Friday, July 27, 2012

A successful journey!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Last day in Linda Vista

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

T-Minus 2 Days

Today we walked back to the work area to complete ourfencing project.  It has been a difficultweek, for there has been a lot of our work time being used up by hardrainstorms.  In the beginning of the weekI don’t believe the students cared much, but I know they were disappointed thatwe couldn’t see the completion of the project. We ended up going back to the Chilamate Eco-Retreat to complete theWorld Leadership education.  It rainednearly all morning and we were worried that we wouldn’t have an opportunity togo zip lining.  After a small bus trip,we arrived at the location and it stopped raining.  The kids had a blast.  They rode the lines across the river andthrough the rainforest. 

Tomorrow will end our amazing trip studying the rainforestand helping a community in the beginning process of making a communityeducation building.  We will go raftingin the morning and have some family time in the afternoon.  After talking to the students they are facinga bittersweet moment.  I know will misstheir homestay families, experiences, the group, and most of all Javier (ourWLS leader). 


Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 11


Today we all had a pretty tiringday. This morning we all woke up and started working at the site; we had tofinish clearing all of the plants that we started on Saturday. By the end of itwe were exhausted and all of our white shirts that we were wearing had turnedbrown from the mud. We also had to move big cement blocks that we are going touse for the fence. They were very heavy, and it was kind of embarrassing whenwe would need at least two or three of us to move one, while Domingo, a man whois helping us work, could move one all by himself. After working we ate lunchat Chilamate. We had pasta with meat and vegetable sauce, garlic bread, andsalad. It was so nice to be eating a meal without rice!
After lunch a local biologist cameto Chilamate and we walked with him to his house. Along the way he pointed outdifferent plants that we could smell, and he would explain to us differentthings that we could use the plants for. When we got to his house he had a widevariety of different plants and fruits for us to smell and eat. We ate rawcocoa beans, star fruit, and a lot of different leaves that we had never heardof before. Some tasted like mint and a lot were bitter, but probably the worstwas one that made our mouths completely numb. At first we were given a smallpiece of the leaf, but after seeing what happened we all decided to chew on afull leaf each. Long story short, we couldn’t feel our tongues for about 30minutes, and none of us could control the amount of spit that our mouths wereproducing. When we were done there, we walked to a local market. Some of usbought cookies or candy for the last few days of staying at our homestayfamilies. After that we all walked back to our homestay families, which is wherewe’ll be for the rest of the night.

Tomorrow we’ll work in the morning,then we are going zip lining in the afternoon. We’re all really excited!

Before I go, I want to make sure tosay a very happy birthday to the best mom in the entire world!!!! I love you somuch and I can’t wait to see you on Thursday. I hope you had a great day, andhopefully everyone showered you with love and happiness on this very specialday!!!

Enjoy your time without us, becausewe’ll be home before you know it!!!
Love, Aby

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 9

Hola from Costa Rica! This isHayes, Casey, Jack, and Mary Kate. Elizabeth, Taylor, Abby, and Anna are acrossthe table from us eating mamones… That is truly all they do nowadays. Jack andHayes have become accustomed to eating cereal with HOT milk everyday forbreakfast and rice with HOT milk for dinner. When we say hot we mean MUYCALIENTE! Hayes wants to let everyone know that lizards do not make goodearrings, but they are very good at piercing and fun to catch. Our homestaysare very irreplaceable and rare. Mary Kate and Casey have a sister (they don'tknow her name so they call her ella), a brother (Alejandro), parents (Madre yPadre), a granddad that doesn't move, another set of grandparents (Abuela yBudda), and a little cousin (Mono o Jefferson – pronounced HEEFF-ersón). Caseyand Mary Kate go to bed at 8 every night and accidentally told Madre that theyonly eat sandwiches for breakfast.
Yesterday, a little boy urinated onMary Kate (and she found out the hard way what “CaCa” means), Hayes got puppy “attacked”.  We visited a self-sustainable farm whereHayes ate every single plant that he was handed. Casey, Hayes, Mary Kate, andJack all ate peppers that are ranked 7.9 on the Scovil scale (the one thatmeasures how hot things are) – normal peppers are ranked around a 4. Hayesdecided that one or two peppers weren’t hot enough for him, so he shoved awhole bushel into his mouth and ate them all WITHOUT WATER! “I’ve never drooledso much in my life, Mom” – Hayes Brown.
Casey and Mary Kate’s nights arevery, VERY noisy.  We have a hard timesleeping for we hear the 3 herds of cows, 9 pigs, 40 something chickens, 2turkeys, and grandpa snoring.  Hayes andJack have Papa firing up the truck, some strange bird in the Yuka field that“koo’s” all night, and the phone ringing nonstop, but that is about all thenoise that they can handle.
We have to go collect mangoteensfor snack, but we will be back later! Also, we will tell you if Hayes’s peeactually is purple from all of the beets that he ate. He wants everyone backhome to keep their fingers crossed and keep his urine in your prayers!!!
We love and miss all of you! Wewill keep our adventures interesting so we have good stories!
P.S. we aren’t allowed to doshout-outs to people that aren’t in our family. Don't think we are forgettingabout you! We still think about you all the time ;) we just aren’t allowed toname you specifically.

