Trek Costa Rica 1: Update #1

Trek Costa Rica 1
Update #1!

Hello friends and family!

We have only been in Costa Rica 36 hours as we write this, but our adventure is already well under way!!

Our group of 27 amazing teens have been making new friends, exploring who they are and building an excellent traveling community.

Each update we will highlight some of our recent activities, sharing with you the excitement and adventures we are having here!

-Seth & Lauren

Before our group boarded the flight, we had a breakdown on the rules and were given an excellent icebreaker from the amazing Lauren and Seth. It gave the group the chance to form bonds before we took flight and everyone seemed to hit it off. Flying  into Costa Rica was life changing! As the plane flew into the skyline, we could see an endless sea of glowing lights that really emphasized the beauty of the adventure we were about to embark on.  Upon landing, we went to customs, which was a lot less tedious than expected, but sadly the same couldn’t have been said about the baggage claim. Multiple pieces of luggage were left back in Miami (what a tragedy), but our team persevered. We met up with our guide, Aaron, and bonded even more during the car ride through the sparkling city. When we made it to the Best Western, we got to meet Neil and it started to make us appreciate the amount of thought put into the trip. We were then sent to our rooms to empty our baggage and to come back down to the hidden dinner that was prepared. It took the whole group a solid 15 minutes to find the location and by that time, everyone was ready to dig into the finest Costa Rican cuisine –  pizza!

The next hour was spent chatting and meeting new people followed by some great icebreakers that helped hammer in the names of everybody in the group and their personalities. After an overview of the schedule for tomorrow, we were sent to our rooms to get a “good nights sleep” and we dreamed of the magical journeys that’d come on the morrow.
-Maxwell Levy

We visited the “Boy With a Ball” organization and it was very eye opening. Normally when people think of Costa Rica they think of pretty beaches and fun activities, but there is a lot more than just that. We walked through an impoverished community of Costa Rican residents and we saw the way they lived. Our tour guides spoke only in Spanish, so our very own teens translated for the rest of the group. The families live on a strip of unoccupied land which is technically illegal. They all live in self built shelters made from scraps of metal that were left over from construction sights. They thrive off of their strong sense of community and the constant communication within. We are visiting this site later in the trip to play with the children.
-Leah Feilbogen

On our second day in Costa Rica, we spent the morning with “Boy With a Ball,” an organization dedicated to community development. The entire experience really changed my perspective on urban squatter communities and brought our group together in many ways. One way we definitely got closer was trying to navigate our way through conversations with our limited-English speaking guides. With our broken Spanish and their broken English, we learned the power of clear communication that we often take for granted. The guides took us around the community, which was based on a piece of land used illegally. We got to witness sights common in the US, such as kids playing together, but also experienced cultural diversity when we got hands on and made tortillas with a woman in her home. Today was really interesting from many different points of view and I can’t wait to visit the organization again at the end of our trip.
-Alegra Germain

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