- Costa Rica
We made it to school and started the day with a bit of a treat. One of the classes was waiting for us and sang the school song to us after we got off the bus.
Once we arrived, we were taken to a place where they are going to grow a recently acquired sapling to replace the tree that was planted for Trini's late husband Manny four years ago. This tree is a very special and rare type, and it will need time to grow in a nursery-type setting before being placed back in the forest where the former tree never really grew. Of course, it was an emotional start to the day for Trini, but it was only the beginning. Beto is seen below with the tree.
It was a very different kind of work day than we’d had earlier in the week. We did some more work with raking the soccer field, tearing down the bodega, and cleaning up the arts building. But otherwise, we were able to enjoy some time relaxing at the school.
One thing that we do each time we visit is take some time to play soccer with the children. We were given that opportunity today, and almost everyone was out there, including our fearless leader, Ms. O’Connell. They certainly had a great time, and Alessandro ’23 even met a young Italian lad on the field. They were able to make quite the connection while they played.
We also visited a strangler fig tree. These trees are some of the coolest parts of the nature surrounding us here, with the tree outside strangling the tree inside. Eventually the inside tree disappears. This particular tree has the special property of hosting an enormous ant farm. We were able to watch the leaf-cutter ants doing their thing.
Afterwards we just worked to finish the deconstruction of the bodega. Most of the group was there, tearing down the final wall, moving the pieces to the junkyard, and then tidying up the area. It looks amazing, in that it looks like a building is missing. Hopefully we’ll see a completely reimagined space the next time we’re here.
Once our work was done we relaxed a bit while our families (and suitcases) arrived.
Then came the party. We were treated to a lunch provided by the families, and then the school had a cake for Trini, thanking her for her nine trips to the school over the past 16 years. We were then proud to present to the school a check for $9000, which has been raised since the last trip (see photo above). These funds were primarily raised by Trini's exam baskets and my banana bread sales. Needless to say, Emily (director) and Jim (who worked directly with us all week) were overwhelmed by the donation.
Following the presentation and some words from the school, our students had the chance to thank their families for the week of support. Some family members even stood up to thank our students for going above and beyond (such as the one pictured below). We heard some compliments that only served to reinforce how proud we are of our group this week. These kids did amazing work, and it's nice to hear that they were also amazing members of others' households.
We departed for a tiring three-hour drive to cloudy La Fortuna. We settled into our hotel rooms, cleaned ourselves up, and went out to dinner. We'll get started bright and early tomorrow with our raft safari.