Leaving our host families
It's hard to believe, but we had to say good bye to our host families this morning. It was bittersweet, there were plenty of tears, and promises to stay in touch. In just 5 short days the students created life long bonds with their families and friendships with the students.
Yesterday, the students had their final day in the school. The students and teachers prepared a farewell presentation with dancing, games, and singing. It was great to see our students finally feel comfortable enough to get up in front of everyone and play charades and even dance.
After school, the group had free time to either visit friends or head back and spend one more afternoon with their families. At night everyone headed up for the farewell party with the families. This was much more intimate than the school, and students felt more comfortable singing, playing their instruments, or just relaxing with their siblings.
All in all it has been an amazing trip. Everyone is in good spirits and we are back at our second home, Chilamate. This afternoon students are preparing for a final activity of white water rafting and we leave tomorrow at 5am for the airport.
Here is our flight itinerary:
AA1238 San Jose to Miami 10:38am - 3:45pm
AA557 Miami to Denver 8:25pm - 10:44pm
Life in Paraíso
¡Buenas tardes y pura vida!
We are just past the mid-point of the trip, and the group has settled in with their families and the school. While the days are busy with the service project and learning more about Paraíso, at night, your students spend time with their families - many have become experts at game such as Uno, Spit and also the Costa Rican version of "Ring-around-the-roses".
Yesterday, the group spent the morning at school painting, sitting in music and math classes and planting trees, and, after a quick dip in the river, we walked to a local organic farm at which students enjoyed a hearty lunch before touring the farm, which produces pepper and vanilla. They were lucky enough to see a new litter of pigs (just born at the 3:00 am!). They also learned to compost and harvested some pepper.
Today, after a competitive soccer game in the morning, we returned to Chilamate for the great Adventure Race!
The First night in our Home
So the internet is significantly slower and it is too hard to post pictures at the moment. After going to the school yesterday and participating in the activities we went home and had a delicious dinner with our home stays.
Today, we went back to the school to start our first day of the service learning project. With the donations the school was able to buy enough tiles to redo the floor of the two new classrooms and paint the walls. We worked on painting the walls with some students from the school and got both painted in just one day. We also got to participate in gym class with the students and played: capture the flag, soccer, four corners, and a fun version of ring around the rosies.
By mid day we headed back to the lodge for lunch and are going swimming this afternoon to help survive the extreme heat. We are going to learn about local plants and herbs this afternoon and then it is back to the home stay at night.
Tomorrow we are going back to the school to take part in English classes and in the afternoon we are going to an organic farm to see how they grow vanilla, black pepper, raise pigs, and chickens.
Meeting our Home Stays
We finally made it to the river and got to go swimming. After being teased by walking by the river for two days, we finally made the trek as a group and got to cool off in the water. We had a great time playing in the rapids and just having a respite from the heat and humidity. What a great way to end our time at the ecolodge before heading off to Pariaiso and meeting our home stays.
After cleaning up we headed to Paraiso and were dropped off at our home stays. It was awkward at first, coming into a strange home and having to eat lunch. However, the weirdness quickly melted away and by the end of our walk to the school many students were sharing stories, laughing, and getting to know their host mothers and kids.
At the school the students prepared various actos and an assembly. We saw folkloric dancing, English, and other traditional songs. The biggest surprise was when the students had to introduce themselves and dance in front of the entire school.
At night students got to settle in with their home stays and played Uno, Egyptian Rat Screw, soccer, or ultimate. It was a jam packed day and it sounds like everyone was in bed by 8 or 9pm.
Zipping into the way of things
What a difference a good night of sleep can make. After a crazy day of traveling, we were treated to a delicious breakfast of fresh fruits, gallo pinto (rice and beans), and pancakes. With fresh eyes, it was time to explore around the ecolodge and take advantage of all the rainforest has to offer.
We broke into two groups and went on a nature hike in the morning with nature guides. We saw whitefaced monkeys, howler monkeys, lizards, and a birds. It was amazing to see how many different types of animals were just mere steps from our dorm rooms.
After the hike, we spent time in the classroom learning about trip expectations, playing different group games, and stretching our comfort zone. This isn't to say it was all serious, there was still plenty of time to catch some zzzs on a hammock, play a game of fusball, or read a book.
Again, we were treated to a phenomenal lunch surrounded by rain and we were worried we wouldn't be able to go ziplining. Yet, it seemed like good fortune was on our side. Right as we were preparing to leave the clouds parted and it was dry just a short 20min away for the canopy tour. There we went on 9 different lines and got to see the rain forest from a new angle; the sky.
This would be more than a full day, but after dinner we still had the night hike. We met in the classroom and trekked out with our nature guides to see the different animals of the night. We saw lizards, snakes, insects, bats, and frogs.
Tomorrow we have to say good bye to the ecolodge and start the next leg of our journey. We are anxiously waiting to meet our home stay families for lunch and then we head to the local high school for a welcome ceremony.
We made it to Costa Rica
It all began with a late night arrival at DIA. A red eye later and we had to get creative passing the time in the Charlotte airport, and finally one more flight to Costa Rica. In the end, it was all worth it; to see the views of the beautiful valleys and rivers on our way to Chilamate Ecolodge in Sarapiqui.
Upon arrival to the lodge, students quickly began scouring the rooms, claiming their bunk and challenging each other to games of fusball. Everyone is a bit bleary eyed and ready to get some rest, but excited to finally be in country.
Tomorrow we have a jam packed day. We will be exploring the surrounding rain forest with a morning hike and then coming back to the classroom to learn about the area's history and play some group games. In the afternoon we head out to go zip lining and will cool off by going swimming in the river. Finally, we will end the day with a night hike through the rain forest.
Welcome to the Costa Rica Interim Blog. From here you will see daily updates regarding our activities in Costa Rica and pictures of us in action. To help prepare for our department, please make sure you are able to attend our parent meeting on Tuesday, May 8 at 3:45 in the middle school. We will go over last minute details regarding packing, travel, and emergency communications.
In addition, your student was given their home stay family information today. There were some last minute pairing changes, but please reach out if you have any concerns.
Finally, I have attached a copy of the packing list just in case.
the GRoup has arRIved!
Hello family and friends of the CA Costa Rica program! The group has safely arrived into Costa Rica. They are traveling to a Chilamate and will update the blog starting tomorrow. Please don’t hesitate to call with any questions - 303-679-3412.