Thursday, June 30, 2011
Edited by: Mr. Moreland
Its been a good time here in Costa Rica. I learned alot about the different things they do, the way they eat, and also the ways they drive (which is very wild). We had an interview with Manuel Obregon, but we also had a cancellation of the meeting with Epsy Campbell. Today we interviewed the president of the legislative assembly. He was actually interesting, but we couldn´t finish the entire interview due to the fact that he had a meeting to attend(meeting only lasted about 20 minutes).
Also, on days 3 and 4, we did work in La Carpio. We dug out the ditch, mixed cement, and made a road. We completed our final parts of the project in La Carpio today. It was hot and very nasty because the ditch we dug was a ditch where people shower and toilet water would drain down to sewage. It was a very big mess, but on the other hand, it was a tough job removing the culvert from the ditch and also mixing the cement. Now that the hard work is over, we will meet again with the students from the high school tomorrow here at the hotel.
Photo: Students making sugar cane juice by crushing the stalk of the sugar cane plant. Quebrada Arroyo resident Victor helps out.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Edited by Mr. Moreland
So, today we were able to how traditional masks are made in Costa Rica. I thought that the mask making was really interesting becuase the man who made the masks took pride in the work he does and that each of his creations brought him joy. Traditional masks are made from stories that is told throughout a town and the masks are worn at festitivals. The man is most proud that his masks bring excitiment to many people of Costa Rica and to people around the world. I also liked the way the mask maker and a group of community children performed and danced while wearing the masks and that many people in our group joined in wearing the masks and dancing with them as well.
During that visit, I learned that even though he was doing what he loved, it wasn't his main way of making money. He had a second job working up in the mountains to support his family. It made me think about in the United States, and how some people tend to be money driven and they put aside or forget about what they love to do or fail to spend time with their family. I think more people should be like him and do what they love and love what they do.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Edited by Mr. Moreland
Well it is day four and we are approaching the end of the week. We have experienced all of the rice and beans that Ticos can offer, we have been in some of the strongest storms, and we have built roads in some of the highest temperatures. But we have yet to see so many other things that Costa Rica has to offer.
So far, one of the biggest impacts that will change me when I return to the U.S is the visit to La Carpio. The people in La Carpio were so deep with their words, and in a way with their actions that it inspired you to want to help any way that you could. The way one of the community's members, named Rosario, spoke about the importance of her family and community and what little work that we did complete helped them in so many ways made me feel really important. As I walked away from the work site I felt that we didn't complete as much work as we should have for how many people that was there. I underestimated our contribution since they appreciated our work so much.
One event that really touched me was one the little girls of La Carpio. She was less than 10 and she chose to help mix concrete with us both days. She didn't have to be there but she chose to get dirty and build these roads. It was on overall life changing experience and hopefully I could go back to America with a different outlook on life.
There is so much more to experience in these next couple of days and I hope that it only gets better and more inspiring.
Edited by Mr. Moreland
I have done so many different activities and learned so much. For example, we volunteered in a very poor community of San Jose called La Carpio. I really like how everyone here seems to appreciate even the smallest gestures. An example of great appreciation is when the La Carpio community leader, Chicho, thanked our 2011 group many times for helping him build roads in his community. I also like the emphasis that La Carpio put on cooperation in the community.
Edited by Mr. Moreland
Today was our first service day in La Carpio which was a real eye opener for me. When we first arrived on the tour bus I started looking at the places in which they live. La Carpio is basically this town of houses that are made of sheet metal, built very close together, with many of the roads unpaved. Garbage lines the street; it is community that at first glance seems to be dilapidated. However, the residents really trying to make improvements to gain title to the land. You are reminded of how lucky you really are to have the things that you do, because these people have very little. However, they never let that get them down and they really value family.
When we got to La Carpio we met some really cool people that we interviewed. One of the things that I keep seeing down here is the value of family. Chicho (a community leader who is a legal immigrant from Nicaragua) said though that none of his family is here but he is close to his neighbors.
When we were done with the interview we paved a part of a street. This was so crazy to me because I don't do such strenuous work at home, but here I don't know what got into me (maybe it was the rice and beans). But I was hand mixing cement with shovels and transporting materials in wheel barrels. It was a demanding process and the people there helped us. It was super cool to just help these people because they really needed it, due to the fact that they are trying to get the rights to this land so they can permanently reside there.
