Hola from Costa Rica!!
“Pura vida” or “The good life” is what we have been living since we arrived in Costa Rica last Saturday.
We started Sunday – as we do everyday – with our ‘Morning Mix’. ‘Thank You’, by MKTO, the first song on our mix, has quickly become our musical anthem!! 🙂
Our first official trip adventure took us on an 18 mile trek down the PacaureRiver (the site of the international rafting championship in 2011!). The river and surrounding areas were beautiful. We saw tropical jungles, animals and rock canyons. The raft of Carly R., Jaimie, Rachel and Ben worked seamlessly together with their guide, Roy, and we had some “fuerte” rowers. The raft containing Raina, Lexi, David and Grace had great communication, and navigated the class 3 and 4 rapids with ease—just ask them about TD Ally’s skills! We paused for lunch on a cool rock embankment, where our 4 guides built us an amazing lunch that included borritos and delicious pineapple. Being together to view the amazing waterfalls and swimming through the calm canyons were two highlights for our group.
We concluded our evening with Gale, the founder of The Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation, our service partner for our time in the Central Valley. Gale spoke about her experiences in service, and shared with us some goals for our trip. She let us know our first experience would be twofold:
1) Prepare, build and paint a house for a local family; tasks include preparing the foundation, prepping and painting walls, and leveling the grounds. We were on a strict timeline because the family — including an expecting mother — was due to move in Thursday of this week!!!
2) Work with the local school (grades k-3) to teach English, entertain the “ninos” and improve school grounds (library and new classroom).
Upon arrival in Puriscal, located in the Province of San Jose, we met the family whose house we would be working on. Grace, Raina and David helped fortify the foundation, while our grouters, Jackie and Samantha, did an amazing job sealing the tile in the children’s bedroom. Lexi, Risa, Carly R., Steven and Ben worked on leveling the backyard.
In the afternoon, and for the duration of Tuesday, we volunteered at the local school in Puriscal. Day two at the site started great with Cassidy, Lexi and Rachel wasting no time, teaching the kids about our “morning song,” and the corresponding dance. Steven, Jackie and Jaimie led a fantastic game of freeze dance and taught the body parts via a game of “head, shoulders, knees and toes.” Alexa, Carly S. and Samantha excelled in their class of 3rd graders, teaching the kids English vocabulary through creative games. Michael, Ben and Jon used their excitement of sports to teach the kids English vocab, which culminated in an intense game of futbol during recess!! Anna taught several girls how to “hoola hoop,” but I think the real success was the huge smile on her face the entire time!!
All the kids excelled in teaching and bonding with the children, but we are VERY EXCITED to sand and paint the house tomorrow, in anticipation of the family’s move-in date on Thursday. Who knows, by then a new member of the family may have arrived!!!
PURA VIDA!! And check in soon!!!
The Westcoast Blogger