Today we have three guest writers who reflected on their experiences at the different activities students will cycle through in the next three days: service at a local school, zip lining, and horseback riding to the Nuayuca waterfalls. We will add more pictures to this post tomorrow!
The first day of activities were both nerve-racking and very exciting. I went to the waterfall and horseback riding, which was so much fun because I haven’t ridden a horse in a long time, and jumping off a waterfall is something I have always wanted to do. When we arrived at Nuayaca, our group was separated into two groups, one for riding horses down to the waterfall and the other for riding in a truck. Both groups arrived at the waterfall excited and anxious to get in the water. Once in the water, the line to jump grew immensely. The hardest part of the whole jumping experience was the climb up because while you are trying to find a foothold there is a lot of heavy water getting dumped on your head. When you reach the top it’s a bit scary looking down at the bottom, but the instructors there were super patient and kind and told us to take our time and jump when we are ready. The jump is so much fun and I went twice.
On the way back the groups switched and the people who rode on the way there were now in the truck. We stopped somewhere for lunch and had by far the best chicken I have ever tasted along with other delicious foods and drinks. While we were eating we were surrounded by capuchin monkeys, peacocks, and parrots. After we finished the groups continued to ride or drive back to where we started. Riding the horses was so much fun and galloping was my favorite part. Overall my first day was eventful and exciting and worth repeating if I was given the chance.
Although the thought at first was quite scary, the zip lining activity was truly an unforgettable experience. Throughout our journey in the hot rain forest, I was able to experience the biodiversity that surrounds the tropical rain forests in Costa Rica. Ranging from sloths to tiny insects such as fire ants, I was truly excited to witness the sheer beauty and complexity of these animals. When walking along the paths in the rainforest I also witnessed various trees that produced different kinds of fruit and consumables. I was most excited to try the cocoa beans, used to make chocolate as well as caffeine. The taste was fairly bitter, but at least I was forewarned. The most unforgettable moment was my experience on the zip line. At first was scared that I might fall off, but that soon transferred into laughter and amazement. When I left the platform I felt the hot air gush past me and for a moment I felt truly consumed by nature. Our first day of adventures was only the beginning of many more to come.
Today at service, we went and spent time kids either painting the wall and fences, or playing soccer. Half the group went with the kids the paint the wall and fences and spend quality time with the kids. Although they had a soccer field at the school, a tree fell in the middle and the other half of the group helped move all the branches and the tree to the side so they can use the whole field. This was a great bonding experience for me because we were able to play soccer with the kids after we cleared out the soccer field. Furthermore, they should great hospitality towards us because not all of us spoke Spanish, the were patient and kind in adapting to the unusual environment for us.
After the service trip, we went out on a snorkeling trip. Most of the people on the service trip went, but also a few others from the zip lining group. We sailed out island to swim around and look around the water. Although not many people saw any fish because the water was misting from the sand, it was still a great time swimming with all my friends and spending time together. After snorkeling, we sailed to a series of caves along the coast as well as the beach featured in Pirates of the Caribbean.