Casey,Jack, Mary Kate, and Hayes

Hello from Costa Rica, this isAnna, Elizabeth and Abby. We are all staying in the same homestay and it isnear Aby and Taylor’s and also the teachers. On Thursday we were introduced toour Costa Rican family, and since then have settled in. We spend most of ourtime with our new 12-year-old homestay brother Joseph, because our 16-year-oldsister, Jacklyn, gets home from school at about 4:30 and immediately startsmaking dinner. We don’t see too much of our mom, Ana, because she is always atwork when we get home, and dad is usually out working on the farm with hisfriends, and their large machetes. We quickly found out that conversations aren'treally an option since they don’t understand anything we say. But On Friday wedid all get to take turns milking a cow named Lola. She was very nice. Ana is acook at the Chilimate eco retreat (where we have been doing our ServiceProject) so needless to say, we are well fed. What do we eat? Shockingly, Riceand Beans. We have other thing of course, chicken, plantains, salad and lotsand lots of juice. That may be the only thing that people here like as much asrice and beans, juice (or fresca in Spanish). Mango fresca, star fruit fresa,watermelon fresca, guava fresca, mandarin fresca, passion fruit fresca, sugarcane fresca, and a suspicious white fresca that we thought had oats in it.Despite the language barrier, the family is very nice and the kids are good atacting out things we don't understand. Every day at 8:15 we meet Javier, Aby,Dr. Tormey, Taylor and Mr. Scott, then proceed to walk the 4 k to Chilimate.Usually, by the time we get to the work site, we can’t distinguish the sweatfrom the rainwater. All we know is that we are wet. The rain here comes down intorrents and on the metal roof, makes a sound comparable to a jet taking off.That is another thing about Costa Rica, everything is wet, and nothing everdries. Our project is to clear out a small section of rainforest that hasalready been cut down. Yesterday we raked/shoveled all of the debris thatcovers the ground into piles, and it will later be carted out in wheelbarrows.There are two other teachers from San Francisco that are working with us. OnSaturday, we also got to stop at small stand where a few local women wereselling crafts and the group picked up a few little things. As long as the raindoesn't wash us away, we should see ya’ll soon. We love you J

Don’t worry Dad I got some Lizano J -Elizabeth

Thanks for the translating app Dad,you have saved us from many awkward meals. –Anna

Don’t worry, I’ve only been chasedby a few monkeys J -Abby

This is how we blog

This is how we like blogging from Costa Rica!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 8

Hi everyone!
Today we all had a lot of fun, buta few set backs. This morning we woke up to pouring rain, which we reallyenjoyed our mile and a half walk in. Abby, Anna, Elizabeth, Taylor, and I alllive fairly close to each other along with the teachers, so we all startedwalking at 8:15. Along the way we picked up everyone else, and we all made itto Chilamate by 9. The rain was still coming down hard, so we all hung out inthe classroom for a little while. Davis, who is in charge of our serviceproject, came and told us that the rain was too much for us to start working.Davis decided that he wanted to tell us the story of how Chilamate got it’sstart, so we all listened to him (or Javier’s translation) and heard theinspirational beginning of what used to be his dream, which is now his reality.It was definitely an inspiring story and we are all very excited to start ourservice project ASAP. After this we walked to the location of our project, andDavis explained the type of work that we’re going to be doing. So far there isa big open area, which later will be where the Community Center will belocated. The only problem is there is a large quantity of plants that arecovering the big open area, and in order to start building the CommunityCenter, all of these plants need to be cleared out. So, over these next fewdays we will be the ones clearing out all of the unwanted plants.
            Afterseeing the location of the service project, we all hopped on a bus and drove toan organic farm, which is named “Paradise”. We all met the owner of the farm,Daniel, and ate lunch. We ate pig, tortillas, rice, beans, plantains, andvegetables, all which were organic and came from the farm. After lunch, we gota tour of the farm. It was such a fun experience. Daniel loved showing usaround, and he especially loved Hayes because he would stick anything in hismouth. Daniel would hand Hayes different leaves, and Hayes had no problemtasting them. He showed us his pepper plants, and Hayes decided it would be agood idea to eat a full bushel of them. Hahah, we definitely all got a goodlaugh. Normal pepper is rated around the number 4, while this pepper is rated a7.5. Hayes needed a lot of water after that one… We also got to feed the pigs,pet the goats, and help make compost. Mr. Scott and I got the pleasure ofspreading the animal droppings in the compost… I was definitely out of mycomfort zone for that one. Once we were done with our tour, we got on our busand headed back for Chilamate. Probably one of the best moments of the day waswhen we thought we were going to have to walk back to our homestay families,but our bus driver was nice enough to drive us and drop us off. 40 minutessaved for us that live the farthest!! He’s probably one of my favorite peoplethat I’ve met in Costa Rica so far. J
            Everyone isback at their homestay families for the day, we’ll all play with the kids, eatdinner, and go to sleep until its time for us to wake up and start our servicework tomorrow.
            We all misseveryone, but don’t worry! We’ll be home in six days! There’s no specificshoutouts for today, but just know that we all love and miss you very much.
            Xoxo, Aby

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 6 and 7

It has been a couple of days since we have checked in andthere have been some big changes. Yesterday, we spent some time completing our science projects about thedietary eating patterns of the grasshoppers and the behaviors of poison dartfrogs.  We were all very impressed withthe presentation and they were all well done. We celebrated by having a campfire with S’mores.  Jack and Hayes were in their element, forthey were asked to start the fire.  Hayeswas able to use his Bear Grylls knife and they carefully placed all the wood tomake the best fire possible.  We alldebated the best way to cook a marshmallow…I don’t think we were able to agreeif a nice toasty brown or the yucky black torched mellow was the best.

We made our way back to Chilamate Eco-Retreat today and wereplaced in our homestay families.  Many ofthe kids were insecure and stressed about the placement.  After an hour or so, we met up with eachother to have lunch at the eco retreat and to debrief.   We decided to make our way into the localtown called Puerto Viejo to have some fun and experience the culture.  It seemed to lower the stress level and theywere able to buy some gifts.  I thinkexperiencing the local grocery store and eating some ice cream didwonders.  Tomorrow we start on theservice portion of the trip.  We aregoing to help clear out an area and fence it in to lay the ground works for thelocal community center.