Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Last Day, Last Photo

Monday, March 28, 2011

Students are in Miami

Hello parents! The students are safely in Miami airport and have cleared customs. They are grabbing a bite to eat before boarding the flight to New York, They are scheduled to arrive at 9:45pm on AA 2086. Please call the office with any questions - 303.679.3412.

Erin Lasky
Program Director

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Waterfalls, zip line, last dinner together. :(

This will be our last posting from the wonderful land of Costa Rica as we will be on a shuttle van at 6:30 tomorrow morning.

This is just a recap of today's activities.

This day went as everyday so far...according to plan. We climbed down to the base of the Fortuna water falls (700 hundred steps) and were treated to a swim with fresh fish at the base of this magnificent natural wonder.

We climbed back up and drove back to the Eco Lodge where we all did some chillin' in the rooms prior to lunch then onto the Ecoglide Ziplines.  After a very intensive equipment check and a test "zip" on a mini zipline we drove up to the lines. The course is made up of 12 ziplines that are broken up into eight short lines through the trees from platform to platform where we are unhooked and rehooked and sent off again. Then after the eighth zipline we came to the Tarzan Swing where your harness is attached to a vertical cable and you jump forward off a platform immediately dropping to the ground then up in the trees and back toward the platform again. I don't have to tell anyone what a thrill this was for everyone. We have a video of this activity. Then four more longer lines that gave you time to take in the magnificent vista all around and we we are done.

                                                                    Hannah on the test zipline.

Once we completed the course we drove back to the lodge in a van filled with the nervous chatter of people who pushed themselves to do something difficult and came out the other side successful and felt satisfied.

The day just ended with our final meal together during which we presented Gio with a few gifts and cards filled with heart felt words of gratitude and appreciation. Giovanni is a very special individual. His wealth of knowledge about the wildlife and culture of this amazing country gave us all a true appreciation for where the country has come from and where it is heading.

We were all very proud to have been a small part of this process.

And as they say in these parts...

Hasta Mañana!

Update on Airfare

Hi Parents,
We have been talking with American today about the flight tomorrow and everything looks like it is on schedule at this point. Many flights were going through to Miami today, though some were also canceled. If there is any travel change, we will be notified immediately by the  automated American system and will work with the American agents to reschedule. We will keep you updated via this blog. Let's cross our fingers!
Thank you,
Ross Wehner, World Leadership School

Sunday March27th / Day 9

                                                       Catarata Eco Lodge / La Fortuna

                                                    What beautiful sights to wake up to.

Hey All this is Samantha, having a great time in La Fortuna.  La Fortuna is so much different than Linda Vista was. Linda Vista seemed to be more rural, and filled with people living off of their land with the use of plantations and farms, while La Fortuna seems to be more of a touristy area. Though both are beautiful in their own way, I can say that I miss the community of Linda Vista. Yesterday, though,  we went to the hot springs and spent a good couple hours just relaxing and soaking in the hot water, which was a great way to end the day after all of the goodbyes we had to say in Linda Vista. So, overall, as the trip is coming to a close, we are all having a great time, but also just really excited to see our parents.

I cried. Twice. Once after the party at the school. The second as we left our families. Leaving such a great host family just makes you very sad. They were so absolutely wonderful! The way that they took care of us was spectacular and we really became close with them. For our last night we sang kareoki and now Chelsea, Sam and I can't get those songs out of our heads. After that we transported to La Fortuna (that's what it says on the itinery despite the fact that the word transport to me means the star trek transporter.) It's a tourist town but it is very nice. Yeeeesssssssssss. We went to a hot spring. I went in a few, went on the water slide, explored, and talked with Chelsea. Then we went to foooooooood. Very good. Also we went shopping where I picked up some gifts (NO SPOILERS ABOUT GIFTS ARE IN THE TRANSMISSION.) And today shall be a NEW ADVENTURE! HAZZAAA! *sticks hands triumphantly in the air* It will be great and I'll enjoy my day today (like I wouldn't!) considering that it's my last. SEE YOU SOOON!
Hannah the slightly sleepy and thinks that she's funny.
P.s. So sorry we got cut off on the phone family! The phone ran out of battery. :P
tell you more later.

everything is good in La Fortuna, even though it is really different than Linda Vista. This is more of a tourist place, but there's hot water which is good. Also, yesterday we went to the hot springs which was very relaxing after a week of working at the school. I'm so excited for zip lining today as well!

