Thursday, June 30, 2011

Departure from Costa Rica

Hello everyone! The flight from Costa Rica to Newark was delayed a bit and the group is scheduled to arrive at 9:31pm. The group will be taking a KPS bus from the airport back to the school. It should take about 1-1 1/2 hours to get through customs, claim luggage and drive to KPS. We are very proud of all of the work that the girls did in Costa Rica. Please let us know if you have any questions.

City: San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO)
Gate: -3-
Check-in Terminal: Main Terminal
Scheduled Time: 1:55 p.m.
Scheduled Date: Thu., Jun. 30, 2011
Actual Time: 2:26 p.m.Actual Date: Thu., Jun. 30, 2011
City: New York/Newark, NJ (EWR - Liberty)
Gate: B57
Terminal: Terminal B
Scheduled Time: 9:01 p.m.
Scheduled Date: Thu., Jun. 30, 2011
Estimated Time: 9:31 p.m.Estimated Date: Thu., Jun. 30, 2011

Erin Lasky
Program Director

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Monday, June 27, 2011

Chocolate tour

Hello everyone,

Today we got a very early start when we woke up at 5:30 AM to go on a bird watching hike with Kevin the biologist. We saw a variety of different bird species and of course several insects. We then went to the school to teach and play with the older kids, and to  continue working on the playground.
Later we went on a tour of a Cacao plantation, where we learned how to make traditional Costa Rican chocolate bars. We  also got to try traditional hot chocolate, with chili powder, nutmeg, black pepper, and vanilla in it. At the end of the chocolate tutorial we were really excited to see a howler monkey and a toucan.
As the trip comes to a close, everyone is getting very attached to the kids at the Chilamate school and the Costa Rican people in general. We will all be sad to say goodbye on Wednesday.

Caroline and Victoria

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 6- On Top of the World!

Hola familia y amigos! We have just arrived to our home in Chilamate from the town La Fortuna. There we enjoyed a well-deserved swim in the waterfall after a challenging hike, then a relaxing evening in the hot springs.
            Today, some people went on a morning hike to see butterflies, snakes, frogs, and spiders.  The hike was very relaxing and informative.  We all enjoyed interacting with the butterflies in the butterfly farm and experiencing the new species of frogs, toads, snakes, and spiders.  Afterwards we went to the canopy tour.
            The zip line was so much fun!  There were 12 different segments, with platforms in between each one.  It was kind of scary at first, and a few people got stuck once or twice, but the views were great and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  After the 8th part, there was the option of trying the Tarzan Swing—a cord attached at the top, where you were pushed off a platform, freefalling for a few seconds, and then swinging for a minute or two. Almost everyone tried it out.  It was a thrilling experience and we will never forget this for the rest of our lives. 
            Later, we went shopping in La Fortuna and then headed back to Chilamate.  Home sweet home!

Hasta luego,

Belle, Ashley, and Meredith






Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 4: June 24

Que me dice mae? Pura vida? We started the day at the Chilamate School teaching and playing games with the first, second, and third graders. Even though it was only our second day with the kids, we were able to form close bonds and overcome the language barrier. It's amazing how the kids love such simple games such as duck, duck, goose and tag. Later in the afternoon there was a huge thunderstorm and we waited it out together in the open dining room. The thunder was so loud! After the storm ended we went to a neighbooring house and learned how to make empanadas! It was so fun! We came back to the Chilamate Eco Retreat and hung out with Meghan and David's (the owners) kids, Lluvia and Aidan!
Tomorrow we are heading to La Fortuna for a fun packed weekend of hiking, zip lining, and relaxing in the hot springs, so we have to get to bed early!

At the school:

Making Empanadas:

Love Always,
Christina and Julie

P.S. Mom, I learned how to cook! I can make really good empanadas - Julie
P.S. Hi Mom and Dad! I miss you so much and I tried starfruit today and its DELICIOUS!- Christina

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 3 in Chilamate!

