From Teaching English To Bats, Leaf Cutter Ants, Plastic, Disco, and Broken Beds – Andrea Rodriguez & Ben Delin

Andrea Discovers the Bakery

This morning we woke up very refreshed, after a fun night of dancing to merengue at Los Mangos. We all got ready to go to breakfast and then continue with our community engagement. Following our delicious breakfast, Sydney B and I walked on over to continuing assisting the English teacher at the local Catholic school. All of the kids who we had met yesterday were so excited to see us again; we received many hugs and pictures.

To start our morning we began with the Kindergarten class, and practiced colors and numbers. We also played freeze dance before setting up their movie and popcorn, because they were celebrating panama day. 

The next class that we went to was the first grade, who we had not met the day before. The kids were super excited and eager to learn! A few of the students asked Sydney and I questions about the United States and where we live, before moving onto a review game for the vocabulary. We also helped them with completing two activities in their workbooks. Not only are we lucky to be having the opportunity to help improve their English but we also get to improve on our Spanish. The kids drew more pictures for us and gave us lots of hugs, then we went to assist in the third grade class as we had the day before. The whole class was super excited that we were back, and many of the students were much more engaged. They asked us so many questions and we had great conversations. Our time together was so much fun that Sydney and I hadn’t realized the time and had to rush back to the center of town for lunch.

After another delicious lunch we had more interviews for our research projects. Hannah, Arianna and I had an interview with Joaquin, he used to work for Carlos’ company, Mina Tours. The passion that he has for protecting the environment was unparalleled. Joaquin brought a huge bag of harmful waste he has found, from a pipe that a dolphin was choking on, to water bottles. He also talked about his composting at home, which was great information for my research project. 

Later today we had another great dinner, and then returned to the discoteque de Los Mangos! We have been having so much time building friendships with each other and the locals.  -Andrea Rodriguez 5/4/19

Captain’s Log: Day 5

Buenos, Ben coming at you hot with the update for the day. Today was another wonderful day in Las Juntas, Costa Rica!! As per the usual, the weather was cloudy with the looming threat of rain as we begun our days of community work and interviews. We ate a delicious breakfast of another healthy heaping of gaillo pinto ( rice and beans ) as well as other options such as fruit and coffee on the side. Then it was off to Carlos and Ellieth’s where we would split up for another morning of our community work.

For me, a short trip in the car along with Ji, Carol-Ann, Jenny, and Meghan would take us to the Ecomuseo where we would spend another day cleaning up the grounds of the museum. We it to work sweeping the exhibits outside and raking the trails that snaked their way around the Ecomuseo and surrounding area. While raking, I was caught off guard by the hundreds of leaf cutter ants carrying leaves and other ground litter around the trails ( this was very exciting for me as it was my creature feature). I then met a bat when it flew out of a pipe towards my face, a large toad hanging out, and a very fast and very large spider as it came bursting from its home beneath the leaf litter.

Soon the morning was over and it was back to HQ to meet with the rest of the crew for lunch and the beginnings of our long afternoon of interviews. Some people went into the community to ask some questions while others had h opportunity to speak to experts in their fields. Of course in the midst of all this Dr. Borick treated me, Jeff, josh, himself and others to some delicious wares at the bakery around the corner. By the way, we learned mora means blackberry, and it was delicious. Soon the day was nearly done as we gathered for our last night of the week in Las Juntas before leaving for a weekend in Monteverde the next day. We went to Restaurant/Bar 35, where jokes were exchanged, friendly conversations were had and good food was eaten. Then it was off to our usual spot, Los Mangos to hangout. When the day came to a close, we settled into bed and drifted off to sleep. That is until my rickety bed frame broke and sent me and my mattress hurling onto the floor. After I made myself and my bed comfy on the floor, we all finally went back to sleep, eagerly awaiting our trip to the mountains. – Ben Delin 5/4/19