Sunday, February 27, 2011

Service and See Nature

Our Service Program hours run from 8am to 4pm. Despite the ample work service schedule volunteers find time to enjoy local attractions.

This fine specimen , known as the Mot Mot bird was spotted just right outside the Coop before a workday. He was waiting for the gardener to finish cutting the grass, a nice opportunity to feast on the crawlers below!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gravel, Cloud Forests & Traditional Dance!

Thursday, February 24th

Thought of the day and Journal by Chris: "A forest of these trees is a spectacle too much for one man to see." - David Douglas

Today we finally got to see the cloud forests! We started off the day graveling trails with the Colegio kids as well as a few European volunteers who worked at the reserve. We thought we'd just be carrying gravel down a hill and dumping it but we ended up needing to carry it about a half kilometer through the rain forest over hills and valleys, it was tough work.

After lunch we had a slight change of pace and took a guided trip into the cloud forest which was absolutely gorgeous. Once we'd seen a good amount of forests we went back to the high school where some students performed typical costa rica dances for us which were very cool!!

To finish off the day, Jorge and the kids took us out to pizza and the kids presented us with gifts and Jorge gave us all certificates of our work. It's been a great time, and tomorrow we get to travel back!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Why Volunteer?

Many people ask me why I do what I do, here is my answer through my favorite song by "Chambao" a spanish group the song is called "Dibujar en el aire una cancion":

Ya no quiero vivir con los temores/ I don't want to live with fears anymore
que prefiero entregarme a la ilusión/ I prefer to surrender to the illusion
y lo que creo defenderlo con firmeza/ what I believe I will defend firmly, without a history that drags me

Y si un dia me siento transformao´/ and if one day I feel transformed
y decido reorientar la dirección/and I decide to change direction
tomaré un nuevo rumbo sin prejuicios/I will take a new path without prejudice
porque en el cambio está la evolución.../because change is in evolution

Evolution change their is evolution

Que mi camino se encuentre iluminao´/Hope the path is always illuminated
y la negrura no me enturvie el corazón/ and never hold darkness in my heart
y el sentimiento al escoger entre los frutos/ the feeling of choosing between the results
decisión para subir otro escalón,/ a decision to take the next step forward
vivir el presente hacía el futuro/ live the present towards the future
guardar el pasado en el arcón./. leave the past were it belongs

Trabajar por el cambio de conciencia/ Work for a change in conscience
dibujar en el aire una canción....una canción./. to Draw a song in the air!

Monday Feb 21-Chris

Chris Rose is in to the second week if his first Global Volunteers trip in Costa Rica. After enjoying a well deserved weekend of suna nd relaxation, he is up to his 24? repaired chair. Jessica assists while he secures the back of the seat today.

Monday Feb 21-Judith

Judith joins 3 high school students to paint some metal grids. The girls are in 11th grade and are specializing in Food and Beverage. The metal grid is for their classroom. Lots of RED!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Marv and Dor say good bye

Marvin and Doris say goodbye to the Costa Ric service program in Monteverde. They were here only one week but it was enough to fill our hearts with warmth. Thanks for the support to the Coop!

Team 206 February

Chris, Judith, Doris and Marvin hang out during lunch to say good-bye. Doris and Marvin a five time volunteer couple headed towards Sugar Beach this weekend while Chris and Judith headed to Puntarenas for some well deserved fun in the sun .

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chris repairs chairs at the highschool

Chris is volunteering at the local Monteverde high-school for two weeks, repairing chairs and desks. Chris's background in set design came in handy to quickly put back together the numerous chairs and desks that needed repair. Here he works with Francis.

Judith takes on the grids

Judith takes on the "Food and Beverage" building grids at the Sta.Elena High School and paints them with Sylvia.

The local education institution trains kids in two main areas: Food/Beverage and Ecology/Tourism. Kids choose an area to specialize in all through 12th grade and they are able to get a job in the tourism industry as as soon as they graduate.

This High School is one of 90 technical high schools in Costa Rica. It serves a student body of 300.

Global Volunteers Camaraderie

We spend a significant amount of time building our teams. Costa Rica Team No. 206 is working both at the local High School fixing chairs and desks and working at CASEM, the local Women's Coop. But after work they come together to share the days highlights and coffee caramels.

