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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

An Introduction to Gallo Pinto – Costa Rica Community Service

Costa Rica Community Service checks in!

The Westcoast Blogger

Dear Parents,

It is hard to believe that this family only came to be days ago. Our adventures began in the San Jose airport where energetic teenagers were greeted by JP, Heidi and our local guide Munie.

Day 2 started bright and early, waking up at Monte Campana with a rainforest view overlooking the city. After being introduced to gallo pinto (rice and bean breakfast) we met up with our bus driver, Mao who Micole managed to mastermind a secret handshake with. Our adventure took us white water rafting where we split up into three boats and paddled down the excitement of class 3 rapids. Raft 2 was introduced to Mallery’s funny laugh while Gus and Peter took control of the paddling and experienced the true rapids of Costa Rica. They were not along with great paddle support from their crew members while Alex showed the river who was in charge!

On day 3, we left Monte Campana and drove to Puntarenas where we checked into our hotel on the beach and got ready for our first volunteering opportunity. Arriving in a small community we were greeted by Jose, Zeida, and Yerling who were the family we would be building a house for. We dug a giant ditch for plumbing tubing (way to go – Robyn) and filled in the ground holes with dirt with shovel support from Nikki, Anna, Emily. While working hard Sophie sang Rent songs along with Alexa and Micole to keep us entertained. That night Muni taught us all how to break it down on the dance floor with some dancing lessons. Good thing we get to do to the disco in a week because Jake and Emily sure got their moves after working hard.

Going back to the work site, we were all thrilled to continue what we started. We were given the challenge of eliminating some existing structures to make the new walls. Alexa, Jake, Sophie stepped up to the plate to do some hammering while Mallery made up nick names for us all and screamed them at the top of her lungs while we all laughed in hysterics. Good thing we had Ilana and her muscles, because she managed to break down and carry the biggest rock that day! Once we broke down the wall Matt showed us his mad skills at shoveling rocks and carrying them off as fast as a zamboni with the help of Jake, Gus and Simon on the wheel barrel. Emily and Peter worked hard clearing and their motivation and drive became contagious throughout the group!

We also had a very spirited group working on painting the walls. Alison did a fabulous job of keeping the paint on the wall, while Carley walked away with some paint left on her face. Once the walls were finished it was hard to take the paintbrush out if Kelly’s hand – watch out – someone may be painting their room when they get home!

The final day at Habitat for Humanity was such a heartwarming experience. As we did some final projects on the site like moving dirt, and evening out the ground we continued singing, and working on a gift for the family and Hellen, Angie and Jamie of Habitat for Humanity. After a beautiful lunch with Jose, Zeida, and Yerling we gave our thanks and appreciation for working with them and said our goodbyes. A special goodbye was said between Carley, Claire, and Yerling the small 7 year old daughter for all of the games and time they spent teaching her how to paint and dig dirt! As the bus drove away and the family was standing outside the house we felt very accomplished and happy with all that we had worked so hard towards.

Now it is time for a wonderful sleep in and a full day of rest … just kidding. We are off to Rincon de la Vieja to have a fun filled day of riding horses and going on a coconut cruise (water tubing). Hope all is well, tune in next time, same time, new place, new adventures.

Pura Vida!