The second cool thing we did was interviewed the Costa Rican Minister of Culture who was really cool. He was the first person that really shook all of our hands and initially instead of separating from our group he sat next to one of us. One of the things that I really liked was when he talked about environmental science and humanity's impact on the environment. He said that the problems with the environment are a result of a lot of people and that it would take more than just a day to address these problems because they are so extensive.
He is a very inspirational figure and his views were so interesting. I mean the guy even gave us free access to a guided tour in a Costa Rican art museum. I loved seeing the contemporary art. I liked the the exibit on death. The artist used a lot of symbolism in their artwork and it was amazing. For example in the one picture there was a person laying dead in the tub with a mirror and the woman giving the tour said it was symbolic of vanity and that the clock next to that symbolized time.
Its only been three days but I can already see changes in myself and the group.I was reading a book that talked about a eureka moment, but i cant help but thinking that maybe this whole trip is my eureka moment.
Written by Julia Rippel
Edited by Mr. Moreland
I haven´t had much time to post, but I´ve been having a lot of fun so far. Today we went to the Poas volcano and talked with a geologist named Rodolfo Van der Laat.
It was a long drive up to the volcano, but I kept myself busy by taking pictures and filming the scenery. We drove through a ton of coffee plantations which later gave way to milk farms (many of which were associated with Dos Pinos).
When we finally arrived, we hiked uphill through the cloud forest. It was really amazing, because we saw so many plants and trees that were totally different from the ones in the forests of Pennsylvania. One example was the poor man´s umbrella (the layman´s term for the plant), which had enormous leaves.
We saw two craters, which had both filled with water and become lakes. There was steam coming off of the first one, and there wasn´t any greenery on the rocky slopes all around it. You could also smell the sulfur. The second one was larger, and there was a lot of greenery on the surrounding slopes.
Talking with Rodolfo Van der Laat was really interesting, because you could tell he really enjoyed his job. He showed us where the ground on the overlook physically bulges when there´s an eruption coming. Also, while we were sitting and interviewing him, several small, green and black birds came right up to our feet. (I guess they were really used to people).
Later we talked to a man who makes traditional masks. He showed us his workshop and told us the process behind making the masks. He talked about his life in general as well and how he began to make masks. Some of the masks had full bodies to go with them, and he explained how these are used in parades during local festivals. He showed us how they dance during the parades, and let some of the students and teachers try them on and dance too. He also let three students sculpt some clay into the base for the masks.
That night, we had a dance party with our pen pals at the high school here in Costa Rica. Although conversation was kind of halting, it did occur. We dragged some of the Costa Rican boys onto the dance floor, and some of them helped us with our salsa moves. I was happy to practice the salsa, and I kind of learned the meringue from Matt, our guide. All in all, I had a lot of fun today.
edited by Mr. Moreland
photo: plaque from the Costa Rican legislature building
Also the Costa Rican Congress has a viewing area for the public to listen to meetings and where they could put posters up to show what they support. Bullet proof glass separates the pubic viewing area from the congress meeting room and on the glass there are dents and scratches. It seems that some Ticos can become pretty angry during these meetings. The public viewing is open from 3 to 6 p.m. everday. Also in order for the congress to meet in a meeting they must have two-thirds of the representatives in the room (quorum) or they will call for another 5 minutes. After 5 minutes if two thirds of the representatives aren't in the room they will lock the door and dock the representatives pay if they are not in the room. I think that the U.S. goverment should representatives pay if they are not performing their duties. Hopefully this would make them actually get something done.
By: Jared Sams
Edited by: Mr. Hernandez
This is day five and I had a good day today. We talked to the geologist by the name of Don Rudolfo Van Der Laat about the Poás volcano. As we visited, we saw inside a crater where a lake sits. The trail was kind of challenging with all the different hills, turns, and steps. It was worth the hike. We also traveled to see Don Gerardo Montoya who is known for making large and colorful masks. We got a chance to see his projects. A few students were able to create a mask using clay, and they were in a small competition to see who made the best one (even though they pretty much all won). After that, there was a raffle for a prize (a mask), which I had the honor to win. The most important thing about that trip was how inspiring he was. He was happy, content, and passionate making masks. Making masks made him very happy with his life. The trip to the mask maker was what made my day; it was great!
