April 23-24, 2016
Dear wonderful parents,
We made it! Squaw Valley Prep has arrived in Puerto Rico! After what felt like years of flying, we landed in paradise. The beach is beautiful, and yes, we got a little sunburned (we know, we know, you told us so). Carlos took his first swim in the ocean and we got our first taste of Puerto Rican life. After swallowing way too much salt water, we made our way to San Juan where we saw the “walled city”. With 18 feet thick walls, the city of “rich ports” (the key to controlling the Caribbean), was defended against the rest of the world. For dinner we had mofongo, a native dish consisting of mashed plantains with ajillo (a butter and garlic sauce) in a beautifully air conditioned room. Oh, by the way, it is hot. Not like “oh wow, the sun is so nice”; no, it is like constantly sweating, sticking-to-objects-hot. But it is a nice change from the foot of snow we left behind. We are having so much fun and we love all of you for allowing us to participate in such a wonderful experience. Today we will wear more sunscreen, we promise.
Love you all,
– Written by Maia, Carlos, and Xane
April 25, 2016
After over 36 hours of traveling and exploring the island, we all slept like rocks. The day started out with a simple breakfast and orientation. After breakfast we headed out to a community to start a community service project. We met a man named Jonathan who has been working with Global Works for 5 years. He took us up a hill to Manolo’s house. We mixed and prepared cement to be spread on the floor of the new house. A man named Felipe was there telling funny stories, cheesy jokes, and keeping us all in good spirits through the heat, humidity, and hard work. After a few tiring yet fun hours of work, we enjoyed an absolutely delicious lunch prepared by the community, and some basketball. After lunch we drove to Ms. Monica’s family’s beach house and played in the perfect, warm water. Ms. Monica showed us around the area we walked to a private cove with caves filled with swallows nests. We had another amazing meal prepared by Ms. Monica’s family. It was so cool to finally meet the people and see the beaches we have heard so much about during our Spanish classes.
Looking forward to many more wonderful days like today; we miss and love you.
– Written by Sage, Marcus, and Wyatt
April 26, 2016
Hola! We started this morning the same amazing way we have been, waking up to beautiful views and serene sounds. We got ready for our day and drove to a spectacular place in the heart of the rain forest. We continued our community service work, mixing cement and moving soil for Manolo and his family. Afterwards, Johnny’s family prepared us spare ribs and Puerto Rican rice and beans.
Shorty after lunch we drove to Las Cuevas del Indio and learned how the native people used the landscape to defend against the Spanish. The caves were right on the ocean where the waves washed through them. There were passages both above and below the water. To get out of the caves we had to climb through a small crevasse.
We left the caves and headed home for a fantastic barbeque with the community! Overall another amazing day to accompany our amazing trip!
– Written by Myla, Tyree, and Kaz
April 27, 2016
We are writing from deep in the Puerto Rican rainforest. Today was a big day! After an exciting night, la cena de despedida, we danced and sang the night away with the help of El Tarot, Monica’s brother-in-law and Chino, a guest from Cuba, we packed our bags and headed for the rainforest, but not before stopping at la playa. The winding two-hour drive lead us to Tropic Ventures and we found ourselves mixing and pouring concrete once again. We were introduced to the wonderful crew at the house and had a nice nutritional lunch. After an eventful afternoon, we had a much needed break. Smushed in the vans, we headed to a swimming hole named Charco Azul. We managed to reach the water already wet due to some unexpected rain. Charco Azul was a deep swim hole with a jumping rock and little fish that kissed our feet. Once home, we dried off and settled in before devouring a delicious dinner of cottage pie. As the rain pours, we are already thinking of tomorrow’s adventures.
Lots of love,
(Written by Bryce, Canyon, and Eva)
April 28, 2016
Our day started with an amazing breakfast made by 3T, the head of camp. From there Norman took us into the rain forest to help clear a section of overgrown trail. For a few hours, we sawed, clipped, and shoveled our way through the overgrown jungle. While there, we encountered stick bugs, razor grass, lizards, and diffembachia. Each came with their own challenge to overcome. After working in the much, we trudged back to the homestead, where we pulled more ferns and grass around the cabins. The showers that followed felt even better knowing all of our hard work in the jungle would help surveyors keep everything happy and healthy. Then, we all hopped in the vans and drove to another beach, this time on the south (Caribbean) side of Puerto Rico. We arrived back at the homestead just in time for our salsa lessons. Yes, they were just as awkward as a high school salsa lesson would be, but we got over ourselves and in the end it was incredibly fun. It was hard to believe the lessons were only an hour because the time flew. Yet another delicious meal was prepared by 3T. We were pleasantly surprised with tembleque, a mousse-like coconut dessert, made by Andres. We’re now sitting by a bonfire wrapping up our stay at Las Casas de la Selva.
We love and miss you,
– Written by Melony, Alex, and Emma