Here is Chris ,19, from Chicago, who has become quite popular at the local high school, as he tests his skills after dinner with Marvin and Doris who are serious wagers. The camaraderie developed spans generations ! Peace

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dynamic Duo: Marvin and Doris

The 61 year married couple makes braids with yarn to sell at cost to the CASEM COOP members.

All that black!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Hotel such ...detailed service!

Our gracious hosts at the hotel, Geovanny and Zelmira, handed out candy and roses to everyone on our team today. Happy Valentine's Day!

CASEM Diner opens it's doors!

After a year and 7 months of work, dozens of coffee sticks sanded and varnished, walls painted, items demolished , storages built, alongside the CASEM Coop, the diner was inaugurated this past saturday and today on Valentine's Day opened it's doors to the public for the first time. Congratulations CASEMCOOP!

Off to the Coop & High School!

February 14th, 2011

Thought of the Day offered by Judith: "The highest form of wisdom is kindness." ~ The Talmud

Journal by Judith:

Good morning all,

Our day started with a lovely heart gesture straight from a romantic himself Marv. Our breaky delight was topped off with candy hearts that made the day seem bright even though the ¨cats hair¨rain was upon us.

After breaky Team Ra Ro Ro (our last names in alphabetical order.) was off and walking/riding to our work sites.

Doris and Marv were off to the CO OP to fill their morning with yarn, yarn, and yarn. There were spools, melting of colors and all sorts of yarn stuff. Unfortunately the work day was called slightly short but there is promise of more yarn, and yarn like terminology that we will get to share and learn from tomorrow.

Chris and I were off the the local high school one of 90 high schools in Costa Rica. This high school in particular caters to young adults interested in the agricultural industry and the food and beverage industry. With that said one of our young hosts longs to study medicine in the years of academia ahead of her.

We met many fascinating folks, George our host, Steven another host and many lovely young folks. Chris and I shared the local berries, sampled the goat cheese produced at the school and worked just enough to feel accomplished.

The animals, greenery and friendly faces made for a lovely day. Among the many highlights I will discuss over the next week or so was meeting a lovely man named Rafael. I suspect he is somewhat complicated as well as talented and frankly from what I witnessed today he definitely is part of the glue that makes this local high school work.

To end the work day we all came back to our rooms to a lovely rose, nothing could have been more simple or was a nice day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A day in Canitas with Global Volunteers

Will Major put together this wonderful compilation of how a day in volunteering goes by in Canitas. Thanks Will!

Job Well Done!

A Job well done is better than a something well said .....Maayan and Atula, Mother and Daughter team, proudly grace the Canitas walkway that will allow kids to walk safely to school.

An amazing 100 meters of cement was built by a team of 10.

Thanks all for the amazing rhythm developed to work and befriend all!

Cheers to the efforts made in tiny Costa Rica !

Be really proud of what you accomplished I know we are!

Brave Atula finishes her program

As we headed down the mountain Atula conquers the Ox carrying the cart. The beautiful specimens turned out to be twin bulls and the Ox Cart Campesino let her try it out.

The Ox cart hearding with the "punzon" (sharp stick) is a lost art. Ox cart were used to transport goods like coffee. The Ox cart hearding how-to was transferred orally from one generation to the next by farmers.This art was pronounced Intangible World Heritage by Unesco in 2006.

Freemans say goodbye to the Costa Rica Programs

Andrew says good-bye to Vilma and excepts a gift from her with a smile.

They headed out to beautiful Tamarindo and later Ecuador. Happy Surfing and enjoy Latitude 0 0 0.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Willie shows off the communal gift

Our team gets ready to say good bye and signs a soccer ball that will be handed publicly to the Canitas Community for all the kids to play.

The ball has been signed by everyone , including our lovely Canadians ;)

Walkway makes progress

The walkway makes progress beyond the driveway, surpassing the 50 meter long mark. Yeah Team ! Miss "the Canadians"!

Tough Atula

Atula takes over gravel duty and supervises bucket filling for the cemento mix.

Perilous descent

Our lovely bright yellow, cement mixer was brought down the mountain through the plantain field , it took a while , but all were safe and ready to mix.

Finally a sign!

Today we had the luxury of road signs. Willie is inspired by the design and rock collecting began again.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cañitas Gothic

A donation of new shovels (or working under a hot sun all day) inspires our volunteers in more than one way. This piece of 21st Century "art" portrays a couple in non traditional roles volunteering in Cañitas outside of Sta.Elena in the Monteverde Region. The shovel symbolizes hard labor, under a blazing sun! Thanks Team for keeping your good humor through the long hard days of digging, mixing and puring cement! -Nia

Atula and Maayan work together

Atula and Maayan make sure enough moisture is on ground to pour cement. In the background the small school of Cañitas. This walkway will serve our young students to walk safely to/from the one room education center.

