Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Janet joins the joy

The start of a new week, and the team was as busy as ever. Janet started her first day, and Rachel initiated her by joining hands and elbow grease to clean the last of the classrooms from top to bottom (well, not exactly ¨top¨since the ceiling was metal and didn´t need cleaning) and prep some fencing for painting sometime this week. Tina was busy most of the day gathering grass and planting it along with some local volunteers -- pretty much all of it in the middle yard which was dug up and leveled by Taylor last week. And, speaking of Taylor -- he was quite the Renaissance man today! He helped lay rebar and pour cement in the trench he dug last week, gathered up some fencing to be repurposed in the new backyard and many other things way too many to mention.

As has become the custom, the last hours was spent teaching English to the local volunteers -- and some of the local volunteers became teachers themselves when they taught some Spanish to Janet, who has a lot of catching up to do!

And when our work day was over, we got a very special treat when Alex took us to a wonderful family-owned sugar mill. Out of gratitude for the work the team has been doing for San Rafael, we were given a special tour of how sugar cane is made into molasses and how molasses is made into candy -- even got to try a few (or more) bites of it. Yum. After the demonstration, we took a walk through the fields to see the sun set over the bay and the mountains -- an absolutely breath-taking end to another productive and enjoyable day in Costa Rica.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Tina narrates friday's service program and personal weekend activities

Our day began as usual with a lovely breakfast at our hotel and reading of the prior day´s journal plus the quote of the day. We discussed how our teaching was going and compared notes from our prior evening of prep work. The day was cloudy, rainy and overcast and falling before the holiday weekend affected the turnout for work. Several people once again, but not as many as had worked together on Thursday. Xinia continues to be the unofficial jefe who helps direct the work of the group that is present each day. A new San Rafael friend, named Nidia, worked with Rachel and I on cleaning the exterior of the school building, including a thorough scrubbing of the concrete which was covered in many layers of mud and dirt. We wished for a power sprayer, but got along with elbow grease, brushes and enthusiasm instead. Taylor was once again at the rock pile, wheel barrowing and also again working on moving dirt and leveling ground. We also worked hard to clean the drainage area in front of the school. Rachel and Tina crossed the barbed wire fence with shovels in hand to dig a deeper trench to allow water to drain away from the school. It was one of our dirtiest jobs and most physically demanding. As always, Taylor was a big help, wheel barrowing away the final load of rock and soil. Due to the wet and cold morning break featured coffee along with tamales left from the prior day and a hearty lunch was served as well. As we finished our San Rafael day a bit early to allow the local folks time to prepare for the holidays, Rachel, Tina and Taylor spend extra afternoon hours preparing our English lesson materials.

The holiday weekend was a joy for the team of Taylor-Rachel-Tina, as we enjoyed the arrangements Giovanni made for us to hike at the Arenal Volcano and to dine and relax at Valdi Hots Springs on Saturday. The bus-boat-bus trip is lengthy, but fascinating and the Hotel cabinas at La Fortuna were superb...what a lovely landscaping job at that establishment and a very nice restaurant with very kind staff. After Christmas morning breakfast at the hotel, we bus-boat-bussed back to Monteverde on a truly sunny & beautiful day, arriving in time for another fine meal at Mar Inn before dashing off to the Canopy Tour. Although Nia discouraged us from the zipline, we couldn´t resist and the three of us found the experience thrilling! At evening time, we welcomed our newest volunteer, Janet, to the group and shared a lovely Christmas evening meal together. An unconventional holiday for us, but a very memorable one!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Beautiful Rachel inside and out


This morning we were once again greeted with a wonderful breakfast eggs, fresh bread with piña (pineapple) and the breakfast version of rice and beans called gallo pinto (the dotted rooster). We then headed out to San Rafael to meet the rest of the crew, the community, and began to get to work. Today was unlike the rest because Tina, Taylor and I got to work together cleaning out a classroom. Although this my sound simple it is just the opposite. Have you ever mopped the ceiling with a wash cloth and a broom? I don't think so. I might add in on Taylor´s behalf that before the cleaning job he did push the wheel barrel full of earth across the property about 18+ times with some other muchachos in order to prepare the land for a grassy garden area so the kids will have a place to play, which used to be a mud pit because the land floods all of the time. After a wonderful cafè break our day took a bit of an unusual turn in that the volunteers were asked to teach some of the community English. We were broken up into three groups: Tina worked with the adults, Taylor worked with the teenagers, while I worked with the children of San Rafael (who are very smart by the way). I think we as volunteers are learning more from them than they are from us. ¡Pura Vida!

Tired Taylor trends on!

