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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Rappelling Like Pros – Costa Rica Community Service

Another update from Costa Rica Community Service.

The Westcoast Blogger

Dear Parents of Community Service Costa Rica,

Buenos Dias!

Things have been moving along here and it’s hard to believe we’re more than halfway through our Costa Rican journey! Since our last update, we tackled the long and winding road to Monteverde, where we appreciated the beautiful scenery and even went through some clouds en route. We then got to explore the town of Santa Elena and had a chance to play a game of futbol. Eric scored 12 goals and was selected as game MVP while Rebecca, Rachel and Christian also made the all-star team.

The next day, we learned all about one of the most important Costa Rican exports, coffee! By working with the Coope Santa Elana coffee cooperative we got a full appreciation of the work it takes for coffee to get from the fields of Costa Rica to our grocery store shelf. Our job involved digging holes in between the coffee plants to allow fungi to be planted to fertilize the coffee shrubbery. Our work saved the farmers hours and hours of labor, enabling one of the smallest coffee co-ops in the country to succeed, improving the local economy and the lives of the people in the area. Along the way we found some interesting creatures living in the holes, including a tarantula. Aubrey and Melanie discovered a huge rock, named Gordo, and although it was difficult, managed to pull in out of the ground. Check out the latest photos on Bunk 1 for all the highlights.

Later that day, after lunch in a local bakery and a chance to sample some of the coffee that originated from the same fields we were working at, we headed out for one of our most exhilarating experiences yet…ziplining!!! We had an amazing time flying through the clouds above the rainforest on some of the highest, fastest and longest ziplines in Costa Rica! Later that night we celebrated Jacob’s 15th birthday in town. Jacob said he had an incredibly memorable birthday… ziplining through the cloud forest!

The next day we were on the road again to our next stop, where we had an incredible view of one of the most beautiful sites in Costa Rica, the Arenal Volcano. Here we had a chance to explore the town of La Fortuna and relax at the Baldi hot springs, where we dipped in and out of hot and cold pools, hit the waterslides and enjoyed a delicious dinner. We also went waterfall rappelling and while some of us may have been a little nervous, we were soon rappelling like pros.

It was then back to the Central Valley and our next service project with the Humanitarian Foundation. This Foundation, started by Gayle Nystrom, works with Nicaraguan refugees living in La Carpio, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the country and home to 34,000 people. Our first day we organized a day-camp for 40 boys from  La Carpio, who had a rare opportunity to leave their community for the day and travel to a community park where they had a chance to swim, play soccer, basketball and do arts and crafts. The kids all had a great day and we all enjoyed it as well.

The next two days, we traveled to La Carpio which was an eye-opening experience for us all.  We were introduced to many families who live together in a tiny house made of tin or cardboard. One of the houses we visited consisted of 5 rooms – 3 bedrooms, a kitchen and a livingroom.  3 families share this house which breaks down to 16 children and six adults. By delivering bunk-beds to the families in the area (which we helped construct), we made it possible for the children to have a place to sleep other than the floor or having to share one bed with many other family members. When we were not constructing or delivering beds, we played with the children in the local daycare, who greatly enjoyed our companionship.

We are looking forward to continuing our work with the Humanitarian Foundation this week as well as our Cafe Britt tour tomorrow.

Adios from Costa Rica and have a great week!