By Rob Matchett
Edited by Mr. Moreland
Today was our trip to the Poás volcano. Things started off pretty early in the morning again, and the only break in our routine was going to breakfast at a different place where we met a geologist (Don Rodolfo Van Der Laat) who spoke about volcanoes. We had a breakfast that included bread, rice and beans, and this delicious sour cream (called natilla) that you mix with salt. After that we piled up into our tour bus and set out on an hour and a half bus ride up the mountain to the volcano. On the way up your surrounded by coffee fields that extend for a long stretch of land. As you continue to go up in elevation the scene changes a little bit. The type of farm changes from coffee plantations to live stock, more specifically cattle farms. The streets are red dirt roads that are created as a result of the iron that is in the soil.
When you pull up to the park you find a parking lot and all of these trails with tons of plant life. One of the most dominant plants are these big leafed plants that are called poor mans umbrellas. We were being led to this building that reminded me of the movie Jurassic Park. I hiked more than I ever did in my whole life today. Most of the paths were uphill and there were a lot of steps, but when you got up to the top it was all worth it. There was this observation area that at first was full of fog or steam but it looked like you were standing in the clouds. It was so hot but when the fog blew away all you saw was this vast green lake that led down to this huge crater.
Another trail which took us even higher in elevation took us to our interview sight which was a formerly active volcano, which now contained a giant lake. Throughout the whole interview there were these brightly colored small animals like squirells and birds that kept getting our attention.
The hike up was really challenging for me but it was all worth it once I saw that scenery. The ride back was relaxing; I enjoyed all of the fresh air from the mountain hike. Then we stopped for ice cream and went to lunch.
Finally before heading back to the hotel, we drove to a man's house who showed us his collection of handmade paper mache masks. His grandfather used to make these masks, and he now makes them, so you can say the tradition lives on. He calls the masks his second family. You could tell by the look on his face that this was something that he really loved doing. After telling us about a couple of different masks he put on a show for us to show us a typical mask dance. Then he invited a few people to volunteer to put on a mask and dance. That was the highlight of my day (Aside from the sing along bus ride back to the hotel).
One of the things that I am noticing here is that material things don't matter as much as sentimental things. In America its all about the money, but here people follow their passions (the thing that they love doing) and people are so respectful. Here family is the first thing that people think about and value the most. Being poor isn't a weakness; the people still are happy and find joy in all of the small things in life. Ticos seem to feel that each day holds new experiences that you learn from. I mean so far I've learned everything from valuing hard work to appreciating nature.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Edited by Julia Rippel
Today we went to La Carpio, where we finished working on the road we started on Day 3. We split into three groups. Each group had a different task. One group worked on mixing and pouring cement. The second group worked on leveling and smoothing out the ground. Finally the third group worked on digging out the draining ditch. With us, City Charter High School, working to create roads in La Carpio, we are helping the people to get titles for their land.
The community is made of squatters. The population ranges from poor Costa Ricans to immigrants from surrounding countries. The people are very friendly. While we were working they came up to us, talked to us and even helped us work. In our class we studied Latin American cultural patterns, such as expressiveness of emotions. After we completed the work we had been doing in La Carpio, the President of La Libertad, ChiCho, was very emotional and said that we are great workers and thanked us for helping the community. He said he was honored to have us doing this work and will continue to welcome City High Students in La Carpio for future trips.
In the afternoon we went to the Legislative Assembly building to meet with the President of the Legislative Assembly, Juan Carlos Mendoza. Mr. Mendoza is the youngest person ever to be made president of the Legislative Assembly. While meeting with Mr. Mendoza, we learned about some political issues in Costa Rica, such as the need for people who have different ideas to come together in order to change what Costa Rica is, low communication within communities, and racism. We toured the Legislative Assembly building and found that there was a session of congress being held. We went to the public viewing area and saw some people who were watching the session of congress. We learned that they were there to support free trade with the United States as this would create jobs for the people. Also the protesters said that the state department is giving jobs, drugs, and other things to people to get their votes.