Today was extremely eventful, however it was also exceptionally tiring. We started this morning at 7 with a wonderful breakfast and an always pleasant recap of the previous day via Tina, followed by an inspirational message from John Lennon. After breakfast we packed our packs and took the bumpy 20 minute shuttle ride San Rafael what was suppose to be a day of painting and planting, but boy were we ever wrong. The first half of Rachel and Taylor's day consisted of digging a trench that seemingly extended all the way to china(for drainage not for quick escape). After our early day tasks the entire work team was extremely exhausted so a hardy lunch was required. Once the team had eaten a bountiful lunch we were sent on a mission to get grass from the local high school but were almost immediately sidetracked via an amazing display of ancient clay craftsmanship and a somewhat makeshift game of soccer. Once we got back on track we went to the school to gather the grass in a way none of us had ever seen before....a machete. Once we had enough grass to return back to the primary school we endured our long walk back. We returned back to the Mar inn around 4 pm and were all so exhausted we almost immediately fell asleep. After dinner we all discussed our plan of attack for teaching English to the local San Rafael residents, we in turn actually helped teaches Spanish to the entire team a little better.

Monday, December 19, 2011

On the First Day of Service Program ...my true love gave to me...

We began the day with a hearty breakfast from our hosts at Mar Inn and a crash course in survival Spanish from Nia, followed by a rollicking ride on the rutted dirt road winding northwest to San Rafael. Along the way we stopped twice so that Nia could exchange embraces with townspeople with whom she had worked on other Global Volunteer projects and also to take pictures of the stunning views all around us. At last we disembarked at La Escuela where we were greeted by the project leader Alex, who introduced us to a dozen local volunteers including two Carmens and two Sonias. While Rachel (aka Raquel) and her novio Taylor helped the San Rafael PTA members dig into the earth, hauled heavy fencing and plant grass, Tina cleaned cielings, walls and windows of an elementary classroom. Morning break for incredibly sweet fresh pineapple was followed by a delicious comida featuring beef and an afternoon break of piping hot coffee and amazing hand-made empenadas prepared in la cocina de la escuela. Nia photographed our efforts in minute detail, including our introduction to the coffee-picking out back of the school. The day´s end brought a performance of folkdancing by students in the freshly-scrubbed classroom. On the journey back to Santa Elena we were treated to a rainbow, a view of Nicaragua and a herd of cows crossing the road. A meeting to establish our goals went quickly due to an agreeably cansado[tired] and hungry team. We enjoyed another of Zelmira´s delicious meals and purchased our Holiday weekend tickets from Giovanni. The highlights of the day were many, but I will always remember Carmen´s wisdom: she told us she laughs so that she doesn´t grow old.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rachel starts the team journal

We woke up for our first official day in Costa Rica at 8:00 AM to meet downstairs for breakfast (pancakes and fruit) :). After the wonderful breakfast we began our first work task. We had our first official meeting that consisted of Introductions, General Principles, and Guidelines and of course Health and Safety conditions. One of the main ideas that Global Volunteers strictly enforces is working "hand in hand" with the community which means that we not only will be able to help the community which we are assigned, but we will get to know the community personally as well! After our meeting we took a beautiful drive from San Jose to Santa Elena. On the way to our destination we stopped at the restaurant "El Jardin," from the restaurant we were lucky enough to see a beautiful view of the Gulf and the Mountains (which is very rare considering the restaurant is located in the cloud forest). We then continued up, down, and around the mountains where we got to experience the "Costa Rican massage." We arrived at the Marr Inn in Santa Elena after a long day of traveling but we were rewarded with once again another beautiful view. Once we arrived at the Inn we made sure to cover some more of the Guidelines as well as team building characteristics such as respect, deferential, altruistic etc. Nia made sure to prepare us for our day to come and explained what was to be expected! We are all extremely excited to begin this project!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Global VolunteersTeam 212 and 213 : Oh what a night!

As slowly we start to say good-byes, A night of Musical exchanges, Wilfrido and Marian came to sing typical costarrican songs (Cana Dulce pa' moler, Guaria Morada, Patriotica Costarricense, Soy Tico)and some boleros like Cielito Lindo, courtesy of the Mar Inn owners Zelmira and Geovanny.

Our group sang the OhPura Vida Oh Costa Rica Volcano hiccup song they composed over the weekend.

I even got a gift of spirit, a serenade from Grant, our musical prodige from Virginia! Thanks Grant one of the best gifts I have ever gotten!

Each individual on these team has been such a blessing for our little town of Sta. Elena, everyone has contributed in such a beautiful giving way! Salud to you all!

Global Volunteers Team 212 and 213: Got Milk?

After painting the milk farm at the local Colegio, one by one our volunteers got a chance to milk "Basurita" .

She was happy to let them test out their skills. Thanks Chepe for finishing the day with a.... squeeze!

Global volunteers Team 213: Family time...priceless!

Global Volunteers Team 213: The Smiles put in a smile at Colegio

Team Smiles painted the garden beds and railings at Colegio today. The whole entrance is looking pretty and fresh and it just brings a smile to one's face!

