Millennium High School Costa Rica Trip Journal (February 13 – 21, 2016)
Trip Journal Update #1
February 14, 2016
After a long day of traveling we arrived at Costa Verde Inn. In the morning we were greeted by a rooster and the smell of Costa Rican breakfast. After we filled our stomachs, we jumped on the bus to Finca Integral doña Rosa/farm. There we explored all sorts of plants and interacted with lots of animals (including four puppies and a “loco” kitty). We were then treated with a delicious traditional lunch. After this we all relaxed under fruit trees while lying down on colorful hammocks. Then we ventured up hill where we learned the process of extracting juice from sugar cane and sugar-making and we even got to drink from the juice!
After we tasted the sweet treats from sugar cane, out tour guide, Esteban, led us in several group activities. The one that sticks with us the most was “don’t count the days, make the days count.” After that, we had some more time to relax, explore and play with the adorable puppies. We were given delicious homemade pizza cooked in an old-fashioned clay oven and juice made out of “limon-mandarina.”
Finally, once back at the hotel, our dance instructor taught us how to dance salsa, merengue and bachata.
– Jailene & Ajda
Trip Journal Update #2
February 15, 2016
Saludos de Costa Rica! Once again we all woke up in the Costa Verde Inn at around 8:30AM and promptly packed up everything in preparation to meet our host families today. We had breakfast at 9:00AM followed by a long bus ride to the community. During our ride we stopped at a supermarket to buy Costa Rican snacks and around 12:00PM we stopped by to have lunch. After we had all finished, we went up a hill to see a beautiful view of the area and of course took a lot of pictures. Before continuing our ride we also visited a souvenir shop next to the hill. We spent most of the day on the bus, listening to music, playing cards, and getting to know a little more about each other. At around 3:00PM, we got to the entrance of the community where we were going to stay. We all sat down at a soccer field to talk and find out who our roommates were. Our guide Esteban even taught us how to properly greet our host families.
We arrived at the community center just a few minutes later and were introduced to our host families. We promptly left with our new families to our new house for the next few days and for the first time, we were away from the group. We (Argie and Isadora) are staying with the Rojas Zuniga family. We were introduced to the house and their kids too! After settling into our new homes, the group came back together again for a soccer game with the locals and children before spending our first evening with our host families. While with our host families we got to know more about our parents and the culture. We also got the chance to teach them a little about New York. We had a great and fun first night here.
– Argie and Isadora
Trip Update #3
February 16, 2016
At 9 am we met up our group to start our community service for the day. We were split up into three groups. The first group dug holes and put recycled tires in them to make seats at the field where soccer is played so people can watch the games. The second group was mixing cement to build a ramp for a multi-purpose classroom in the school. The third group painted a sidewalk and a fence around the church. We had a break mid-day for lunch. After lunch we completed our jobs for the day. Then we went back to our homestays to relax. Then, we had dinner in the community kitchen with our host families.The community made corn-flower tortillas with us! On the tortillas we had a form of salami with rice and delicious picadillo made out of plantains. As it got dark we played with the children and had a great time laughing and playing hand games with them. We ended the night by heading back to our homestays.
February 17. 2016
After a hearty breakfast with our host familias. We headed over to work, day 2. Cement people and church people switched up our jobs. The crew from the soccer field stayed to paint the tires they had set on the ground before. After about three hours we headed in for lunch with our families. After coming back from lunch and working for two more hours, we had some activities with the community children. So, we went to the field to play an improvised version of a water balloon fight. All the kids gathered around and got into the game as well. After that we played kickball with more kids that arrived soon after we started the first game. After that we headed to the community center for snacks and face painting that went both ways, us to our siblings and our siblings to us. Soon after we went separate ways home for dinner and spend the night with our families. Now we are excited for zip lining near to Arenal Volcano tomorrow!
Trip Update #4
February 18, 2016
Lea and I started our morning with rice, beans, and eggs. We talked about our families and showed pictures. Maria Elieth commented that Lea’s brothers was “muy guapo”. Lea and I gave ourselves 25 minutes to walk to the soccer field. Although today took longer than usual because it started raining, and we waited it out under a tree for the rain to stop. The bus ride was 2 hours long, mostly spent on bumpy roads. One one particularly big bump, Ms. Mazo took a tumble into the door of the bus. Luckily after some ice pads and our beautiful singing on the bus, she recuperated fast enough to zip through the rainforest. We finally arrived to Sky Limit at the foot of Arenal Volcano. We suited up in a helmet, harness, and smelly gloves and even got our own pulleys. After our first safety talk about zip-lining, we took the Sky Tram all the way up to the canopy of the trees, more so into the clouds. Once on the platform, we hopped into the first baby cable to then zip through six more serious cables. Most of these were done in the rain, however, we had a quick stop halfway down, where we had coffee and juice to then zip through the last cables. Some of us were a bit nervous (that didn’t go away at all), but we had fun. After arriving back at the reception, very soaked, we changed into dry clothes and got back on the bus. We stopped in La Fortuna for a lunch of chicken, rice, beans, salad, and guanabana juice. We saw a sloth, bought some fruit and headed home. Needless to say, seeing the sloth made Ms. Samuel’s day. 🙂
– by Lea and Sasha
Trip Journal #5
February 19, 2016
Today t I woke up at 6:50 am after waking up Benny and I went to eat breakfast with our family. We ate white rice with black beans and bazel with breadsticks. Benny decided to spend his morning bird-watching, so he sat on the porch for a long time waiting for the birds, but they wouldn’t come. Our host sister noticed the struggling so she put out a papaya and a plantain for the birds to eat. Finally the birds came and I got one photo with four different species of birds flying. Accompanying the food we drank what ticos call fresco. At 9:00 am we met with the rest of the group at the community center of Pueblo Nuevo to finish up with the service projects, which were painting, planting and sanding. For about an hour Lucie, Lilly, Ms Maso, Argie and I worked on sanding the doors and windows of the church. Following the sanding we helped painting a mural depicting the beauty of Pueblo Nuevo. After painting buildings and leaves, at 12:30 we headed home to have lunch. For lunch my family and I , had white rice with black beans and chicken with a cup of “fresco”. As a dessert, we ate cookies and ice cream with wafers sticks and jello. Around 1:15 pm we headed back to the community center to keep working. After hours of painting and finishing the mural we reflected on the service work and talked about our experiences in the community. At 4:30 Benny and I went back home to take a shower and get prepare for the “despedida” party. At 7:00 pm when the party started my friends and I ate dinner, tuna pasta, “arroz con pollo” and tortilla chips. With happy belly, we danced all night (bachata, cumbia, salsa, reggaeton) until 9:40 when we went home to sleep.
– by Alex