After doing four interviews, we have learned a lot about Costa Rica's culture. Some things that we have learned so far are that the people value family more than material possessions. In one interview in La Carpio, they said that: When we work together like a community, we are family. I personally found this to be an amazing way of summing up our entire trip so far. We go to school with each other but that can only bring us so close to each other. Actually being in Costa Rica we are growing closer together. We are learning each other's strengths and weaknesses through many things that we do such as: learning to salsa dance, paving roads, digging a ditch for a pipe, speaking Spanish and much more. As said in an interview with the Minister of Culture, Manuel Obregon, on day 3, for us to forget our own problems and to help others solve their problems generates happiness for everyone.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
edited by Mr. Moreland
Waking up at 2:30 in the morning was a hard thing for me to do. When I arrived the airport I thought I was going to cry but surprisingly me nor my mother did not cry. As I got ready to get on the plane, I was very nervous because I have never been on a plane before I only heard stories about them. When I got on the plane I was still nervous but as I looked out the window I started to become less nervous until I experienced turbulence. Now that I have experienced that I HATE planes.
Anyways, as we arrived in Cost Rica I noticed that it was totally different from what I was used to. I noticed so many differences between America and Costa Rica. The biggest difference was the food. I though I wouldn't like it at all but with my side of Red Hot Sauce it was okay. When bed time came round I was exhausted and I slept like a baby this night!
Getting up wasn't too hard because I got such a good rest, but when breakfast came round my attitude changed. I didn't really like the breakfast so I didn't eat anything but the toast. As we left the hotel we went to visit the Dos Pinos company. The tour was very interesting. At the end they gave us ice cream which was nice. After that tour we made it back to our hotel for lunch which was OKAY and then headed out to meet our pen pals. As we were leaving it started to pour down rain so since we walked there we were soaked. That was the hardest thing for me to deal with. I really don't like being wet, so having to sit in wet clothes and talk to people gave me a little attitude. That quickly changed when I meet the students. They were so nice and funny. Even though I don't speak much Spanish and they don't speak much English we manged to make conversation. So after that was dinner then salsa dancing which was very fun. I learned that I am very good salsa dancer. I wish we could of stayed there a little bit longer but it was too late.
I'm still getting used to everything but today the breakfast was good. After breakfast it was our first day to start work. After going out to La Carpio all of my thoughts about how I live and what I do changed. Seeing their community in the shape it was in and learning that the people of the community have to fix it themselves made me what to help out much more. Helping them felt good and even though we couldn't fix every thing I think our little bit of helped worked. So since we have two days to work at La Carpio I think that everything we do between the two days will help the community out in big way.
Edited by Mr. Moreland
I would like to say that today was tough. We woke at 5:30 to eat at 6:30, so we can get out and work. Because this is Costa Rica's rainy season or winter it rains a lot, which in turn means they have early and long days. So similar to the average Tico or Costa Rican we got up early and went straight to work. It was amazing. I personally love working with my hands and doing hard labor because it just feels good to me, but this was different because it wasn't just mindless work, it was work that really helped the community. We helped finish a cement road.
Some of the reasons this job really benefits the community:
- La Carpio is what is know as a squatter town, mainly Nicaragua immigrants,
- Because it being a squatter town the people have no right to their land, and
- The only way they get full access to their land is to build roads, sidewalks, indoor pluming and such
Another thing I want to talk about before I catch some sleep. is a CCI or Cross Cultural Incident. In class before we talked about how there are general cultural differences between Latin America and North America. One we talked about and I observed was the fact that here it's more about team work than self glory. In the Dos Pinos factory we were told how they are a co-op or a cooperative. In a nutshell this means that they are not like a corporation who has one main leader, rather the Co-op has many and equal share holders. All these share holders cooperatively provide leadership. They are all equal and make decisions as such. And this is a major change from American business philosophy.
All in all I'm having a great time. Today was no rain which I loved, and the food gets better everyday. Today we had new drink made out of fruit that grows in the back yard!
Edited by Mr. Moreland
I am recovering from our salsa dance lessons at "Peppers" night club last night. At Peppers I learned how to dance the salsa. This dance to me at first was a challenge since I didn't know how to dance at all before this experience. I am looking forward to future events where I can show off my salsa dance moves.
The breakfast today really wasn't what I was expecting because we received pineapple and watermelon slices on a plate and then a piece of ham and cheese and a croissant. I was hoping for more of a breakfast that included rice, beans and fruit. This meal shows me that the Ticos have all sizes of meals and that they are not generally the same portions everyday.
Today we went to La Carpio where we interviewed the president of the local community association. I found out that La Carpio is a squatter town which was created 18 years ago.
