Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ziplining, Homestay Goodbyes, and Rafting!

We've been enjoying the last 24 hours doing many adventurous activities. Starting with zip-lining, there was nervousness among the group at the start, but all nervousness was gone by the final zip-line. There were 13 zip-lines, and a few over the Sarapiqui river. After zip-lining we had an adios party at Eric and Mason's host family's house. We had a delicious dinner and performed a talent show for all of the host families. Along with our talents, some of the local girls in our community sang and danced. We ended the talent show with a group song of "Hey Soul Sister." After the talent show we headed home for our last night with our home stay families. In the morning, despite the fact that we recently met our host families, we sadly had to say our final goodbyes to the wonderful families who shared their houses with us. Then, we left El Paraiso and headed to raft through the amazing waters of the Sarapiqui river near Chilamate. It was very exciting, to be riding in a raft through white water. When we finished we changed and walked back to Chilamate Eco-Lodge to have lunch. All in all, the last 24 hours was a successful combination of emotion and adventure, and we appreciate the opportunity to have such an unforgettable day.

See you soon,
                Lauren, Yatzari, and Ari

Friday, May 16, 2014

Amazing Race, Hard Work, Mud, and Lots of Rain!

Yesterday afternoon and this morning have been tiring but rewarding work days. After the Amazing Race, we divided ourselves up between the rope group, the paint group, and the concrete group. The rope group worked hard making the web up to the slide. The paint group painted the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade classroom, this required a lot of attention to detail. The concrete group mixed different materials together to make concrete for a courtyard. It took about 4 hours to make the concrete and it was only enough to fill about 3/4 of the courtyard. Shoveling rocks, sand and concrete took a lot of muscle power and we were all sore the next day.
Last night, after all the work, we lost complete focus as the rain drifted in. Once there was mud on the soccer field, a few of us slip and slid through the puddle on our stomachs. Our clothes now are still wet and covered in dirt. Soon we started a soccer game with our Costa Rican friends. The two teams battled through the torrential rain and we're still not sure who won, it was so intense. Once everyone was soaked through, we slogged back to our home-stays.
When everyone woke up today, we could still here the rain pounding on our roofs. There was so much rain that we couldn't start our service projects until a half hour later than usual. With our bellies full of the amazing Costa Rican food, we all made our ways to the school. By 9:30 we were all working hard again, finishing painting, concrete making, and rope tying like the day before. By the end of the day we were sad to leave our friends in Paraiso but excited to go zip-lining, which we're going to do now. See you in two days...
-Bloem and Mason

Belated post from May 14-15

Yesterday afternoon we had lunch at Eric and Mason’s homestay. After that, the homestay father, Daniel, gave us a tour of his farm and the plants that he and his family grow.  During the tour, we created an organic, natural compost using only the elements from the farm, which will be ready for use in two months. We also tried to milk a goat, which was successful for a few students, but difficult for most. Later, we saw different animals and picked fresh peppercorns. This morning we had our very own amazing race, which lasted about 2 hours. There was a series of activities where were awarded one to three rubber bands depending on how well the task was accomplished. Milking a cow, diving underwater for secret messages, learning how to salsa dance, and making tortillas were some of the tasks we completed. When we had a tie for first place, a pair from each team (Richter and Ella, and Ari and Bloem), put their best foot forward in the salsa dance competition, which ended in a tie. For lunch we went to Gabi and Bloem’s homestay where we had delicious rice, beef, and mashed potatoes. As the service project continues to near its completion, we began to set concrete and make finishing touches to the playground and classroom; the group has come together as a whole!
İPura Vida! See you soon, Michael, Leilani, and Caroline.

p.s. from Sue and Allie: We had yet another day of challenging internet issues. We'll retroactively post photos from the last two posts as soon as we have time! Thank you for your patience!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Third Service Day

Hola, The past 24 hours have been great! Yesterday we had a delicious lunch at Chilamate, with a few friends from the community. After eating we walked to meet Jaime the ethno-botanist, who taught us about many plants. We ate a lot of them, but mainly spit them out. We walked back to learn about our leadership styles. In one of the activities, we picked three cards describing our personalities and that determined our style of leading. Soon we were split into groups to participate in the marshmallow challenge, which pushed us to work together. We headed back to our homestays for the night, awaiting the next day. Today, we started our second round of painting the Kindergarten classroom and began to build sandboxes around the playground. So far everyone is enjoying the trip and all is well. We miss you guys! xo Mitchell and Ella

p.s. from Allie and Sue: Our internet connection at the school in the village and via one of our instructor's phones continues to be a challenge. Today it proved impossible to upload photos to the blog because of the slow connection, but we assure you that everyone is well and happy. The engagement and authenticity of our students is impressive and inspiring, and they will have amazing stories to share with you when we return. Tomorrow we'll be based in the village again, so we may have the same issues in terms of photographs (but we'll definitely post more student words). On Friday and Saturday we will have access to speedy WiFi at Chilamate and at our Saturday night hotel, so hopefully we'll be able to post lots of photos for your enjoyment :) More soon!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Service, Games, Swimming, and Homestays!

