Planting Trees and Dinner with Families – Sydney Carey & Josh Myers

May 22, 2019

Today we woke up bright and early and got ready for our second day in Costa Rica. We ate a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, rice and beans, avocado, and fried plantains at the same place we ate lunch the previous day. After breakfast, we headed over to Carlos and Elieth’s house to meet up and grab our shovels for a morning of planting trees on a local farm.
The walk to get there took about 30 minutes, and we walked past a couple of really interesting sites. We got to see the cemetery, as well as a house with several horses and a mule. We also heard lots of howler monkeys.

Once we arrived, we got to meet the family who lives on the farm and there very cute 3-month-old baby. The farmer had lost one of his legs to cancer, so
it felt good to be able to help him out. He gets carbon credits for planting trees on his farm, so we planted over 100 trees for him to build a natural barrier along a fence. It was a hot and sweaty experience, but also very rewarding.

The Muhlenberg Crew After Planting Trees

When we returned from tree planting, we cleaned ourselves up and ate lunch at the church where we had breakfast the previous day. After lunch, we were given a couple hours to split up and explore Las Juntas and begin asking people questions relating to our projects. It was difficult to interact with most people because of the language barrier, but with some help from
the translators in our group we were able to meet some amazing people and learn a lot of really interesting information. Once we had spent a good amount of time exploring, we headed to a bar and restaurant nearby called Los Mangos to cool down, get smoothies, and use the Wi-Fi.

Tonight was our first dinner with our designated host families, and we were lucky enough to both be assigned to eat dinner with some of the nicest people we have ever met. Our hosts, Esteban and Paula, spoke English which made conversing with them much easier than if we
needed to translate. We ate a fantastic stew with chicken and avocado, and afterwards Esteban took us to get milkshakes. He told us about how he and his wife have lived their whole lives in Las Juntas and both graduated from the University of Costa Rica. He was very proud of his accomplishments and the different properties and businesses he owns throughout town. They
were also very interested in our projects and what we are studying in school, and they gave each of us a lot of thoughtful insight from the perspective of a local. It was an amazing experience that we were all very lucky to have and we are all very much looking forward to sharing another
meal with them next week.