Global Volunteers Team 212: Chepe's place gets a facelift

The team including Meah, Cyndi, and Laura paint the milking barn at the Colegio. Chepe Farm caretaker) is really happy that this helped his "place" look better.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Global Volunteers Team 213: Gets down and dirty

Team Smiles gets to work on the gardening at the high school. Several insects were found too!Andrew demonstrates the wildlife.Along with the kids from the Accounting "specialty", they cleaned and planted the gardens at the school. Five year old Caroline joined in the fun of service and left her mark!
Goal check: have fun!

Global Volunteers Team 212: Paints clouds for Daniel

Coco and Laura not only finished the light blue color in the Agricultural room , but painted very realistic Clouds in the ceiling. Previous team must be exhilarated that the job was finished!

The link between groups of volunteers is an important part of the contribution. Thanks to all in this link!

Global Volunteers Team 213: Arrives in Costa Rica

Team Smiles arrives in San Jose to serve at the local Colegio (Technical School 6th-12th grade) alongside Team 212 that arrived at last week. Gardening , designing a self guided map and building trails are part of their service program. Bienvenidos a Global Volunteers COSTA RICA!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Global Volunteers Team 212 : Colegio Continues

This morning I woke to another well made delicious breakfast and the coffee I am now extremely addicted to. After breakfast we went back down to the school to work. While the group was working on the trail again I was shadowing with a farmer named Rafael. He first showed me how to make cheese. It got kind of gross at times. First you let the milk sit and go solid, then you dump the milk that is still liquid out of the bin. That's the hard part then comes the easy part, all you have to do is squeeze out the remaining liquid and pop it in the freezer. I think you all know what comes next, washing. We hosed the place down and dumped hot water on the floor. It kind of felt like the place was on fire with all the steam After that we put milk out for the cows and then gave them some corn meal. One of the cows kept stealing the others food. By then it was time for break so I went up to the library with everyone else to sit and talk.
After break it was back to work. This time we went up to the barn and fed the pigs,ducks,and ducklings. Then Rafael took out the ducklings, it was so cute to see them all in a little cluster. Probably one of the most fun things today was collecting the eggs from the chickens. As soon as we walked in they started screaming their heads off and they were happy about us taking their eggs. Rafael taught me how to get the chickens off their eggs, pick them up and put them some where else. After we cleaned the eggs and through the broken ones to the fish I went down to lunch. I had a heaping helping of exotic Costa Rican pizza, with some pork, and what I believe to have been mango juice.
After lunch I went back to the barn to find a pig had given birth!!!! It was the most amazing thing I ever saw! Five healthy piglets suckling, then all of a sudden two more came right out! But they didn't stop there two more came out while we were gone. So after the commotion died down we went to clean up the fields and scoop up left overs from the cows. Boy, are they sloppy eaters! After that we went to hose down the pigs and the barn itself. Well after that, he had the school boys doing every thing and before I knew it they were trying to kill a duck ! After that unforgettable experience I watched them peal off the feathers and start to boil the duck. Thank god mom came and got me because I was about to puke. After a long hard day of work we went up in the forest to enjoy some time with the students. Well that was soon ruined by thunder and lighting. We came back to the hotel and relaxed for a few hours, then we had some dinner. The dinner consisted of delicious mashed black beans, tortilla chips, and rice. Well I guess you could say that today full of firsts! I am so lucky to have this chance to see all of these neat things.
Brandon, 12 years old

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Global Volunteers Team 212 a.k.a.Team Trails

Journal #2: July 24, 2011

The American writer, Louis L’Amour once said that “No memory is ever alone; it's at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that each have their own associations.” This quote is appropriate to describe our second day working in the Santa Elena region of Costa Rica. It was quite memorable all surrounded around trails of memories that we will keep for a lifetime. First, after preparing for the day, our nose followed the trail of a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit (including a new fruit called “mammon chino”, pancakes and a hot-dog-like sausage. We also tried various pastries bought from the local bakery…yummy J Then we packed our bags and trailed off to our job assignment at the Santa Elena school. When we arrived at the school, we met Steven (the high school coordinator) and Daniel (an Agriculture teacher) and discussed our skills and what we’ll be doing at the school during our time there. Then we meet with some shy, but polite 11 grade students who were studying agriculture at the school. They told us about the school and gave us a tour. We were truly amazed by the amount of classrooms and different subjects that the students could take such as eco-tourism, food and beverage, agriculture, among others. Santa Elena had everything that you’d expect a school to have, but with one exception. During our tour, we followed some trails that led to a dairy farm that produces milk and cheese for the school to sell. We also saw the school’s pond filled with fish for the students to practice fishing. In addition, no one trailed behind when we toured a barn surrounded by birds and filled with pigs. It was quite a unique experience to see how the students learn their areas of focus by using the school’s to promote hands-on learning. After our delightful tour, we trailed into the cafeteria to drink some coffee and eat some cookies.

