Sunday, April 24, 2016

Day 6 en Costa Rica

Our day started so fast! In the morning, we all woke up and got dressed in our swimsuits and sandals before breakfast. After breakfast, we walked across the bridge and down the road a tiny bit to the rafting company.  As soon as we arrived we immediately got on a bus to the put in. We were all decked out in our rafting gear to start but right before rafting, we all got a chance to jump off a big cliff into the river and have the current take us back to our rafts. We experienced “Class 2 or 3 ” rapids and snacked on pineapple and watermelon at the half point. The rafting was a great experience, even though at some points the rafts almost flipped over. When the current slowed down fully, we played king of the hill and jumped on the other boats and tried to throw everyone on that boat off. We also found two stray puppies back at the rafting company after that where 2 months old, they where so cute. Then, after that, we came back to the Chilamate Eco lodge and ate lunch.  After lunch we finished packing up and we headed on the bus to go back to San Jose.  We stopped by a souvenir shop on the way to the hotel and picked up some fun presents for our families. When we got to the hotel we were all impressed by how nice it was and how urban it was compared to where we had been.  After dinner we did our last group activity:  a candle ceremony.  We all shared what it was that we would bring back from this trip.  We gave Randall a card and thanked him for being a Slim* instructor.                                    Bloggers: Eli & Miles
The next morning we woke at 5:30am had breakfast at 6 and then said our goodbyes to Randall.  We jumped in the vans and headed to the airport.  We watched movies on the long flight, then had a long layover in LAX where we ate dinner and chilled out.  We are all happy to get home but also sad that such a great trip is coming to an end.  Pura Vida!  

To World Leadership School & Town School- 

Gracias para todos!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Day 5 en Costa Rica

On Thursday morning we ate breakfast at the Lodge again. There were eggs and pancakes like usual and left the camp at 9:00am to continue the service at the School.  At the school we ate popsicles with the entire school that Davis provided and then finished our last day on the project.  When we were done, we took a photo with the entire school on the bleachers that we made.  After the Chilamate teachers thanked us for our work, Chuck and Zack said a few words about our experience working at the school.  After leaving the school we went to the families’ homes for one last lunch to learn more about the Costa Rican people. We all brought gifts for the families like soccer balls, frisbees, soaps, and SF souvenirs.  When we got back to camp we had 15 minutes to change for the “Adventure Race.”   The race began with a masking tape challenge where we were taped together and we had to get to Randall without breaking the tape.  Once we reached him, we drew from the bag to see what station we went to first.  We all started quickly and spread out through the camp with maps and water in hand. Three of the five challenges were in houses and the other two were in the camp. The challenges included:
Salsa dancing at the lodge
·      Flipping a raft in the river
·      Making a tortilla with Digna
·      Milking a cow at Uvania’s house
·      Having a conversation in Spanish with Lorena

It was not exactly a typical because sticking together as a team was more important than speed and there was plenty of time to finish. We were put into groups of four and told to complete several tasks in the area. We all had a specific role- either the navigator, the safety person, the person in charge of making sure we all drank enough water, and the team captain.  It was a lot of fun.  When we finished, we got to have free time to shower, relax, read or play foosball. Then we went to dinner at 6:30- delicioso! After dinner, we had a surprise celebration.  Randall told us he had something important to talk to us about.  We walked back to the classroom, and they surprised us with cake and a piñata to celebrate Eli’s 13th birthday today.  Randall and Aidan (Davis & Megans’s son) did a slim* breakdancing performance, which ended with Randall dabbing.  With this, one of our major group goals was met! Eli broke open the piñata and we all dove in for the candy.  Pura Vida! 

Bloggers:  Michael y Preston                                           *See day 1 blog for explanation of "slim"

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Day 4 en Costa Rica

Day 4 of Chilamate, Costa Rica: 

We woke up with a cool breeze and noisy rainforest at 8:00 in the morning without any of the teachers asking us to. We all walked to breakfast with sleepy, tired eyes and (some of us) poured ourselves coffee to wake ourselves up. Then we ate! There were many types of food for breakfast, the main ones being pancakes with syrup, eggs, yogurt with raisins, fruit such as watermelon and pineapple, and beans with rice (gallo pinto). In addition to that, there was also a cinnamon bread and a sort of breakfast tortilla that was served to us. After the full but delicious meal, we had some free time.  Many people rested in the comfy hammocks, calm and mellow, while other people played foosball intensely.  