Hey parentals  (Jo, Rich)
Were in La fortuna it is very nice almost like a hotel, I have taken 3 hot showers is was pretty EPIC.  The weather is nice not to hot. Yesterday we went to the hot springs, that was fun but I forgot to pack a bathing-suit bottom so I had to wear shorts I felt a little silly. The water in the pools was really hot, there were lots of people there many other groups of kids on school trips and families on vacation. I'm very excited to come home and see you but I am also sad to leave. I'm so happy I've got pretty tan you can see freckles on my nose and some freckles have appeared on my hands. When I come home ya'll is gonna look like a bunch pale peeps and I will be all brown and freckled. Leaving our home stays was a little sad, but I think I will make it through the hot shower defiantly helped dry my tears. sadly we haven't seen many animals we saw some monkeys but they were very far away so it doesn't really count. Hopefully the fire at the Miami airport won't affect out flight, Costa Rica is really beautiful but I feel that it is time to go home, our mission of community service is over so now were just chillin. see you soon
xoxoxxo Emma

Hola Todos (& Hi Mommy),
                                              We left Linda Vista yesterday morning and we are currently in La Fortuna. I was a bit sad when we left our home stay family but I think its time we come home. Being with them made me learn many new things. I learned a lot more spanish, how different other people's lives are, and etc. However, it made me miss my family seeing how much love was there. I'm feeling really happy about the work we accomplished at the Linda Vista School and I know we are all very proud. Costa Rica has been an amazing experience. Our last night there we had a fiesta which was really fun. I sang for everyone and many people sang as well. I was nervous to but I decided that I should because I can't just go back to that time and have that same opportunity again. It was really great there. Yesterday, we went to The Baldi, a spa and hotel where we relaxed in the water. It was nice just to have a day to ourselves. After that we ate and went shopping. I went a little crazy with the shopping but I bargained a lot and shopped around. I really enjoyed shopping and I bought my mom a lot of stuff because I felt like she was my missing piece here. I'm not homesick but I'm ready to be home to share everything with all of you. The creepy crawlers, the confessions of shopaholics (Hannah & I), the sad days, the kids, the working days,the singing, and the goodbyes. I hope all of you guys are fine and not worried about us at all. The trip has been great and hopefully we'll see you tomorrow.
                                                        With love,

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 26/Day 8 Costa Rica

It's been too busy to write and difficult to find internet.  Today we arrived at Catarata Eco-Lodge in La Fortuna, near the Arenal Volcano.  The rooms are clean, a swimming pool is near our rooms and the best thing is the toilets flush and we can take hot showers.  We're appreciating the comforts.

Yesterday, after we finished constructing eight tables for the Linda Vista School greenhouse, we had a Costa Rica vs. International soccer game with World Leadership School faculty and Berkeley Carroll group.  We won't say who won, but it was close!  There were many games, contests, food and dancing for all ages. 

The Linda Vista School community said good bye and thanked us for our work.

The Linda Vista boys, Kenneth, William and Joseph, who are in charge of the tables for the hydroponic garden that will provide healthy food for the students' meals.

Tomorrow we will hike to a waterfall and take a canopy tour (zip line, yikes!) of the Arenal volcano region.

We're a bit sad to leave our host families and Meghan and Davis, the owners of Chilamate Eco-Retreat.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March 24/Day 6 Costa Rica

Today more work on the tables and a visit to a local dairy farm.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hello to Emma Rosman

Hi, Emma:

Just saw all the wonderful pictures and your post. I'm so glad you're having a great time. Ignore the frizzies and enjoy the moment.