And then we went to work. Trails, trails, trails!!! Our project for the day was to work on a trail that was on the school grounds. Daniel explained what we should do and we got started on our trailblazing project. It was a great time because each of the volunteers worked on different components of the trail such as digging gravel and dirt, making holes to place cement blocks, and covering the trail with dirt and gravel. The Santa Elena students were building the support frames that outlined the trail . Even though we were working hard, our minds didn’t trail off. We were learning new things about building trails in Costa Rica, but also learning new vocabulary related to our work. For example, we learned the meanings of “pala” (shovel), “tierra” (dirt), “escate” (stake), “lastra” (gravel), and (of course) “sendero” which means trail. We had a great time because we were able to see bit by bit how our cooperative work was transforming into a trail for future students and tourists.

After a good lunch of chicken and rice at the school, we followed the trail of people who wanted ice cream to cool off before we hit the trail again. It was delicious and got us ready to concure the trail ahead. We worked and worked and made progress on the trail, but unfortunately at 3 p.m. our workday ended. We said “happy trails to you” to Steven, Daniel, and the students and returned to the hotel. After relaxing for a bit, our noses again followed the trail to a scrumptious meal of beef, rice, potatoes, and homemade cinnamon rolls. Afterwards most of the group followed a trail on a night walk tour to see the nocturnal animals on the reserve. In conclusion, as you can see Louis A’mour’s quote is perfert for the day that we had. Although it was literally centered around creating a single trail at Santa Elena School, in the end we were able to create many associated memories in the process.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Global Volunteers Team 212: Dura Vida?? Pura Vida!

July 25th 2011
What a fantastic day our first day of volunteering turned out to be! We started with a delcious breakfast at the Mar-Inn of eggs, toasts, fresh fruit (watermelon, bananas, and papaya) and then headed out to work. July 25th is the Costa Rican holiday of the Annexation of Guanacaste (Nicoya) so we worked at the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. The reserve opened in early 1992; the land was orignally forest, then cut down to build pastures for cattle, and eventually the reforestacion began.
Walter, one of the reserve workers, introduced us the reserve and the history of it. The reserve works in tandem with the high school in Santa Elena. According to Walter, the highschool orignally offered a lot of agricultral classes that dealt with farming cattle, chickens, etc. Now, they cut back a lot of classes that deal with farming agriculture and introduced botany type agricultural courses for students as well. From my understanding, high school students who specialize in the latter will work at the reserve for class, and after graduation work there for an internship\externship. Walter also mentioned that him and some of the other reserve workers really enjoying paying futball americano and built a team and they play other teams on a synthetic turf field in town.
At the reserve, we helped haul gravel up a hill approximetly 1\4 mile up a hill into the forest. The gravel is being used to maintain some of the trails that have been built throughout the years. We started work about 8(?) o´clock. We had lunch at the reserve and it was delicious -- we had rice, beans, pork, juice. After all of our trailblazing (not quite, but poetic license let´s be dramatic...) through the forest, Walter and the other reserve workers showed us pictures of animals that their night cameras had caught. There were wild boars, pumas, and a leopord!! Glad we saw the pictures after we out of the forest for the day!
When we returned to Mar-Inn we relaxed, walked down to the town, had a meeting, and ate dinner. I must say, today was a success! :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Global Volunteers Team 211: Welcomes the Patron Saint of Costa Rica

Today, our generous crew of volunteers got to experience the visit of the Virgin of Los Angeles, Patron Saint of Costa Rica. Last year about a million (out of 4 million total population) Costa Ricans made the pilgramage to the Basilica en Cartago. The pilgramage occurs on August 2nd a national holiday but before that event, the association of taxi drivers, drives an authentic replica around the small villages of Costa Rica so everyone that is unable to do the pilgramage can participate. Monteverde got her visit for the first time in it's history!

In preparation, Jenny and Christina our parrish leaders, had Nolan Madi and Brianna create a poster in spanish to welcome her. Take a look !

Monday, July 18, 2011

Global Volunteer Team 211 First Project.: TADA!..Check!

First Storage room cleaned, painted, washed every item and restored. Check!

Global Volunteers Team 211: Profile Nolan

Nolan is 6 years old. In between all the karate moves, he has managed to help paint the storage room at the local community center, classify the Parish's music Collection and inventory the supply room ten by ten!

Global Volunteers Team 2011:Profile Madison

This is Madison. She is 12 years old, comes from San Diego, CA. Loves horses and dogs. She is volunteering with Global Volunteers at the Sta.Elena Community Center for two weeks in Costa Rica. She has inventoried and labeled the center’s belongings, like 165 chairs. She has also painted the supply room in a yellow color. She washed 385 items of dishware along with her family to put back into the painted storage space. Madison has enjoyed painting and having ice cream next door at the end of the work day.

