Here is the link to a short video we shot of the service project:
We hope you enjoy it!
Discovery A Team
Here is the link to a short video we shot of the service project:
We hope you enjoy it!
Discovery A Team
Today marks half of our time in an unbridled and unparalleled countryside of Costa Rica. Our luscious mountain surroundings with the pristine río Chirripó constantly at our side (always ready to relieve our hard worked intellects and musculos) help us find a very welcoming and meditative home in Canaan! Three days into out service project of continuing the construction of a community kitchen and attached bodega (storage), servicios (WC), service counter and drainage ditch, we are increasingly inspired by this ¨Pura Vida¨- themed (the pure life… don’t worry, be happy) culture.
Always moved by Tic@´s (Costa Ricans… male and female) kindness, resourcefulness and peace, we find that Ticos themselves are equally animated by the Walking Tree group’s work ethic, optimism, honesty, adventurous spirits and our general pattern of pro-activity and cooperation.
Students´ homes and host families have shown us a new perspective on our balance between our needs and our wants. In a kaleidoscope of ways we have come to respect the Tico diet, amenities, co-dependency inside and between families, relationships between parents and their children and so much more. We look forward to sharing our finished service work with our families at this Monday’s fiesta de despedida (going away party) and recognizing the fact that all good things must pass.
We hope to make time to return to this new home and share its beauty and simplicity with family, friends and fellow travelers (not tourists!) and to further our love for shared service and respect, environmental consciousness and hard and intelligent work. We thank you for your support and compassion for this new mentality of global citizens! Pura Vida!
(sent from Hotel Pelicano in Canaan, Costa Rica… come visit!)
Greetings friends and family!
We are excited to begin telling you about a few of out many exciting adventures we have already experienced in the first few days of our journey together in Costa Rica! After getting acquainted with each other in the capital city of San José, we woke up at dawn for an exhilarating trip down the Pacuare River through class 3 and 4 rapids. It was a full of beautiful lush jungle, warm Costa Rican sunshine, delicious local cuisine, and of course, EPIC whitewater! The next day, en route to the ecofarm Pura Suerte, we tasted some delicious “mamones” and fried “platanos”, made a surprise stop to enjoy the breathtaking views and splash in the waves at last year´s World Surf Competition location, Playa Hermosa, and cheered for goals as we watched Brazil vs. Ivory Coast play in the “Copa Mundial” while eating lunch. Shortly after, we arrived to Pura Suerte, an amazing ecofarm nestled deep in the lush mountainous rainforest near the Pacific Coast. We had a great time exploring the farm, its flora and fauna, and lots and lots of bugs! Yesterday we hiked to Niyaca Waterfall and spent the day swimming under the mist of the powerful falls. We said goodbye to this special part of the country today, and are now anxiously awaiting the arrival to our host town, Canaan, where in just a couple of hours we will unite with the community that will be taking us into their homes for the next week as family, and with whom we will share many special moments. Everyone is feeling nervous and excited, and we can´t wait to tell you about the amazing experiences that are yet to come here in this beautiful country!
“There could not have been a better first day in Costa Rica. Rafting was a great was to really meet each other because we had to wlrk as a team. This broke the ice and started to bond us as a family. I can´t wait to see what else Costa Rica has in store.” -Alyx
“When we first learned about the phrase “Pura Vida” I don´t think it´s meaning really sunk in at first for me. I finally feel the true sense of the word. It simply can´t be described in English..maybe even not in Spanish..” -Megan
“Not only have the past few days been filled with adventure and excitement, but it is also interesting to see how life is so simple comapared to life in the states.” -Waverly
For the last week students have paired off and contributed to the following blog. We hope you enjoy it!!
After a great time zip lining, hiking to waterfalls and doing yoga, we left Montverde and headed to the small, but cozy, rural village where we began the community service/home stay portion of our program.