Lots of Love,

The Journey Continues

Yesterday we began construction of the hydroponic tables. To begin this project we first had to sort the wood into different piles according to length and width. We then measured and marked one board ad a template so that the pile could be marked and brought to me for cutting. The 16 long boards were marked by hand one by one whereas the 48 shorter boards we set up an assembly line with some placing the wood onto a table set up inside a slot with a stopper so once the wood was in place the end of the wood was positioned so that the saw would be lined up to cut the board at exactly one meter. Then the that board was removed and while it was taken to be stacked the first person placed another board onto the table and so on until all 64 pieces were cut and stacked.

After a break we returned to the work sight and with hammers in hand we began assembling the tables. Several of the students were tentative about using a hammer and some took to it automatically but by lunch 8 one-meter-square table frames were stacked and ready to be legged up.

Yesterday’s lunch was at a hacienda just down the road from the school, hosted by a neighbor Maria Rosa. The entrance was magical. A wide front lane lined with palms and ornamental plants. Immediately upon entering the tall wrought iron front gates we were passionately greeted by a pack of beautiful dogs while up by the front door several elderly dogs patiently awaited our arrival with their tails feverishly wagging. We took a tour of the lovely gardens, led by Gio, and lunch was served outdoors featuring fresh vegetables, rice, beans, lentils, plantains, chicken, and beef. Our day ended with an assembly line preparation of our tamale dinner feast at the Casa Loma Tranquil and Doña Olga, one of the host family mothers.

Today we spent the entire day at the Escuela Linda Vista. All of the trip students taught an interactive English class to the one-room school students (grades 1-6) that ended with a “relay race” drill of Spanish words to English. Winners (the girls’ team) won new pencils. For the rest of the day, work continued on making tables for the hydroponic greenhouse with much hammering and carrying wood in the sunny tropical heat. Gio Madrigal, our World Leadership and Naturalist guide, used a machete to break coconuts for a terrific coconut water break. Now we are at the Chilamate Retreat/Rio Sarapiqui taking a swim before returning to our host families and tomorrow we visit a dairy farm to learn how to make queso blanco.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

3/21 We're Lovin It!

Costa Rica March 22

 Escuela Linda Vista and Host Families. 

Hey mom and dad (it’s Emma) sorry I didn’t call or anything I was too busy. Which is a good thing. Costa Rica is amazing the weather is really nice but very humid, my hair is growing bigger and bigger the level of frizz CANNOT be contained. Olivias and I host family is very nice we have our own room and we are having a great time. Unfortunately my Spanish is not a good as I had hoped. I get so nervous and I say things that don’t make sense or I can’t think of the word. The gifts were over great the little girls were CRAZY for the bubbles. They were running all over the place saying “Bombas, Bombas”; which means bubbles bubbles. The food is so good this morning we had nectar, which is some type of juice, it was great we also had horchatta (not spelled correctly), which is a rice/cinnamon milk. I have eaten more vegetables in a couple of days, than I have eaten in my whole life. So you should be proud. The children in the school are very funny we taught them a game called Ninja which we play at camp. I love you so much

Dear world (or most likely parents who are reading this.)
Costa Rica is amazing, but more than ever I have never realized how truly messed up our country is. From food processing to the greed of corporate companies it all seems to be so wrong.  Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if I’m anti America or not having a good time. It’s just that these people and their lives make me realize this in a way that I only noticed on a minor scale. Yesterday was the first time I  xsey       adu7oiop 74 1``1```1 the preceding part  is from Roxinia who is a 6 year old adorable girl in the house that I have been staying at. They are wonderful. The mother, Mayella is so accepting of us. A 21 year old mother she loves singing, dancing and learning English. Yesterday was Roxinia’s birthday and we had an English-Spanish word sharing session. WE HAD SOOO MUCH FUN. Yesterday as well we put up blackboards and played a new game with the kids at the school. The food is absolutely delicious and the dogs (even though I’m not supposed to be touching them….. and thus I absolutely break the rules on that front.) are sooo cute (despite the fleas.) In fact yesterday I was racing the tilapia farm dog home and she followed me, refusing to leave until Geo went back in that direction. Today we started building the tables for the greenhouse and yesterday we ate lunch at the tilapia farm. (mom, it was absolutely delicious. I wish you had eaten it!)   Anyway things here are good as I try to marvel in the splendor of the forests and TRY AND WRITE THIS WITHOUT BEING TICKLED BY THE TWO GIRLS! GOODNESS!
See you later- well write to you all later despite the fact that I have no sense of time and keep jumping around. Things are a tad hectic. Nice though. Anyway. Got to go. We’re making tamales!