Today we began our service project at the Chilamate school.  It was such an incredible experience!  We split into three groups once at the school so that we could teach English and play games with the children in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.  My group played with the children in second grade; after a few games, the children started playing in the playground, which is about halfway complete already.  There are monkey bars and some tables and large cylinders that the children can jump on and play around.  Everything is painted in bright, vivid colors!  For our part of the playground project, we will be working on a see-saw, a slide, cleaning the tables of old paint and then repainting them, and a few other projects.  We worked for a little while outside before it started raining heavily; however, we managed to finish a gravel path from the main part of the school to the playground!  For me, it was absolutely amazing to be there.  I loved talking to the students in Spanish, even though the language barrier made things a little bit difficult to communicate.  They seem to love talking to us and were only shy for a little while before they started talking more.  It's almost impossible to describe how incredible it was to meet these children.  I was so touched that they completely opened their school to us with such a warm welcome.  It wasn't long before I felt comfortable around the students and was speaking Spanish without worrying so much that I'd make a mistake.  The students don't seem bothered that mistakes are made; I think it just means a lot to them that we are here doing something to make them happy.  I felt so proud when the pathway was completed and cannot wait until we can finish the playground itself.  I love that we are creating something that the students will be able to have for years.  It's wonderful to be here with World Leadership School; we are not just being tourists and only seeing the surface of Costa Rica, we are truly becoming part of the community and working to make a difference.  We talked a little bit about this last night.

In the afternoon, we went to Finca Sura, a place a few minutes away from the Eco-Lodge that raises fish and grows fruit.  We ate lunch (fresh tilapia as well as vegetarian options) and then took a tour of the property.  During the tour, we had a chance to taste sugarcane, coconut water fresh from a tree, and pieces of a pineapple that our guide had just picked from the field.  Most of the girls found them delicious!  We returned to fish for tilapia in a small pond using recycled water bottles and fishing line; several girls managed to catch some fish, which was really fun to watch. 

It has been another fantastic day in Costa Rica, with another sure to follow!

Pura vida,
Madeline K.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 2: June 22

By far the most amazing thing we did today was white water rafting. I'd never been before, and I'm frankly not quite sure how I lived until now.  It was really thrilling; I felt extremely calm and peaceful, even though the water wasn't (at all).  It was really nice to see more of the jungle.  We've seen plenty of different species of animals, and my roommate and I are convinced we heard a monkey on our roof early this morning. It's a beautiful country; I feel healthy just being here.
-Shayna Gleason

I'm so happy that I'm getting to know some other girls on the trip that I was not previously close to. Today we bonded through white-water rafting, which was so much fun!  I've been before, but I have never experienced it while enjoying the beautiful green, pink, and orange scenery of the Costa Rican rainforest!  We are all tired from today and looking forward to working on the playground tomorrow!
-Mattie Coacher

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 1

Hola Parents,

Today we arrived in San José around 10:40 am in Costa Rican Time (around 12:40 US time). We started toward Chilamate Eco Retreat and the ride was really beautiful featuring waterfalls, forests, and views of the surrounding villages. After arriving we took a hike in the rain forest and saw many different plants and animals, including poison dart frogs, many birds, bullet ants, banana trees, and even a small black snake. After the hike we were able to walk down to the river and reflect on why we are here. We have tried many new Costa Rican foods such as rice and beans, burritos, and yuca. We heard the story of how the Eco Retreat started and the conservation of Chilamate. We also discussed stepping out of our comfort zone.

Katie Hammond, Emily Jeffries, and Erin Romano

Safe Arrival

Hello Parents!

I just got off the phone with Randall in Costa Rica. The students arrived safely and they are heading to the chilamate ecolodge. Tonight they will have an orientation and relax after their day of travel. They will be updating the blog later once they have internet access, so check back for some live posts! Call the office if you have any questions (303)679-3412.

Program Coordinator

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pura Vida: Costa Rica Welcome

Hello Everyone,

Randall and I are looking forward to meeting you all tomorrow. We both hope that you have a great trip and have have an opportunity to rest on the plane so that you all are ready to get started. The community project has already been started, and the students are already eagerly awaiting its completion. Plus, there is much fun to be had for all in this wonderful nation. Take care, and see you all tomorrow.

Pura Vida,
Celsa and Randall