As we neared La Legua we became more and more anxious for our first encounter with the families. These families spoke no English forcing us to rely completely on our limited Spanish. As we neared the school, we saw the breathtaking views. At the school, where we would be working for the next week, we piled out of the bus and huddled nervously around each other as our host families arrived. We gathered in the gym to be paired with our families. After we met the children in each of our houses we dispersed around the town. Some students walked across the street to their homes, while others trekked 10 minutes up the hill to their houses, all trying to get acquainted with their families and trying to avoid any awkward pauses. One way to break the ice was to bring out the gifts we brought for our host families and we tried to explain about our lives back in Colorado. Most students found it difficult to adjust to certain differences such as not being able to flush the toilet paper, using the electric showers and the plethora of Costa Rican cuisine, aka rice and beans, which the families fed us. After awkward goodnights we settled in for our first night in La Legua.
After a cold night we woke early to a hearty breakfast and walked to the school to begin our community service. Around the back of the school lay a small concrete patch of land that was to become a kindergarten classroom. We got straight to work preparing the foundation of the room and creating a good workspace. After 4 hours of work we saw the fog moving toward us and within minutes the fog consumed us, we stopped for a nice home cooked meal for lunch and then the rain began. It poured for hours halting our work for the day. Instead we played soccer in the rain for a few hours with some of the local kids and then we said goodbye and went home for the night.
Our days in La Legua have been filled with early morning to mid afternoon community service including building a classroom and painting the community gym. After the day of work, we hang out with our families doing things such as playing soccer aka futbol, speaking in Spanish and enjoying the ticos’ company, all while eating rice and beans.
Unfortunately we were one man short during our service hours on account that Mr. Roblero, Colorado Academy’s upper school Spanish teacher and our kick-a$$ chaperone, succumbed to bronchitis. The remaining two chaperones, charming and cunning, and the eleven students persevered and stayed healthy. On Sunday we took some time to get to know our families better. There was a morning mass, soccer tournament and community dance. Even though we were still adjusting, the next few days were filed with new adventures and experiences like mixing cement, milking cows and learning local dances. These experiences required an open mind and confidence. On Wednesday, we woked for half a day and then drove down to La Fortuna, which is a beautiful town at the base of an active volcano. La Fortuna is also known for its natural hot springs so we all spent the afternoon lounging in the wonderfully hot water and taking a nice break from our community service. We enjoyed a nice buffet dinner with incredible views of the volcano and then headed back to La Legua for two more nights.
Even though we were only in La Legua for a week we all became very attached to our families, who seemed endlessly generous and who loved us unconditionally. When it was time to leave La Legua everyone was feeling a little down to leave our new friends, but proud and grateful for the last week. We all gathered in the gym to take some pictures and say goodbye, then it was off to the beach.
After a three-hour drive, we arrived at Flamingo Beach, our hotel right on the beach. We lathered up with sun block and hit the wonderful water. Last night some of the girls made the group tons and tons of mac and cheese (a great break for the daily rice and beans) and had a reflective chat about the village community.
Today is our first full day at the beach and we have spent it swimming, playing soccer and relaxing. We cannot wait for the rest of our adventure, but for now we are enjoying every minute of the tropical waters and soft sand!
The Colorado Academy Crew
We hope this blog finds you all well and enjoying the early summer. We are posting from the beautiful and famous cloud forest of Monteverde. Since we left San Jose two days ago we have had quite the adventure. Upon arriving, we hiked through primary forest to a hidden waterfall and lagoon. Everyone enjoyed swimming in the soothing waters surrounded by the misted foliage. Yesterday began with an even more exciting adventure. Using a local company, we completed a canopy tour, which is a series of ziplines though the upper shelf of the cloud forest. On the ziplines, we soared more than 10 stories above the forest floor, sometimes alone, and others holding tightly onto one another as we soared in pairs, not too different from skydiving. The highlight was the Tarzan Swing, a small bungee jump that allowed us to free fall from a platform before swinging to the ground. The excitement of the canopy tour was later juxtaposed with a tranquil and relaxing yoga class in a beautiful studio along the banks of the Rio Shanti. A wonderful dinner of authentic Italian pizza followed, which was very much enjoyed! As I type, Mexico just evened the score in the first game of the World Cup and soon we will have a picnic lunch before departing for our host village, La Legua. Spirits are high and we have had a great start to our adventure. We are nervous to start our homestay, but more excited to further our cultural awareness, language learning and community service. We hope you are all great back home and we will write again with the next week!