Five years ago the people of La Carpio held a protest because they wanted running water brought to their area, so that they didn't have to walk two miles to go get drinking water. The people of this community protested by blocking the road that was the only entrance to the city dump. San Jose was unable to get rid of its garbage and the city provided La Carpio with running water. Since the people live in a squatter community, the people of La Carpio don't own the land that their shacks (houses) are on. That means that the government can come in at any time and kick them out.
The service project that we worked on today was to help the community become an official community of San Jose. In order for the community to do this they must build their own sidewalks, roads and drainage control for the run off water when it rains. The roads must be paved and must be a certain length across.
While I worked on this project in the community I noticed that there were stray dogs and these dogs were eating anything they could get from dirty diapers to small amounts of food the community gave to them if they could spare food scraps.
Also I noticed that when we took a water break as a group the members of the community that were working with us kept on working and when they worked they weren't in a rush to finish the project. This is different than America. Usually, American contractors rush to get jobs done so that they get paid.
This service learning project isn't done and we will be going back tomorrow to finish paving a section of the road and finish removing and replacing an old drainage pipe that runs through the road.
Im looking forward to going back out and working in the community
I love watching the reactions of students as they start to make sense of their new surroundings. I hear constant comparisons between San Jose and Pittsburgh. As we are in the capital city, they are seeing many similarities still. Things will be different in a few days when we head for the countryside ;-) We have been letting students just write their initial reactions for the first few days, but now we will begin to push them to really reflect on this experience from a cross-cultural perspective.
We had a really satisfying morning of work in La Carpio, a squatter community in San Jose with very little support from the city or national government. Nobody in La Carpio owns their own land yet - in order to get land titles to their property, they need to band together and make certain improvements such as paved roads, sidewalks, and sanitation drains. The city gives them some support to buy materials, but not enough. And the city gives them no help with the labor. That's where we come in -- we spent the morning leveling the dirt road, mixing cement, and spreading it out. We'll go back tomorrow morning to finish our work. We saw all the portions of road laid by City High groups in years past -- you can really see the contributions we have made to this community in the past five years of our previous work here.
Its great to be back on this trip after four years -- I last came to Costa Rica with City High in 2007. Its amazing to see how technology has become more accessible in the past few years-- in the city our hotel has wireless and most people we see -- even in La Carpio -- have cell phones. I don't remember this level of technology infrastructure 4 years ago. Nonetheless, the school that we visited yesterday only had 2 computer labs (about 25 desktops each) for a school with over 1200 students. They were very grateful for the 4 laptops we donated to their school. It was a nice gift from our technology-f0cused school!
OK, dinner time in San Jose :-)
By Señor Hernández – Teacher
During the last two days I've seen our students go through quite a significant journey. I have seen them interact with students (pen pals) from a local school during our meeting with Ms. Melissa Gonzalez. What I found most refreshing was that students who have never studied Spanish formally were making every possible attempt to communicate with students from her class. They decided to take a worthwhile risk and remove all anxiety or apprehensiveness in an effort to learn more about their pen pals. I am very proud of how our kids represented themselves and their school.
Today we went to the La Carpio community to fulfill our service learning project endeavor. During the next two days we are helping to build a road in that community so that they may attain property rights for their homes. I have to say that it was eye opening to see how optimistic the people of La Carpio are. Unfortunately, they don't enjoy some of the "luxuries" that we in the U.S. enjoy. Could you see it by looking at them? The answer is a resounding "No." I have never met a more optimistic and happy people. They were more than willing to offer you a kind word and a smile without expecting anything in return. When one of our students asked Chicho (the president of the local community organization), what his most valued possession was, he pointed towards a little girl in the room. I think that he and the people of his community have an overabundance of "Esperanza" or "Hope." This is a more valuable luxury than any material luxury anyone can have. My inspiration for writing this blog post was the picture that I found on the outside wall of a house in La Carpio and it is also included in this post. LaCarpio is a wonderful place.
It has been exciting to see the possibilities in tying this trip to our Spanish program at school. The possibilities are endless. I can't wait to experience what the rest of the trip will bring for our students!
All the days are melting together. It feels like we just got here, but it also feels like we´ve been here forever. Wow this is amazing I´m so glad I came. Some struggles I thought I would have I didn´t like:
- The food (just kidding I knew i would be good with the food)
- The people...That was serious. The first day I was really tired and really annoyed with the other participants. It was awkward but after that first night I felt alot better
- The Fresco´s (Natural Fruit Drinks) I´m am not too parcital too but they are still good
But I have to go it´s breakfast.