Global Volunteers Team 211: profile Brianna

This is Brianna. She is 9 years old. She enjoys horses and bugs. She is going on to fifth grade at Stoneranch Elementary School after the summer. She has helped wash the dishware items at the local Sta. Elena Community center and helped inventory the chairs for events. She also painted the storage room a nice yellow color. She enjoyed painting the best this week. She really liked the snake farm , frog pond and butterfly garden. She plans to go camping after the service program with family.

Journal by Brianna: "It was are second day at work. When we got there we finshed cleaning the last dishes. It was super fun. Then we had a good lunch and went back to work. After lunch we stared to paint. It was sooooooooo much fun. We painted almost the whole supplies room. Once all are work was done we got ice cream. I had a lot of fun today. Before dinner we went to the snake farm. I learned a lot and it was super fun!"

Global Volunteers Team 211 arrives

Journal By Madison:

We slowly woke up and ate a breakfast of banana pancakes and fresh fruit. After our exciting Spanish lesson taught by Nia, we finished our packing and hoped into the van. The three and a half hour drive sounded horrible, but we made the best of it. We had 2 stops. The first at the garden place (1st bathroom break) then at a souvenir shop (2nd bathroom break) But before leaving, we got some delicious ice cream from Pops. Yum! Once at the village, we went to our cozy hotel and settled in. Once organized, we sat down for dinner, were we had chicken, rice, beans, plantain, salad, and some juice. Then we showered, brushed teeth and jumped into our warm cozy beds. Good night! Can’t wait to start work tomorrow. J

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Global Volunteers Team 210 Cheerleading practice

Jessica and Jeana taught local women and kids how to cheer lead on the fourth of July.

Kids learned the moves to "Lady Gaga"during a break from painting and roofing.

Cart wheels !!! Wheeee!!! It's a happy team.

GlobalVolunteers Team 210 spends July 4th roofing

Journal by Michelle:

Day 10, Monday, July 4th, 2011
Last night was wild, I heard horses going down the street at 5am, Cats & dogs fighting. Woke at 6am and got ready for the day. We had a great breakfast of fruit, pancakes with honey, coffee & hot chocolate. We went over goals & team building, and what we´d be doing today. Jeana had the ¨Thought of the day¨and Omar had the journal. Our Shuttle arrives at 8am to take us to the site, we are to be going to both the Community Center/Church and the school. The school is on break this week, but its expected the kids we´ll be there. Well, we just got arrived at Mar Inn at 4:30pm. We did not make it the school, instead we worked all day at the Center/Church. Matt, Omar & I helped Nicasio fix a lead in the water line on the side of the road. It was buried about 2 ft. down. I was sorry Heather has left us-Miss you & Brittney! We found the leak pretty quickly, dodging a couple of semi trucks on the one lane road, which we had filled with dirt, that they ran over. The rest of the gang, Gloria, Jess, Jeana, Minor, Ugo, Gerardo were sanding & painting the framework for the new metal roof. It poured rain & we all got wet.

Our first time really since we´ve been here, thunder, lightening the whole works, (our Fireworks). We waited it out & then it was time for lunch at Idali´s-as always a wonderful rice, beans, salad, friut, & chicken in cream sauce-yummy! While we ate it poured again. We waited it out. We head back to the center & Minor, Hugo Gerardo & Nicoisio are all hand mixing concrete on the driveway. We load into wheel barrows and pour the bathroom floor as the sun comes out. Matt & Omar, Jessica, Gloria & me wiped down the framework and started painting again. Marlena & Blanco cleaned the storage room up, it looks great. Jeana & Jessica ran around with 2 year old Lindsey, Marlena´s daughter, too cute. It was a productive day-even with the rain. We hopped on the shuttle@4pm & headed back to Mar Inn. Everyone fights over who gets in the shower first! Dinner was at 6pm, Zelmira made hamburgers on the grill for the 4th of July, I made Gloria´s potato salad & we roasted marshmellos in the rain. It was a great end to gorgeous Costa Rica and a busy day.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Arriba! Arriba! Team 210 Global Volunteers Costa Rica Program

Eight volunteers descended last Saturday from their respective planes to go on a mission...The first two days had Heather, Omar and Mat digging for sand: project: mixing cement for the bathroom complex at the community center , Brittany, Jessica, Jeana and Gloria prepared wood and building scaffolds for paneling the teacher's quarters. Michelle helped the outside of the building with "facial scrub" and the inside was cleared , cleaned and organized for work by all.

Along with Elbin, Hugo, Minor and Marlene the ceiling framework is been built and the ceiling panels are starting to come up. So was the outside ceiling in the school house.Demolition of the lunchroom ceiling was initiated to rebuild .

