Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 8 - Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Coffee, Rapids, More Coffee, and Costa Rican Mexican Food

We started off our day with singing in the rapids and watching Hope drink coffee (with extra sugar) by the gallon. After our run through of rafting, our group consumed 3 pineapples and continued on our trip down the river.

From Christian (with heavy editing by Sra. Monterroso):  The first night I actually remember to write/post/blog something and (of course) I can’t think of anything to write. (Not including the epic that follows.) Today: We went rafting and were told, by a guide, when to paddle and not to paddle.  Then we finally got out of the joy-forsaken raft tour group, we had to wait until 2:00 to eat lunch, then get on a two point five hour bus ride. After arriving at our bed and breakfast we went to a Mexican restaurant, at which I consumed a burger, a BLT, and many French fries.  

(Other posts deleted)

From Sara Monterroso:  Unfortunately, I had to delete two thirds of the blogging that was written tonight because it was becoming a personal debate over contrasting opinions/interpretations of the day held by the various bloggers, rather than an account of the day’s activities!  Oh well.  I'm sure they will share their editorial comments and controversy when they get home, which is the right place for it.  So, here's a more detailed account of the day...

Many of us were woken up this morning by the impressive calls of howler monkeys in the jungles surrounding the eco retreat.  At some point the students managed to rouse themselves from bed, have a delicious breakfast at Chilamate, and head over to the departure point for the raft trip.  The raft trip was “joy-forsaken” for Christian, for reasons that I’m sure he will happily share with anyone who asks, but most found it to be one of the highlights of the week.  The rapids were fairly gentle, for those of familiar with Colorado’s white water, but enough to keep all of us laughing and working together.  We were often able to get out to enjoy a swim/float and even some pineapple.  Back at Chilamate, we quickly packed, had some lunch, and loaded up into the van for the ride home.  Today was the Costa Rica soccer finals and they were being played near Chilamate, so all along the ride home saw the team colors and flags decorating cars on the highway, our driver honked and greeted each one that passed, so it was a pretty noisy ride.  Had to laugh about the dinner at the Costa Rican Mexican restaurant, complete with US license plates among the decorations – even one from Colorado!

Well, heading in for 5 hours of sleep before we wake up to load our bags onto a van to the airport and back home to your smiling faces!  We’ll see you right around 11:30, you should all have the flight information.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 7 - Friday, May 18th, 2012


I had a few students write notes.  More wanted to, but we found out that they were going to have to shut off the modem, so more will write tomorrow.  (PS to Will Miller, in Annie's defense: this was the first day since Tuesday that the kids had access to writing the blog themselves!!)

From Mollie:  Hi all! We are now back in the Chilamate Eco Retreat after a day of hard work. We finished the playground to the best of our abilities, put our handprints on a special wall, and painted a sign to commemorate our work. In the afternoon we went zip-lining, which was soooooooooooo much fun. We were all screaming and hollering with joy as we zipped along the delightful wires. We are all ready to take on one more day of this wonderful place until we return home to sleep and sleep and sleep, and maybe tell you all a little bit of what happened. J

From Rachel:  Hola, everyone! We started our day productively by finishing the playground, which now looks amazing. This was followed by a tearful goodbye over lunch between us and our host families. One girl was particularly sad and her sweet, sad hugs brought tears to everyone’s eyes. Glad you managed to figure out how to blog, Mom. Miss you all and see you soon!

From Annie:  HI!!!! We basically finished the playground and we put out handprints on the wall! It was SWEET!!! It was hard to then have to say goodbye to the families who had taken such good care of us for so long! J AND FOR WILL MILLER:

Happy birthday to youuuu! Happy birthday to youuu! Happy birthdayyy dearr Willlll!!! Happy birthday to you!!! J Love you!

From Sara Monterroso:  I tried to load up some really neat videos that I took, but I don't think the connection here is fast enough, so I'll have to try once I get home.  Here are some nice last day photos, though:

Compare to the first day -- now the local kids and our kids are interacting easily:

While some kids work on finishing the net...

