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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Piña, Futbol, et Helado – Community Service Costa Rica

The lastest update from the Costa Rica Community Service program!

The Westcoast Blogger

Hola madres y padres,

A lot has happened since our last update so here’s a quick rundown on the latest news live from Costa Rica.

After successfully completing Phase 1 of our first house for Habitat for Humanity we moved on to a second house already under construction. Our work included sifting sand, mixing and filling holes with cement (a task in which Kyle and Aubrey quickly became pros), and moving hundreds of bricks. Luckily, Teddi and Grace initiated the most efficient brick assembly line Habitat for Humanity has ever seen. We also took some breaks where we enjoyed the best piña (pineapple) we have ever eaten. Jillian got a chance to interact with the local children and they even drew a picture for her! Christian, Drew and Eric managed to join an impromptu game of futbol (soccer) with some of the locals in the community. We were welcomed with open arms into the neighbourhood and Habitat for Humanity treated us to a delicious lunch and even some helado (ice cream) at one of the houses in the area.  At the end of the day, we said our goodbyes and were all touched when Angie from Habitat told that the house we started to build was now “our house as well.”

We celebrated our three hard days of rewarding work with some more helado and we took part in some karaoke in a local Puntarenas hotspot. Melanie, Julia and Lia took to the stage right off the bat and set the tone for a fun night of singing and dancing.

The next day, we said hasta luego to our beach-front hotel and headed north to Rincon de la Vieja National Park. We kicked off a busy two days in the beautiful national park with horseback riding through the rainforest. Some of us were a little nervous at first, but quickly grew to embrace the new experience. The horses led us to the edge of river where we all had an incredible time floating down the river in our inner-tubes, with quite a few intense white-water sections along the way.  However, after rafting last week, we all knew how to handle the rough patches. Kyle described the experience as a “lazy river on steroids,” but this ride was all courtesy of the natural world. The next day we hiked to a beautiful waterfall, where we all enjoyed a very refreshing swim. On the way we learned all about the flora and fauna of Costa Rica from our guide Franklin.

It was then almost time to head to the Pacific coast but not before a trip to the mud baths, a highlight for many of us. We covered ourselves in mud from head to toe and then relaxed in the thermal baths. Our skin was so soft afterwards! Then, once we arrived in Tamarindo, the quintessential Costa Rican surfing town, we got right down to business with surfing lessons.  Rachel, Ricki, Andrea and Jacob were hanging ten in no time and all of us enjoyed the experience. The surf was definitely up, dude, or as they say in Costa Rica, mae.

The next day we headed out to a local daycare centre to participate in a community rejuvenation project.  After a quick painting lesson everyone was off and running to get the centre ready for a fresh coat of white paint. By lunch time the ceilings were looking great, we were feeling great about the work we had done and we were ready to head to a great beach.  The beach gave us an opportunity to relax after a hard morning’s work and we enjoyed playing in the waves.  Last night we put our salsa dancing skills to use when hit up a local nightspot. Some of the locals were clearly impressed with our salsa ability.

As you can see, it’s been a busy few days and things will only pick up with our upcoming stop in Monteverde and then Volcano Arenal.

As they say in Costa Rica, things are going great…it’s Pura Vida!!

From all of us on seis-AH,