Materials have arrived, tin roof for the bathroom complex at the community center and much more. It'll be a busy Wednesday!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Planting trees to off set carbon footprint.

Journal by Ella:

All 3 of us were working on the project in the green house reforestation with the native costarrican plants... sifting the soil to separate it from stones, then filling small plastic bags with it. Small seedlings were then transplanted into the individual bags and watered. Someday Igor will bring his children to see the trees that he planted.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Global volunteers Team 209 Colegio images

Team 209 Global Volunteers: Strong Showers keep us inside

The strong "green season" rains keep our team inside during the afternoon work time. Ella here is shown painting the door frame of the local high school Agricultural classroom, in the back Daniel the teacher.

Leonid was moved to the tourism class up the mountain to paint wood today. Igor continues to work with Rafa and takes care of the high school farm. His day consists of milking cows, making cheese, feeding the pigs, chickens, ducks and washing and maintaining the facilities.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Team 209 : Global Volunteers Costa Rica at local highschool

Our team starts the day by digging posts to replace at the new greenhouse site. This new construction will house growth of the reforestation trees (planted at Colegio site and the Santa Elena Reserve) and hydroponic vegetable garden.

Here Ella , Igor and agricultural teacher Daniel measure the plastic ceiling on the basketball court.

Tomorrow the structure will start coming up, but making cheese will be on the agenda by request.

"Here come the Russians" is our affectionate team name.

Ella and husband Leonid, defected from the USSR in the 90's and made a life for themselves in the USA as distinguished physicians. They traveled to Costa Rica with younger son Igor to offer him some "perspective" since Igor attends a private military school and has the benefit of many luxuries.

Team Leader is quite proud of the first day's work! Good Job Global Volunteers!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Canitas primary school gets new entrance

Team 208 The project continues with building of a new ramp for the Canitas Primary School entrance. Rain waters got stuck right at the school entrance before today.
After the installation of the cement culvert , and ramp (cement mixed by hand)and digging of the ditches, the primary school will be a healthier , prettier place to come study.

Tonight our volunteers present donations to the Canitas community Health Post and Women's soccer team and say goodbye to the village and new found friends. Soccer demonstration and community potluck dinner to finish.

On behalf of Global Volunteers MUCHISIMAS GRACIAS a Cathy, Kirk, Bobby, Chris and Davone POR VENIR A AYUDARNOS!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Miami Dolphin Davone Bess helps Canitas

Aside from helping tile , clean up ditches , Star Miami Dolphin Wide Receiver Davone Bess has been connecting with the local kids.

He has reached out to play soccer but has the patience to teach anyone who is willing to learn some first class American football.

Here is a sample and thanks Davone for teaching a few Costarricans how to follow the game and you this coming season. We admire you when you signed up to help, but we appreciate you for the interest and affection and humble spirit that you carry with you.

Tiling continues in Canitas Community Center

Our crew of five tread on with tiling today as week two starts off.

Massive rain kept us inside in this project. The many volunteer teams over the years have constructed this massive community center for a community of about 100 people.

Today as the downpour "aguacero" came down to proof the gap this center fills for the kids , they had a healthy place to play and exercise.

Cathy: Thought of the Day: Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean. Ryunosuke Satoro

May 25 Journal: Monday was a productive day. All of us were on hands and knees cleaning the kitchen tiles and then Chris and Roberto and several local community helpers grouted the kitchen while Devone, Cathy and Kirk worked with Franklin to continue tiling the Snack area. Break found Davone and Roberto getting routed in a soccer game with two local teenage girls...score 25-10!
The afternoon found us working with several community members as we finished cleaning the grout and continued to tile until quitting time. The rainy season has started in earnest. Kirk Cunningham

Breaky and go to work

The COS program starts with a hearty breakfast and then a morning meeting. Then it's out to go to work. Our tiling project continues as the local leaders and volunteers work alongside our volunteers. The tiling will procure the kitchen opening for business to raise funds for the town development projects and to fund the sports teams in the area.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Laying Tile in Canitas

Thursday started off with a BANG! As we prepared for work, we all wondered if the carpenter and the tools were going to make an appearance today so we could get rockin with this tile. As we pulled up to the work site, the crew was already there and just about to walk in! Everyone seemed super excited, and we all got to work.

We soaked the tiles before laying them, nearly finished the kitchen area, and got a good amount done in the snack area as well. Overall, it was a fantastic day. Don Victor worked with us all day, as did most of the children. We met Manuel, Jorge, Orlando, Franklin the carpenter, and Wilma the soccer coach. All very nice people. I'm not sure how the other Volunteers feel, but it seems like everyday we work we become more and more a part of this small town that isn't even on the map called Canitas.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stay Flexible!

