Thursday, June 23, 2016

Blog 1 - Costa Rica 2016


We are alive!!! We arrived at our homestays today. When we first arrived on Tuesday, it was about 4pm Costa Rican time (6pm on the East Coast). The drive was approximately 3.5 hours because it was raining and when we got to the Eco Retreat we had an amazing dinner of arroz con pollo with plantains and then quickly went to bed; it was a long day for all of us.

The following day Zach woke up at 4:30am because of the howler monkeys- it was quite an experience; imagine the sound the T-rex from Jurassic Park makes, it’s the exact same noise. Everyone else woke up at around 7am (9am on the east coast). Breakfast was fantastic. The eggs here are so good and we ate the tiniest pancakes most of us have ever seen. After breakfast we went on a morning hike into the rainforest and saw a lot: blue jean frogs, red- eyed tree frogs, sloths, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, bullet ants (so scary), and a family of bats. We returned from the hike and had lunch then did multiple bonding and leadership exercises. FUN!

In the afternoon we went to an ethnobotanist and he showed us many different native plants and fruits. We were eating a bunch of random leaves and one of them even made our tongues numb. Madison, Nia, and Mrs. Lang used the stain of achiote or the “hot lips flower” as lipstick and Helen had the bright idea to use it as tribal/war paint and Michael and Cris decided to do it as well. A lot of us really enjoyed drinking coconut water from an actual coconut towards the end of the day. When we returned to the Eco Retreat we went on a night hike which was very frightening for a lot of the group but we supported each other and made it through! After another long day we fell asleep quickly to the sound of the forest and with plenty of bugs to keep us company.

Today was a very exciting day. We had breakfast at the Eco Retreat and then met our homestay families. They are all very nice and accommodating. The children are adorable and so are the puppies. We spent time with them and had lunch.  Afterwards, we visited the school where our work project will take place. We were pleasantly surprised with a Q&A session (in front of the students in the school) that the faculty there had planned for us. Some of us were a bit rusty on our Spanish but Carlos (one of the WLS instructors), Ms. Shaw, Cris and Helen were great translators. We are currently writing from the school and will soon be preparing to head back to our homestay families. We have an exciting week full of hard work ahead of us and can’t wait to get started.

We will be very busy but will try our hardest to make time to update the blog.


Helen and Zach