Edited by Mr. Moreland
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Edited by Mr. Moreland
So its our second day here and we have done so many things already. We went to the Dos Pinos today, and then we went to lunch, and my oh my was it yummy! We also got to meet the high school students of Liceo Vargas Calvo. Oscar and Jose, two very sweet young men one of which is my pen pal. Tonight from 8 until about 10 we are going to go Salsa dancing and we will use this skill on Friday during our social. Tomorrow is our service day, and it is just another journey that we all are going to go on together. I miss my famliy, but I am not looking forward to leaving this place. I mean last night I looked at the stars, something you really cannot do back home in Pittsburgh. But this is something I will never forget thanks to the journal we were given. But there will be more on the rest of our trip later on.
By: Alec Cepek, student
Edited by Mr. Moreland
Today was pretty awesome. The food is great and so are the people. We met our friends from the high school. They are just like us. (The reason I am typing so weird is because the keyboard here is laid out differently.) Nacho and Adrian are both my new best friends! I am excited for tomorrow and also for the rain forest!
Edited by Mr.Moreland
Today was day 2 in Costa Rica. We woke up early around 6:30, and for breakfast we had rice, beans, 3 balls of skinned potatoes and eggs and toast. It was all quite good.
Then we headed off to Dos Pinos, which is a dairy cooperative (owned by 1400 owners like stockholders in the U.S. but they actually get a say in what the company does). We went on a tour of one of the buildings where they make some of their products such as butter, milk, yogurt and ice cream to name a few. We interviewed a Dos Pinos representative who is trying to expand their business outside of the Costa Rica. Then after the interview they gave us free ice cream in a cone that they make at their plant. They also let us try a new product that they are trying to get sold in stores in Costa Rica. It was like Dibs ice cream but with more ice cream in them and more of a dark chocolate on the outside (they were a bit frozen so had to let them melt a little before being able to eat them all the way).
After Dos Pinos we went to exchange money and the rate for exchanging money is $1 u.s. dollar equals 498 colones (named after Columbus). Then we went to lunch where I had a casado de pollo(chicken platter) consisting of a small salad, breaded chicken, white rice, black beans and a dried cole slaw. Very good food for lunch, good portion too. For a drink I had a watermelon fruit drink that was really good and tasted like watermelon and was fresh.(I would definitely get another one if I have the chance).
After lunch we went to the Costa Rican high school where we met foreign students that were taking english classes in the last year of high school. This was one of more difficult things for me so far in my trip experience because their was a language barrier separating me from talking to the other students fluently. The Tico students and I had some things in common like playing soccer, hanging out with friends and working in the community. The one thing that I think the foreign students liked was receiving the american candy (Pop Rocks) I handed out to them.
After visiting the school we headed back to our hotel via the public bus system where we had a brief group meeting and then had dinner that consisted of noodles and ground meat and a small salad. This dinner was interesting as I thought all of the meals were going to come with rice but this meal didn't.
Tonight we are going out to learn to Salsa dance to prepare for our party friday night with our new student friends from Costa Rica.
Edited by Mr. Moreland
Wake up time. I actually woke up before the alarm went off. I guess we had what you would call an early start. For breakfast we had eggs, bread, rice & beans (no me gusta el beans).
Any way, after we had our meal we headed off to the Dos Pinos company, which in Spanish means two pines. Dos pinos is a dary cooperative, a group of farmers that all own a company. We had a brief tour of the plant, and we got to meet the Dos Pinos mascot, Lula, who was very entertaining. After that we conducted a free trade interview with representatives of Dos Pinos.
One highlight of the trip was waving to Costa Ricans. Once a man was so distracted by our group that ran into a stop sign while he was waving back.
Well it is our group meeting time! Talk to you soon.
Edited by Mr. Moreland
Today was our first real outting as a group. We started things off with breakfast, then headed out to Dos Pinos Dairy Plant. We met officials there and talked about the production of their dairy products. When we actually got into the plant we met Lula, the Dos Pinos mascot. She was entertaining both children and our group. During the visit, she started breakdancing and she challenged one of the students, Seth, to a dance off. It was really cool to hear about the different production processes. The tour ended by getting stuffed Lula Dolls and free ice cream. After that we transfered our US dollars to the currency down here which is so cool because it has hammerhead sharks on it.