Today started with another incredible breakfast of bacon, eggs, and coffee. We were a couple minutes late leaving for Canitas but soon got underway with sunny skies ahead and great hopes that we would arrive and see a truck filled with tile sitting there waiting for us. We had no such luck so me, CK, and Roberto cleared out the drainage ditches up near the health office and lumber yards, while Cathy, and Captain Kirk put the finishing touches on the bare floors for the tile. They joined us soon after our lightning coffee break to rake up the grass in the front yard of the health office, while me, CK, and Roberto explored the area a little and took some pictures. Lunch was bomb, we had steak and more beans. I love beans. About ten minutes before lunch was over the rain came and washed our morning work down the drain, literally. Hanging out with Don Nicco's family was a humbling experience, seeing them so happy, just in each other's company, made me want to toss away all my televisions as soon as I get home.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Miami Dolphin Davone Bess helps Canitas

Miami Dolphin Wide Receiver Davone Bess spends his "lock-out" time serving the small northern town of Canitas in the Monteverde Region in Costa Rica. Today it was cleaning up culverts in front of the local Health post. And in time the help came! The downpour two hours later, was measured at 3 inches of rain in less than a minute. The swift action by Global Volunteers team number 208, prevented the local health clinic from being flooded today. Team mates , Manager CK and Bobby "Roberto" Stoffel joined Davone in this task. In the picture, from left to right Marciano, Bobby, Davone, Don Nicho, CK and in the back youngster (and Davone's new quaterback costarrican protege) Jeremy "chilling" with them. Handsome Team!

Kirk and Cathy

Our Cunningham team from Arizona cleans out the recently cut grass at the Health Post. Thanks guys for being great examples of our servant/learner under the local community philosophy!! We are very proud of your work!
Nia- Global Volunteers

Materials arrive at the Community Center

Cathy, Kirk and Robert helped download the ceramic tiles for the Canitas Community Center. They prepared the floor by filling and cleaning the floor. In solidarity the driver donated the transportation.

From Cathy's journal :
May- 17: Today began with Robert, Chris and Davone taming the jungle, also known as clearing trees from around the community center. The excitement of hacking with machetes quickly disappeared as black flies claimed them for lunch. Kirk and Cathy spent the morning preparing floors for tiling...scraping, washing and sweeping. After lunch Chris used his experience in concrete work to patch the cement floor, and Robert applied a blue adhesive. During breaks, Davone, Chris and Robert introduced the local boys to American football and joined in pickup games of soccer.
Today we learned the true meaning of community in the term community center. Because school was not in session today, flocks of children, babies in strollers, and parents all stopped by to visit or play soccer. By the time our day ended, our cirlce of friends had grown to include people from ages 3 months to 70 years old. Our conversations in broken Spanish with translations by Nia has helped us create new bonds and friendships.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Team in Canitas

The day started off with breakfast, and everyone learned about Davone Bess and Chris´ intriguing training diet.

We started our trek up to St. Elena around 1 PM, and the views were amazing. Most of the mountain roads were close to very steep drop-offs and were quite narrow as well. We took two breaks, plus a break for pictures during the trip. I would not want to drive up the mountains, but rather hire a driver instead. We arrived at the hotel around 4:30 PM, and had free time until dinner at 6. Davone and Chris chose to workout for a short time. I (Bobby) chose to check out the downtown main street, and Kirk and Kathy chose to do the same. The main street has a few souvenir shops and at least one restaurant. The time spent here in St. Elena will be a welcome change of culture. Dinner was mucho delicioso, and included steak, enchilada type thing, local vegetable bathed in oil or butter, and ended with chocolate cake. After dinner, the crew is now aware that our host can cook very well!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day in Costa Rica today!! Today's nationwide holiday will be marked by many processions, the day off from work for most, and a presidential speech.

Costa Ricans are renowned for their gregarious and fun-loving nature, and it’s contagious during the numerous fiestas, horse parades and carnivals celebrated throughout the country. These festivities provide a great opportunity to sample tasty food, make new friends, and learn the local traditions of this fascinating country.

~ Information courtesy of CostaRica.com.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Susan 's journal

We awoke to another sunny day, only to discover that our team was going to be down by one. Colton developed a stomach virus. After a quick run into town for ginger ale and bread, Colton was left in the care of Giovanni and Zelmira, and his cell phone, with instructions not to create international charges unless necessary. It was off to the community center to continue the bathrooms. To our surprise, Minor had been hard at work and we were almost finished. Connor jumped into working on the walls, while the rest of us cleared a walkway around the back. Progress happened rapidly and the scaffolding was removed from the walls. They also cut the pipes and placed the septic tank in the ditch. It was so much fun to see a project move along almost to completion. We took our now familiar stroll to Elvin's house for another delicious meal. Though hot, sweaty, and tired, the kids engaged in a lively conversation about when we could return to Cebadilla.
After lunch we shifted our focus to the school. Connor, Chase and Cadyn played soccer with the students while we got organized. After retrieving a frisbee from the roof, we got back to work. Minor outlined an area to lay concrete while Connor and I dug it out for him. Then we attempted to pull down a section of the roof to be repaired. The going was tough and hopefully we'll make more progress tomorrow. I have been amazed and impressed at how hard the kids have worked, and how inventive they have been when taking initiative. On the way back to the hotel they were talking about all we have accomplished and how much more spanish we need to learn!

