rican Spanish speaking man.
Performed by Yakko A.H.
Written By Yakko H, John D, Josh D, Paloma T, and Ms. Lee
April 27, 2019
One of the highlights from my day was when the Costa Rica women in our communal kitchen were thrilled with out willingness and diligence to clean up after ourselves and wash plates after lunch. Some of the women even invited me back to the community for next year’s town festivals. Several hours later when we were finishing the construction for the day, Don Leo, the man helping us construct the church classroom, stated how happy he was with our work and requested us to stay and help with his construction business. Although we had plans to return to the community for dinner, Don Leo continued insisting that we stay and continue to keep working together. I also noticed that every time a member of the community walked past us working on the mural they would stop and comment on how beautiful the mural was, and also how beautiful Costa Rica is. Costa Rican’s show a great amount of patriotism for their country. In this country nature appears to be deeply connected to the culture and the community. It is part of their everyday life, and they are willing to stop and take time to appreciate their surroundings.
When we first arrived to the community for our evening dinner party, the people seemed a little nervous. As the night progressed they began to relax, laugh, and enjoy the festivities as we shared games, dancing, and ice cream together. Even though we had planned to serve the women of the kitchen dinner first, in exchange for them cooking the meal, the younger women of the community immediately stepped-up and began to serve us. Three young girls from the elementary school danced in traditional dressed and soon pulled all of us onto the dance floor. We laughed as members from our group swung blind-folded at the piñata, until Phil broke it open and all the Costa Rican children immediately dove on the floor to collect all the candy. I could definitely relate to that childhood feeling of waiting on the piñata to burst to run out and grab as much candy as possible. Many of the kids did offer us candy after the silly traditional games that we played. After the piñata we began to dance with the small children (even though many of their parents looked at us like we were crazy). All of the construction crew was there to dance too! Parties really don’t need a language.
Written by Dove F. and Araya K.
April 28, 2019
Today we started normally with our breakfast at the hotel, but instead of going to the community to work on our projects, we visited the family farm of another Global Works team member named Crisley. On their farm they produce enough food to live sustainably for themselves, but the main product that they sell is cheese. Crisley showed us the whole farm and the cheese making process, and also gave us a little bit of the background on how their business got started. Afterwards we were able to try rolling the mozzarella-like cheese ourselves. He made the fresh cheese by stretching out cheese on the table after removing the solid milk from a boiling pot. We rolled the stretchy cheese into little balls, and packaged them to cool in a bucket of water, and later to be sold in the local markets. After eating at Crisley’s house we thanked his family and headed out to go zip-lining.
Written by Kana P.
Zip-lining has been one of my favorite parts of our trip. From the moment of getting our gear on to when I was let go on the zip line over the trees, it ways exhilarating! I did not expect the seven zip line cables to be so long and high up. Watching each of my classmates expressions and listening to a few screams of fear and excitement made the experience even more fun. One example of this was hearing Phil scream like a girl on the first cable. The first segment of the zip-line I went on was some what terrifying, especially when I reached the end of the cable and approached the other platform. I thought I was going to hit the wall and I screamed! A few times I exchanged Spanish phrases with the guides, most notably, everyone’s favorite, “Pura Vida!” This Costa Rican phrase means pure life, which is exactly what I felt while flying my way over the dense Costa Rican rainforest.
Written by Sasha D.