Day 3 Costa Rica, Monday 1-17-17: Our Second Rotation Day

Our rotation at Nahuayaca Waterfalls began with half the group riding in an enclosed pick-up truck bed down to saddle up the horses and ride down to the waterfall.  The second group was driven down to the mouth of the waterfall and would ride the horses back.  The property belongs to Don Lulu whose family supports an approach to eco-tourism that provides not just a thrilling adventure on spirited horses but also an opportunity to experience first hand the “Tico/Tica” (term for Costa Rican person) commitment to the environment.  Once at the falls, the group spent some time swimming and considering whether they wanted to take the leap off the 35 foot ledge.  Don Lulu’s team was amazing at helping each person make their way safely up the face of the rocks.  Here are some photos of the day:
It was an amazing day. Climbing up the waterfall and jumping off was a first time experience. Not doing this everyday only made me smile. Riding horses was the first time I did something like that. My horse was named Speedy and he was very aggressive. He wanted to be in front the entire time and hated everyone who passed him. He especially like to go fast which was very fun. It kind of represented me in sports especially when I run.
The WaterFall

BARAT: Puerto Nuevo School

Our rotation to Puerto Nuevo school began with some adjustments, since our initial job of painting the interior of the one-room school was changed due to the Principal’s more urgent need to address some large trees whose branches hung over nearly half of the tiny school’s compound.  The trees, providing some much needed shade for the school, also provided a haven for snakes-including boa constrictors-some of which would made their way onto the school yard.  The local families, knowing of our upcoming visit, pitched in to hire two locals to cut the trees back.  One of our primary tasks was to help haul the felled limbs out of the school grounds, across the soccer field and onto a composting pile near a stream.  The work was arduous, but given the gravity of the situation, our group made the extra effort to work together and make it happen.  While hauled tree branches, others added a coat of paint to the bathroom, while yet another group engaged the local children in games while they waited to receive the school supplies we brought.

Our work with the kids

School supplies


DUCHESNE at Hacienda Barú

Post Dominical

So what happens when the pool, pool table, expansive hotel grounds, smoothie bar and other hotel amenities are gone?  COmmUNITY!!


We continued our tradition of daily “acknowledgments”:  an opportunity to thank individuals who helped make our day a bit better.

Acknowledgments 1

Reflection was also a significant part of our experience:  Question: “what did I learn about a) Myself? b) My Class?  c) My School Community?

And some words about no cell phones into Day 7:



Day 2 – All about service

What a day!  We are on the second day of our rotation.  For today’s blog, the focus is on our visits to local elementary schools Escuela Barú and Escuela de Platanillo.  (Our third rotation school was Escuela Puerto Nuevo, a tiny one room, one teacher school with a total of 14 students- an updated set of photos are below.)  We arrived mid morning and immediately got to know the Costa Rican students through games like soccer and hopscotch.  After polishing up the schools with a fresh coat a paint on a few walls and helping refurbish classroom furniture our Convent and Stuart Hall boys and girls handed out the school supplies that they had brought to Costa Rica.  The days were rounded out with a trip to the local swimming hole complete with a rope swing. Four of our students recap their day:

Trinity L.

Today, on our second day of rotation we visited some elementary school students at Escuela de Platanillo. During the service section of the rotation we had the opportunity to interact with some of the students and refurbish some school furniture. In the beginning I was pretty nervous about interacting with the students in Spanish. However once we started to interact with them it became much easier. I taught my new friend, Daira, how to say “You and I are friends” in Mandarin and she taught me in Spanish. By the end of our time at the school, the students and I had become great friends. One day I hope to see all of them again.

Gabriella T.

During our espacio this morning, we were told to do something uncomfortable while doing our activities. Today was our service day and we visited la Escuela de Plantanillo. We played with the kids and refurbished their desks. One of the struggles we had was speaking to the kids. The language barrier was hard because the kids spoke little to no English. We tried to communicate with them as best as we could and frequently used hand movements to try to act out what we couldn’t say. Overall, the students seemed so grateful and it was so nice to get out of our comfort zone.

Nicholas C.

Today was our second day of our trip in Costa Rica, and it was a very special day for everyone. We visited the Escuela de Platanillo where we met little children from that school, and help out with the school. At first we met the children and they led us down to their soccer field where we created teams, and played against each other. I was the team captain of my team, and to be honest my team was really good. After we went up, and we painted the walls of the school, and varnished the desk of the classrooms. We gave the children notebooks and pencils, but the highlight was Carlos Armendariz and Adrian Medina who gave their shoes to two kids. At the end to cool of the heat we visited a waterfall, which was a lot of fun.

Adrian M.

On our second day of transitioning, we visited Escuela de Platanillo, where we did some service for the kids around the school, played soccer, and handed out supplies. Not only was this day special for the kids, but it was also special for me as well because I got to find out who I really am as a person and how  blessed I really am. It was also special  because out of the kindness of my heart, I gave my soccer shoes to one of the most talented soccer players in my eyes. The fact that once I handed him the shoes and he asked for me to sign the shoes, made feel really special. We took pictures, we ate and once everything was over we went to relax at a waterfall and had some fun and swam. I will always remember this special moment forever.

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Third Rotation: Escuela Puerto Nuevo.