This is our second night with the host families and everything seems to be going great. Yesterday, we did team building activities with local Costa Rican kids. Afterwards, we ate guava off of a tree and swam in a nearby river. Today, we continued with our service project in the school. We started painting the classroom and we almost finished. Everyone is safe and doing fine. We are enjoying being unplugged from all of the electronics that we use and that distract us from our everyday lives. We love and miss you all! J

 Us swimming and playing in the river.

Us playing a team building activity.

Us playing a game with the local Costa Rican boys.

A couple of us messing around during a game.

A challenging team jump-rope activity. 

 Us doing ANCHOR, an activity where we debrief our day.

Students painting the walls of the Kindergarten classroom bright colors. 

-By Monika and Gabi :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

First Day of Service

Yesterday the kids finally arrived in El Paraíso and met their host families, and played games like soccer, cards, and board games. Once we settled into our host families and ate dinner, most of us had an early bedtime. Today we woke up and got to our service location, the Trinidad and Tobago school. After a quick tour of the school the kids got down to work.

Trinidad and Tobago School, where our service project is based. It's a very small school with four classrooms that serve children in Kindergarten through 6th grade. 

In this picture the kids are scraping off rust from shelves that will be repainted.

Preparing walls for paint

Group meeting before break--employees at the school gave us fresh mango and watermelon for a snack.

Refurbishing the playground that CA students built on the World Leadership School trip two years ago. 

Scraping off rust from bars in the Kindergarten classroom.

By Cleo, Lucy, and Oliver

p.s. from Sue and Allie: Because internet connection is scarce in El Paraíso, the students will be blogging mid-day while we have internet at the school, and reflecting on the previous afternoon and the current day's morning. This afternoon we'll be eating lunch as a group at the home of one of the homestay families, and then heading to the river for swimming and more leadership activities. So far all of the kids seem to in good spirits, are enjoying their host families, and are working diligently. You should all be proud! More tomorrow :)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Feliz Dia de la Madre - Happy Mothers Day!
Happy Mother's Day to all. We miss and love you guys for all you do and how you care for us so much!

 The group takes some time to think about and say "Thank You" to their mothers.

 While in the rainforest, we saw many types of wildlife, especially frogs and birds, including this one.

During the hike, we luckily spotted a howler monkey and his friend.

 We took some breaks for pictures, to see sloths, moneys and giant spiders, but made it back safe and sound.

We all gathered in the classroom after our hike to discuss what we saw, the homestay and how to successfully meet halfway with our families.

 While simulating our different cultures, our objective was to switch shoes with others without talking, along with dealing with other obstacles. This was an example of us practicing finding the middle ground culturally in our homestay families.

 After signing the board for our Mothers, we made some strange expressions to express our gratitude.

During the final day at the Eco Lodge, we were engaged in intense card games, enamored of wildlife, and challenged by simulated cultural barriers. We're about to leave the lodge for our first afternoon and evening with our homestay families!

Richter Jordaan and Eric Bear

Saturday, May 10, 2014

First Day!

Talk about a humid day in Sarapiqui, Costa Rica!

This is the view from the balcony of our building at the Chilamate Eco Lodge, which is the hub of the Costa Rican branch of World Leadership School.
 In the river next to the lodge, jumping for joy! 
 Group bonding games near the river challenged us, made us laugh our heads off, and we had to play tag with only one eye.
 Gathering as a group, we discussed Expectations, Concerns and Norms for the trip.
 Lucy gets a visit from a Cicada friend on her arm. 
Eric relaxes in the hammock, reading a book, and hiding from the heavy rain storm of the afternoon.

After a long day of traveling, swimming in a river, eating and trying new foods and drinks, as well as competing in card games and settling into the Eco Lodge, the Costa Rica gang's trip is off to a spectacular start with excitement and adventure. 

Yours Truly,
Eric Bear and Leilani Abeyta :)

p.s.  From Sue & Allie: We'll write blog posts daily, but we may not be able to publish our posts daily. As of tomorrow, we'll be staying with our homestay families and may not have easy access to internet. Know that everyone is healthy and happy and thrilled to be here! We'll sleep well tonight :)

Students are in Costa Rica!

Hello friends and family of the Colorado Academy Costa Rica program! The group has arrived in Costa Rica and are en route to Chilamate Eco-Retreat. They will stop for breakfast on the way. The group will start updating the blog once they get settled. Feel free to call 303-679-3412 with any questions! 

Erin Lasky
Director of Operations