Hannah (the dog petter, who likes my homestay family and enjoys confusing writing.)

Since we arrived I, along with everyone, have been having a great time. Though it rains a lot, and sometimes sporadically, the scenery is amazing and the people are even better. My host family is very nice, and very eager to learn about the English language, and so we have been having a great time teaching them simple words in English, and vice versa. The language barrier has not been as hard as I thought it would be, and I have actually been communicating with my family very well. Not only have we been having a great time with the families, but also with the school children. The school is very small and there are only about fifteen students and one teacher, but they are all very friendly. In general the trip has been great and hopefully there will be more great times to come
Buenas Dias,
                        From the second we entered Costa Rica on the plane, it has been nothing but fun. I haven’t stopped smiling. From our very first day here, I learned so many things about the people, the food, and the culture. Despite a few bugs, everywhere is beautiful and everyone is just as beautiful. No one is disrespectful. People are so welcoming and understanding. I try to speak only Spanish with everyone here and it hasn’t been hard to communicate at all. I had many fears like missing too many people, messing up when communicating, and of heights. Since the trip started, I no longer have those fears. I enjoy every second with my host family. Their two daughters keep me constantly on my feet. We are always laughing, singing, dancing, and coloring. Last night, I taught the mom English words along with Sam and Hannah. We did that for two hours and it was so much fun. She taught us some new words. The kindness and calmness in Costa Rica is unbelievable. It’s the people that make a place and I have to repeat myself by saying Costa Rica is amazing. At the Linda Vista School, the kids are really great. They have one teacher who makes the most of what she has. She also has a kind spirit. I think she is superwoman for the things she does for the kids. I’m so happy to experience all of the things I have so far. I feel more responsible, aware, and happy.  I have a feeling that there will be many more great times to tell all of you when we come home. I miss my family but I have already become a part of another here. I’m too busy having fun to feel sad! I think all of us are. I hope all of you are fine and I want you to know that we are having a great time.                   
                              Hasta pronto,                                                                               

            Everything is good here, working at the school and the other activities are very fun. We taught the kids a game from school (Ninja) and they seem to like it a lot. Although I can’t speak Spanish, the people here are very understanding and I am having fun every day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

More photos

We are heading to the school and our host families today. Depending on Gio's ability to shuttle a zip drive to the Eco lodge and internet access we might be out of touch for a day or two until then here are some photos.

Cell phone service should work for Dalienne's number:


Jim and Dalienne and muchachas

Day 2/Evening

Each experience here tops the one before. Our last post lead ended with the private time after our Rain Forest walk. Despite the beauty and slow pace of the walk, the steep terrain and potentially problematic muddy slopes kept us alert. With the help of Gio and a lot of teamwork we exited the hike without a single fall but a unanimous need for rest. Our glorious siesta led into lunch where we again ate like king and queens. Delicious home-grown red potato salad, home made guacamole and tortillas, and of course arroz y frijoles (rice and beans). They also had a blended fruit salad made from pineapple, banana, cantaloupe and guava. DELICIOUS! After lunch some local artisans arrived to display their hand-made crafts. These crafts consisted of braided wristbands, beaded necklaces made from shells and beads and hand painted cards featuring local wildlife. The girls surrounded the table and before long there were many happy faces on both sides of the table. This exhibit of international monetary exchange had to end if we were to make the launching site for the rafts.

