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Penn State York Puerto Rico 2017

March 5, 2017

As our day has come to an end, we begin to reflect on our journey to Puerto Rico and our first day spent in Old San Juan. After leaving 17 degree weather, the Penn State York group arrived in the beautiful, and warm, San Juan, Puerto Rico. We were greeted by our lively and energetic Global Works trip leaders. Our first stop of the day was in Old San Juan where we took a guided tour to many of Old San Juan’s historical sites. While soaking up the sun, we learned about each site and explored the island of Old San Juan. After an intriguing and exciting tour, students arrived at Vaca Brava for dinner. For dinner, the group enjoyed a variety of meats that are commonly ate throughout the Puerto Rican culture. Once everyone was fed and ready, the group loaded up and took off for our first night in the big yellow house. After arriving, the group put their communication skills to the test by trying to create several different shapes with a string. The catch, no talking… we used teamwork to successfully string each shape. Along with that, we were able to see how well we work together, as well as areas of communication that need to be worked on as a group. After going over expectations and rules, the group settled into bed for their first nights rest in Puerto Rico. What’s on the agenda for tomorrow? Check back for our next blog update to see what we are up to!

Written by Maggie

March 6, 2017

It is a cloudy day, grey sheep-like clouds floating in the sky. The sea waves endlessley push towards the sandy beach. Walking on the soft and smooth beach, we feel like everything happening is like a dream or a fairy tale. The palms are dancing with the uneven breeze and horizon separates the sky and land into two parts. The indescribable scenes allure our thoughts out of reality. Leaving from cerro gordo, we moved to tropic ventures. During lunch me had hot and delicious bbq pork and chicken. And in the afternoo we did lumber work which makes me feel like we all did something meaningful. The service work always made me learn the importance of working. Everyone was involved actively in the community service and we had a really delectable dinner. In the end we had a really interesting and purposeful day.

Written by Steve

March 7, 2017

Today was another exciting day at tropic ventures! We started off our morning by packing lunches and then having breakfast. After breakfast we headed off to the workshop. Today’s service was further organizing the workplace and learning how to weld. When we were organizing the wood planks, we also had the opportunity to learn about the local trees in the surrounding rainforest. After we had finished service work we had a chance to do yoga and cardio in the music barn before dinner. After our delicious meal we had reflection time and spoke about 3 words: sustainable, community, and development. The three words held meaning to us because tropic ventures is a sustainable community in action and it has been an interesting experience to watch the development and progress they were making in our biosphere- our home, long lasting. The work tropic ventures does is impactful in the environment and its amazing how content the tropic ventures team is with where they are and how willing they are to share their knowledge with us. Then we had a relaxing dinner and a talk from Maga about migration and the importance of understanding why people move where they do. With things like push factors like lack of education and war and pull factors like better job opportunities, it really puts our humam rights and fundamental freedoms as Americans into perspective. We can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds!

Written by Jamaia

March 8, 2017

Buenos dias from Puerto Rico! Today we woke up to our first day of mostly sun in the rainforest. After breakfast, we went straight to work. Students worked in the wood shop cleaning and organizing wood, as well as moving shelving around to accommodate all the wood. Other students began loading wood from the drying shed and bringing it down to the wood shop area. After a hard-working morning, we broke for lunch and then packed up and headed to a nearby waterhole, Charco Azul. Most students jumped right into the freezing cold, but refreshing water. Once we were too cold to keep swimming, we spent some time bonding by playing human knot… from our point of view, we were successful! With that being very entertaining, it was time to return to Tropic Ventures for our Latin dance class. We moved our feet and turned our hips to the upbeat Puerto Rican music and for the most part, were able to pick up on the footwork and movement of Latin dancing. We ended our evening with dinner, followed by a group reflection in which students went around and shared their experiences and thoughts on the past few days spent at the rain forest.  To end our stay with Tropic Ventures Rain Forest, we sat by the fire, enjoyed roasting marshmallows and conversing with one-another. As we are sad to have our time in the rain forest come to and end, we are very much excited to continue traveling to a different area of Puerto Rico and take in the natural beauty that surrounds it!

March 9, 2017
Buenos Dias from Puerto Rico! Today we woke up to our last day at the Eye on the Rainforest. Sadly, we packed our bags and cleaned out our bunkhouses before we headed up to breakfast. Many bittersweet goodbyes were exchanged between Andres, 3T, and Magha. Our journey was ended with a picture of our group, capturing memories that we could never forget. The next adventure was hiking the El Yunque Rainforest. Through exploring and learning about the rainforests’ ecosystems, the group enjoyed jumping off rocks and sliding down waterfalls. Experiencing the natural part of Puerto Rico was some of our groups favorite excursion of the trip. After our Rainforest adventure, we headed to our next destination, Fajardo. There, we settled in to our place to stay for the night and shortly after went to dinner. At dinner, our group enjoyed traditional Puerto Rican meals and desserts before our excursion of kayaking on the bioluminescent bay. We, as a group, divided into groups of two to head out on the two hour kayak ride through the bay. While kayaking, we all bonded by working together to kayak through the bay. We experienced the beautiful bioluminescence while out there and retreated back to the docks. Finally, after a successful day of travel and learning about Puerto Rico and its many hidden, yet amazing secrets, we settled and enjoyed each others company for one last night.
Written by Jackie