Colton seemed recovered enough to join us at the table. Since everyone was hungry, we had an early dinner, then walked through town to the serpentarium, with a stop at the Common Cup for smoothies. We met the Atlanta born owner and a student from Chevy Chase bound for Duke in the fall. We promised to return to roast our own personalized coffee! At the serpentarium we saw a ton of snakes we hope to never see in the wild, and over the course of an hour watched a boa constrictor shed his skin. Very cool! Time for the tired crew to get some rest.

Cadyn 8 years old journals a day with Global Volunteers

We woke up and got dressed (including sun tan lotion, water bottles, the first aid kit, and work stuff). Then we had a delicious breakfast of hot dogs, cheese, gallo pinto (rice and beans mixture), fruit, and for a drink melon juice. Then we had a meeting where Connor read his journal entry and Colton read his thought of the day. Then finally the Mango Tangos were off to work. At work we made a fresh new layer in the blocks, filled in the blocks with rocks, and collected rocks for inside the blocks. Then we had lunch. It was a delicious lunch of beef and vegetable soup called “Olla de Carne”, fruit, rice, and salad. Elvin played his guitar for us and we played a mini game of soccer before we went back to work. We did some more stuff with the blocks, and took a few breaks. The van picked us up early today and we had an early dinner. Dinner was also delicious. We had cheese and bean empanadas, beef and vegetable rice, and salad. For drink we had fruit punch, and for dessert we had coconut and sugar cane crisps and little white and pink candies. The candies were squishy and sweet. Then we had some time to do whatever we wanted. After that, we went on a night walk. The animals we saw were two sloths, three stick bugs, two huge crickets, a lot of headlight bugs, a raccoon, a huge ant colony (leaf cutter ants), an armadillo, bats, sleeping birds and a tarantula. We also got to see stars and also a beetle been eaten by the leaf cutter ants. On the night walk we also saw lots of cool and interesting plants. Then we went into town, got ice cream and snacks, and did some errands. We went back to the hotel, and then went to bed to charge our batteries for the next day!

Journal by Connor

Journal by Connor:

Early Monday morning, the Mango Tangos [our chosen team name] prepared for their first day of work.

Filling up our water bottles, and covering our exposed skin with suntan

location, we were ready to go. After enjoying a delicious breakfast

(courtesy of Zelmira) we packed into the van which would deliver us to

Cebadilla. When we arrived at the local primary school, we filed out of the

van and headed towards the building. Ten steps en route for our destination,

Chase, our water boy, accidentally released his precious cargo of H2O

hydrating the local vegetation. Meeting the local scholars, we then

proceeded to play a friendly game of soccer. The work

soon started and we all helped to finish a triplet of bathroom stalls

earlier started by a different group. We worked various jobs ranging from

carting stone, to mixing cement. Half way through the day, we hiked to

Elbin´s house for a scrumptious lunch. Hot and worn out, this was a much

needed break. Once our meal was digested, we placed more blocks and nearly

completed the filling in of the septic field. Mom and I decided that

multiple people should fill in the space between the blocks because with

only one person manning the job, the progress was far too slow. So we copied

the contraption earlier designed to speed along that process. After cleaning

up and saying our goodbyes, we climbed back into a van to begin our journey

back to the hotel. Following the confirmation that the horse was in fact

sleeping, we dropped off our gear at base camp. A hard earned break soon

came after consisting of, Colton, Mom, Cadyn and I devouring a luscious

variety of ice cream. Concluding our day with dinner and an evening meeting,

we settled down and thought about what a great day we had just experienced.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Connor powers through batches of cement

Connor mixes several batches of cement for teammates to pour the bathroom complex walls in Cebadilla this morning.

Global Volunteers Team 207 Costa Rica volunteer abroad

As team 207 Global Volunteers in the Costa Rica Service Program, continues the link of volunteers, Cebadilla's community center bathroom complex gets support. Chase and Cadyn collect rocks to fill the drainage ditch for the Septic Tank system. Hard work under the sun!

Colton cements

Colton spent the better part of his day today filling up the gaps and cracks of the cement walls for the community center in Cebadilla, 7kms north of Santa Elena, Monteverde Costa Rica. Colton is volunteering abroad through the Global Volunteers service program in Costa Rica.