Others prepare a decoration sign, and this is the "wall of hands where we would later imprint out hands with the letters C.O.L.O.R.A.D.O. A.C.A.D.E.M.Y. painted into the palms...

The youngest school kids are SO happy!

Bottoms up!!  (screwing the seats onto one of Julio's tire picnic tables)

The community doesn't want their new family members to go...

This is Daniel, one of the community leaders and President of the Organic Farming Assocition, speaking on behalf of the community as we prepare to leave:

Final pictures with the families before we go...

...and now that your kids just have one more night in a hotel before we come home, let me show you some pictures of the bedroom I stayed in from Sunday through Thursday, which is fairly representative of some of the homes where our students stayed...

...this is where the family brushes their teeth...

Me, the two WLS guides (Molly and Randall [in the red visor]) and the family with whom we stayed, which includes Daniel, whom I mentioned above.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 6 - Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Getting to know the local kids…and monkeys

This morning we went back to the school, and before getting to work, we had our students run through some English lesson plans that they had designed for some of the local students.  We split up into four teams that taught, respectively, animals, family members, numbers and simple arithmetic (in English), and alphabet.  Costa Rican students were split up by grade (3rd, 4th, and 6th grades) and rotated through our themes for 10 minutes each.   They did a really great job keeping the kids engaged and moving, and adjusting their activities for the age, and when they noticed that they weren’t working well.  SeƱora Monterroso was really glad to have the tables turned on the students for a while.  We then returned to the worksite to put primer on the cement fixtures of the slides and see-saws, and to keep working on the climbing net.  The school kids are already excited and using their playground equipment even as we were still working on them.  Many of them were also having their friends take pictures of them with us, the exotic visitors.

We finished at the worksite to go to the host family where the boys are staying for lunch, and took a tour of their land: yuca and plantains mostly for the family’s consumption, and some forested land where we reflected on the relationship between water conservation and the forests.  The father, Julio, mainly is an entrepreneur who makes furniture from recycled tires.  It is hard to explain, so you will have to check out the pictures.  The cool thing is that by using old tires, including big tractor tires, they are actually making a huge contribution to public health.  These tires, when discarded, collect water and become a significant breeding ground for mosquitos, and thus, for mosquito-borne illnesses.  The Ministry of Health has visited Julio’s workshop three times, and supports his efforts to get these tires out of anyplace they are dumped and into his hands to be recycled into patio furniture.  As we were touring the forested portion of the land, we were especially lucky to get visited by a big family (?) of capuchin monkeys and got to watch them play in the trees for quite a while.

And finally, all the kids are off to their final night with their homestay families, and they seem sad to say goodbye! Tomorrow we will finish final touches on the playground, then we transfer back to the Chilamate Eco Lodge for an afternoon tour of the rainforest by zipline!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 5 - Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Costa Rica - a sensory experience Sara, here, writing from an iPhone again. We won't have internet connection again until Friday. More great work this morning at the work site- we are almost done!! We cut our work a little short to make time for a well-earned dip in the river. The water was great and the boys discovered a natural slide into the water. The a tour of a local organic, self-sustaining farm with pigs and newborn pickets, milking goats, turning compost, harvesting and packaging pepper, Walking a cow, eating sugar cane, coffee and goat milk, etc. We saw toucans, more puppies, and basically enjoyed...pura vida!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 4 - Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Crazy plants and more puppies!

Hi, everyone!

Sorry there was no blog from us students, yesterday; we couldn't connect to the internet in the village. It was also our first day on the service project, and we were very tired after a long morning beginning construction on the playground.

Today, we spent our second of five mornings working. We finished the slides and seesaws and began weaving the climbing net for the slides. It took a bit of creative working to get the rope tight enough within the framework of the net, but we figured it out in the end. This afternoon, we learned about the plantlife in Sarapiqui's rainforests. Along the way, we found an adorable litter of puppies and were thoroughly distracted for a bit. :)

We hope you are having as much fun as we are! We miss you!

Written by Rachel and Maryam