Unfortunately when we were leaving for our pen pals school it poured down rain. While we were walking, getting soaked, I began wish that a tour bus would come and pick us up. Anyhow, the experience of meeting the High School Students was great. They gave us food and drinks and we interviewed one of their teachers Ms. Mellisa Gonzalez. When we came back to the hotel it stopped raining which is good. We are heading to salsa dancing lessons so we can dance at a Friday social event with the high school students.
Despite the plane rides that took up almost half the day yesterday turned out to be pretty cool. We arrived here in San Jose and got to our hotel. So far it does not seem too different. It just seems like someone put a blindfold on me and then switched the signs to Spanish. We went to a grocery store and it was really cool. I was shocked at how cold it gets at night.
The food is really great here though so I guess I could learn to like it here.
After quite a bit of waiting in airports yesterday, we're finally here! So far I like the food here, and I'm having fun. (Luckily, I'm using Mr. Moreland's laptop right now, because it's been quite an adventure trying to use symbols on Spanish keyboards.) Today we're going to meet a representative from Dos Pinos, and later we're going to meet our high school student pen pals! (There was a slight change in the itinerary because of the politicians' schedules.) It's almost time for breakfast now, adios!
I have lost all track of time. There is no daylight savings here. So, when I woke up at what I thought was 7,it was really 5. It was light out. I woke up three different times. I guess I will get used to it in the coming days.
Ps.I cant stand these keyboards. I can not use the symbols.
Monday, June 20, 2011
By Danyelle Washington, Student
It took around 6 hours and two planes but we made it safely. Um I don´t know what else to say excep that I am look ing forward to a wonderful time with the other students. Our dinner went extremely well, (tasted a little bland though). I am all out of things to say so ,
Edited by Mr. Moreland
Today we left Pittsburgh International Airport and arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina. After a brief layover, we took the plane to Costa Rica where we met our tour guide, Matt Cook. On arriving in Costa Rica I noticed all the bars and gates on the houses as we went to our hotel. Then we got settled in and had a brief meeting and a snack. Then we went to a local grocery store where we went around looking for Dos Pinos products as we are going to go visit the Dos Pinos dairy plant tomorrow. The grocery store was like an American grocery store. Fresh produce, fresh meat and bread. A 20oz coke cost $2 in American money.
I look forward to day two in Costa Rica.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
I'm pumped for Costa Rica I can't wait for it. I've been talking with my pen pal and I can't wait to meet him. I think the thing I'm most excited about is zipping through the forest! I love doing crazy things like that. It says well be 60 feet above ground...YES. I also to learn how to say SWAG in Spanish. Also the party I really want to go to that too.
Excitement: I'm excited to meet up with our pen pals and actually get to hang out with them. I'm also excited about the soccer game just a LITTLE that we get to play against them. I am also excited about learning how they live verses how we live here in the USA. I'm excited that I'm getting to go to Costa Rica and learn a lot and actually come back and say it was a GREAT EXPERIENCE.
Concerns : One of the things i am concerned is not wanting to eat the food. I'm very picky when it comes to food so i guess ill manage i just don't like BEANS.!!! Another concern would be the zip line i haven't been on once for years and the one i went on was across the water but this one is in the Forrest so I'm a little worried on that. But i will most likely do it because i know it will be fun. I don't know how much swimming I will do because I CAN'T swim so ill be very careful of my surroundings whenever I go into the water.
One thing that I am hesitant about is the food. I am afraid that i may go through withdrawal for peanut butter. However I believe i can cope by not thinking about it much.
One thing that I am really excited about is going on the zip line. I never been on a zip line and the craziest thing is that I am afraid of heights but I really wanna go on it. I think that I might actually lose my voice from screaming on it but it should be fun. Another thing that I am excited to do is go swimming out there. Its going to be different since I never been to a beach out of state so it should be interesting.
Something that I am afraid of is the first day we start our service learning. The only reason is because I'm not a big worker and I am going to have to try my best to doing something I don't normally do. Another thing is meeting the school students because since I don't speak Spanish I feel that it will be hard to talk to the students and especially my pen-pal.
What I am Looking forward to?