At 9:00, we walked over to the Chilamate School, less than a mile a way. The work today was different because the teachers were on strike; the teachers are on strike because the teachers don’t get paid very much. Today we cleaned the entire school since it was empty.  There were three groups that we were placed into; one made cement for the bleachers, one washed the walls with brooms and mopped the floors, and the third group cleaned the dirt, rocks leaves, and garbage out of the canals or gutters. We began to switch off every 30 minutes and we even had two breaks of soccer on the school’s field, which went on for about 30 minutes. After the intense work, Davis gave us popsicles to congratulate us for our hard work. Then, we walked back to the eco-lodge and we got ready for the families that we would be spending the next couple of lunches with. We walked in the hot and humid sun to the families for about 15 minutes. We were split into groups of 3 so that each group would go to a different house with a different family where they weren't going to speak any English at all! When we arrived at the families, we all talked with the families, only in Spanish, a little bit about ourselves and about them.  We talked about how things in San Francisco and Costa Rica were different and unique. Then we were served lunch by the family. Each family had different things, but ours had dried and crisp bananas, fruit such as watermelons, and a sort of pasta. The food was so different from the San Francisco meals that it was as though ­we’ve never tasted such food like this. It was delicioso!  

After, we walked back to the lodge to wait for the bus. When the bus came, we hopped on and took the short ride to zip lining. When we got there, we signed a waiver and then took the bus to the start of the zip line. The zip lines were covered in trees and branches but the views in open spaces were priceless. In total, there were 9 zip lines that we rode. The last zip line was interesting. From the 8th line, we took a short ride to the start. The zip line crossed the Rio Sarapiqui. The ride was at least 30 seconds long. The river was mainly rock but the line was very high and fun.

Bloggers:  Marco & James

Day 3

Day three in Chilamate, Costa Rica: We slept in today until eight o’clock in the morning and woke up to the teachers saying “Breakfast time, it is eight o’clock”.  We quickly woke up and hurried to eat breakfast.  At nine o’clock we walked over to the Chilamate School, a small school in the community that has kids preschool aged through sixth grade.  When we arrived at the school the students were having a school assembly about indigenous people in Costa Rica, because today is Indigenous People’s Day in Costa Rica.  We were invited to join the assembly and when it was over we had recess where we played soccer and basketball with the students. Once the students went back to class we started our work again on the bleachers for the outdoor auditorium. We shoveled dirt and rocks between set bricks, then we made concrete and poured it on top of the rocks and dirt to make the seats sturdy.
Next, our friend, Rodrigo, picked us up in his bus drove us to a farm. On the bus ride we were passing by a ranch with cows and someone shouted from the back “Hey look, there are horses.” That was one of the highlights of the ride.

La machina de chemicales
Later we noticed one kind of plant for as far as the eye could see.  This was a huge mono-crop of pineapples.  The bus pulled over and Randall taught us about how in some parts of Costa Rica the jungle has been replaced by pineapple plants and banana plants.  He explained how the plants are treated with chemicals and pesticides and we saw the machines that are used for this purpose.  When we arrived at the farm a man named Daniel, who owned the farm, met us there and we at a lunch that his family made for us.  He used to work for Dole and Chiquita, which are huge companies that grow and sell pineapples and bananas. Dole and Chiquita use so many pesticides and chemicals that it is harming the river, the forest, Daniel, all his co-worker buddies, and the children that are born. To this day Daniel has major health issues because of his exposure to the chemicals and some of his friends have died from diseases caused by the chemicals.
Fields of piña (pineapple).

Due to these experiences Daniel now he runs an organic and sustainable farm. He gave us a tour of his farm and all of the crops that he grows. His main crop is pepper, said to be the best pepper in the world due to the spiciness of the pepper.  As another side business he also raises pigs and uses their poop (“caca” in Español) to make a fertilizer that he sells to other members of his community to promote organic farming rather than using chemicals.  He even uses the poop from the pigs (“caca de cerdo”) to produce methane gas (biofuel) for cooking with and to run his lamps.  His farm is fully sustainable.  It was slim. 

Daniel & Randall

Rodrigo brought us back to the Eco retreat and we started playing foosball. The night ended with an epic game of “man hunt” in the dark. Slim!

By: JP and Thomas

(more photos below...)

El postre de caca antes de ser

Compost after eight days of decomposition.

Green pepper on the plant.  When ripe they turn red. 

Vanilla grows up a tree 
Vanilla plants near the bullet ant den