Young Diplomatic league

Jesse and Willie (U.S. Delegation) Maayan and Jericha (Canadian Delegation) present our cooks with some flowers. Nicely done! -Nia

Girl Power

Nancy and Judy handle a big 110 pound cement bag.Next bag! -Nia

Second breakfast

Will, Willie,Riel, Nancy and Andrew enjoy some arepas (costarrican pancakes), coffee and juice at the Casa club before heading out to mix cement.-Nia


Cement mixing starts ...with an automated cement mixer no less! WOW! Jose Luis dropped by with that baby as Nicho directed operations. Andrew is assisted by Atula as the first batch gets mixed!-Nia

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Here is the famous root they took out

There is still some obscurity surrounding who took this root out but everyone is really proud it happened.

13 year old Willie writes about his volunteer experience

There aren’t words that can describe the day we’ve had today, in Spanish, or English. I have experienced so many new things, seen so many new animals, and watched so many faces brighten as they smile. So here is my modest attempt to describe our adventurous day.

The first thing in the morning, I woke up to the bright sun of Costa Rica, and it is hard to believe, when you see how bright it is, that it is the same sun we may see in America (or especially Canada). We had a breakfast of pancakes, and I loved it so much that I would fly around the world just to taste it again. I could already tell it was going to be a good day.

Upon arrival at our volunteer town, Cañitas, we were greeted by our soft, scruffy, local friends, the dogs (los perros de Cañitas). Soon, after heavy sunscreening and putting on gloves, we walked briskly to a large pile of rocks, where we shoveled mounds of dirt and sand and smoothed them onto the ground. Laughs from everyone were heard as we aggressively papparazzied a tiny little plastic cow on the rocks and in a small ditch we’d dug yesterday. Another very important piece of news was that Native American leader, strong Judy, resigned her position to strong Andrew, as he pulled a giant redwood tree out of the ground with his bare hands (with a tiny bit of help from Riel and Ronald).

Later, Maayan, Jericha, and I were assigned to cook in the kitchen. The old women that we worked with were so nice, and laughed at one of Jericha’s small mistakes with an egg, as she smashed it on the side of the oven with a little too much force. We were impressed by our own courage when we tried what we thought to be goat, that turned out to just be pork. My Spanish did not cover this area of subjects so well, apparently…

At lunch we ate pleasantly, with tea, watermelon juice, and massive amounts of Lizano salsa as the main staples. The delicious Costa Rican traditional foods seemed to bode well with everyone. Maayan seemed a little angry though with her ancestors, for making rice pudding, with the “interesting” texture it has.

After lunch, we had our daily game of soccer, that involved species from dog to human, and humans from Costa Rica to Canada. Riel though, seemed to be a close second to Spot (the name we gave to one of the dogs) in soccer. They barked with their approval.

Later, after much more digging, wheelbarrowing, and looking for “palas”, or shovels with Keilor, or Elena, we went home to see Jesse and my mom. Unfortunately for Jesse and my mother, Jesse was sick and could not come to this day of work.

Finally, we went on a nature walk in the dark near Santa Elena. We saw a beautiful array of animals, including kinkajous, sloths, toucanettes, tarantulas, and so on. It seemed like the perfect way to end a perfect day. But oh no, it wasn’t. At about 8 o’clock, we pulled back into the Mar Inn driveway, thinking silently, and aloud of the animals we had seen. When we came inside, we watched some Spanish dubbed Dog Whisperer, and played an extremely enthusiastic game of Parcheesi. After about half an hour, everyone started yelling at me to go up and write this, so, here it is; a day in Monteverde.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ditch is huge

The ditch dug on Monday was so huge ..cows can come drink water


Our team ..our very own modern family!

Walkway leveling

Walkway leveling continues today , work project starts to take form and volunteers feel more confident that they will be able to work through the mountain to make this happen! Go TEAM!

Maayan and Jericha fall to the charms of a "local"

Maayan conquers wheel barrow action

Maayan manages difficult maneuvers with wheel barrow today ...after playing goalie in a soccer game! Way to go Maayan!

Definitely open to new experiences!