On day 3 of our trip to Costa Rica the first service project where we will be working in the community where we will work with the community where we will to help expand the paved roads in the neighborhood. I think it will be interesting to see how they pave roads down there without the big machines that construction workers use like the pavers and asphalt machines we have here in the U.S. It will also be interesting to see how the community members react to seeing students from the U.S. helping them build the roads and seeing their reactions, some are going to be bad and some are going to be happy.
I am also excited about going to the rainforest as I never been to a rainforest before and I might get to try the fresh fruits of the rainforest that dont have any chemicals on them like the fruits from farms have chemicals that make em bigger and last longer while the ones in the rainforest don't.
What I Am not looking forward to?
Well on Day 10 we will be zipping through the Rainforest on a zip-line, yes it sounds like fun but to me a non-height type of guy, I would rather stay on the ground on my feet not looking down towards the ground at high speeds. As you may tell I have a fear of heights and fast moving things at the same time. This is the only thing on the trip that I am not looking forward to but i plan on trying the zip-line as it is part of the Costa Rican trip experience and I don't want to miss out on it.
For the Costa Rica trip I am excited about a lot of things. Im excited to meet so many new people and there cultures. I am anxious to find out how to make a traditional mask. I also want to see the many sites that we will past such as the Central Valley Mountain ranges and the sleepy towns of Atneas and San Mateo de Orotina. Swimming in the beach is one of my main excitements too. I want to see all of the different type of animals as well.
I'm not afraid of too many things from the itinerary besides maybe the zip line and a personal fear, which is the birds. I'm not really looking forward to playing soccer for three days, but I know that I will enjoy it. Experiencing the Mexican restaurant has me nervous about trying the different types of food in Costa Rica as well. I am not looking forward to the last day because I know I will have enjoyed Costa Rica so much.
Now onto the things that I can't wait for. I can't wait to go zip lining even though I really don't like heights I really can't wait. I really want to see a monkey of sloth too just no giant bugs. In general i just want to experience the cultural and life style of Costa Rica.
I'm really interested to meet our pen pals (and attempt to use some Spanish). I'm also excited to see the Poas volacano! I've always been fascinated with them, and I think it'll be really cool to actually see one in real life. I can't wait to be in the rainforest and see all the different animals and plants. I really hope we'll have time to go swimming in one of the waterfalls. I'm both excited and nervous about zip-lining.
I'm a little nervous about the service project in La Carpio, because I'm kind of out of shape, and it sounds like it's going to be pretty heavy duty work. I'm also a bit worried that I won't like the food or will get tired of eating rice and beans every day.
One of the main things that I'm excited for is going into the rain forest and actually getting the chance to zip line through it! It's something that is going to be different, exciting, and actually an adventure for some. Another thing that I'm excited for is meeting the high school students on Day 2 which some of us have had a chance to talk to. We'll all be able to meet kids our age and be able to talk to them and learn about them and what they do in school, and see how it differs from the education that we got.
The things that I'm nervous about is once we meet the high school kids its going to be more difficult to talk to them, seeing as though most of them mainly speak Spanish even though they are learning English in their school. It's going to be hard when we go anywhere because we're going to have to know some kind of Spanish to make it through our time in Costa Rica knowing either little to no Spanish and adjust. Another thing that I'm afraid of are the spiders and snakes. I am someone who doesn't like snakes at all. If i see one I'll move cautiously out of the way and in the opposite direction to not direct the attention of the snake.
What I’m Excited About:
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I'm so excited that I have been given this great opportunity to travel out of the country. I think it is so cool that we get to go experience a new language and culture, and in Costa Rica of all places. Of everything on the Itinerary I am so excited to go zip-lining. When it said we were going on a canopy tour on zip lines i was like that is AWESOME!!!! I mean honestly how many people can say they've been to the rain forest let alone zip-lining through it? Also I love science so it will e interesting to experience all the scientific stuff we do like the volcano and the different interview that we will do concerning scientific issues.
I'm scared a little scared of heights but I know I can conquer that because the zip-lining will be so amazing that it wont even phase me.I also am not to happy about the whole flying thing because I hate that feeling like when your on a Roller Coaster and your out of control.Plus I have seen final destination one too many times to even enjoy a plane ride. Also I don't like snakes or spiders and from what we seen when we were still learning about Costa Rica there are some there. I think Ill be okay with the spiders but the snakes I will run away from. Just Kidding but I probably will be very freaked out and keep my distance. If its one thing i learned though its that life is short so you have to set your fears aside break free experience new things and have fun.