We walked a kilometer or so to the gathering point and boarded a bus that ferried us to the rafts. Waiting for us at the launch site were 9 rafts and 60 other rafters from Europe. Once we were all suited up with our PDF's, helmets and oars, a safety instruction was conducted filling us in on steering calls, oar usage and what to do if you should happen to fall out of the boat (which no one did except for Gio). Finally we launched and what took place next was amazing. We drifted down glorious Sarapiqui River surrounded by beautiful vegetation and wild life, coasting some of the time and then paddling as hard as we could. At one point we saw what looked like another river merging with ours but it turned out to be last night’s rain on a nearby mountain rushing from the bank into the river. We had a brief stop on the riverbank where the guides sliced up pineapples for all 70 of us to eat, then it was back to more awesome sights and sporadic paddling. Cold, tired, soaked and spent, we exited the river and walked back to our cabins with a surprise side track by Gio for ice cream at a nearby cafe.

We don't know if Costa Rica has extra special ice cream or if we were just so tired and hungry that anything would have tasted great but this ice cream was incredible. Thanks Gio! Then it was to our rooms, a low carbon-print shower and off to visit the host families for dinner. Due to time restraints that story will have to wait until later. But here are some pictures to tide you over.... Everyone says hi!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 2- adventures

Our day began with a get to know each other talk in under the glorious palms that surround this serene world. Each person described the reason they came on this trip then some personal informal about our interests and passions. Gio then lead us to the Boot Station where everyone selected a pair of boots that fit them the closest and we were off to the rain forest. A personal favorite part of this hike was the way everyone instinctively remained silent as we listened to the frogs and birds. It's a wonderful feeling sharing an experience with others in absolute silence. Occasionally we stopped to look at termite mounds or green and black frogs, fig trees and spiders. We trekked for about an hour and a half and upon return everyone had some private time before lunch.  We are gathering now for our walk to the community gathering with the host families so the story of the rafting trip in the afternoon will have to wait.

Adios, Jim

Day 2 / breakfast

A well deserved sleep lead us into a wonderful rain forest morning. Ear piercing bird chirps calls filling the canopy, raindrops the size of olives pelting our cabin roofs and of course the continuous dropping of the fruit from the cas tree. These lime-size fruits are used in a much loved juice but the fact that they randomly crash onto the tin cabin roofs at all hours of the day, according to our students is an acquired taste. We will be eating shortly and then, to quote Emma we will go on a "liquid sunshine" hike.
Adios until later.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

We are here at Chilamate.

Day 1 / arrival at Chilamate
After being picked up at the airport by Gio we stopped at a local supermarket and picked up a few goodies to hold us over as we traveled an hour and a half to our cabins. The van was bustling with chatter as everyone shared their treats but as the time passed and the darkness engulfed the vehicle everyone grew more and more silent. The road was windy and the traffic similar to the entrance of the Holland tunnel. The road to the eco lodge is the main artery to the Caribbean shore and is packed with trucks loaded with produce eeking up the mountain road at times coming to a stand still. Our driver, Rafa kept pace on the narrow road and eventually he turned our van into this wonderful resort. Meghan, Sarah and Tristan met us trailside and assisted us with our bags up to an outdoor banquet replete with melons and pineapples on the tables and a buffet of locally grown food ready to eat. As I write this the students are settling into their cabins and Dalienne and I are chatting outdoors with Meghan and Gio as we hear the sounds of the jungle and the constant surge of the nearby river. Tomorrow morning we rise at 8am for breakfast, a rain forest walk and in the afternoon we go rafting. Adios!  Jim

Miami Airport

Waiting for our flight to San Jose, Chelsea's name was called to come to the desk!  She was given a window seat instead of a sandwich seat between two people.  We all have great seats for our next flight.  All systems go...

Group Arrival

Hello parents,
I wanted to let you know that I spoke with Jim Kent just now and the group is getting ready to board their flight in Miami. I also spoke to the instructor Giovanni Madrigal, and he is awaiting the group's arrival in Costa Rica and getting ready for the adventure. If you have any questions, please call me on (303) 679-3412.
Ross Wehner, Executive Director, World Leadership School

Friday, March 18, 2011

BCS is bound for Costa Rica

BCS students are going to Costa Rica tomorrow.  We will use this site to post our activities, photos and news of the adventure.  Parents are invited to view and students will contribute on a daily basis.  Your faculty chaperones are Dalienne Majors and Jim Kent.