Twenty-seven students will travel to Costa Rica over spring break for an art and culture course through which they can earn academic credit from DeLaSalle. Students will partner with students from Cedes Don Bosco, a Catholic high school in suburban San Jose that shares a similar mission to DeLaSalle.
Today we went to the Namu Gallery to observe art and do some shopping. The gallery had beautiful, traditional, handcrafted art made by all 8 indigenous tribes of Costa Rica. Things were expensive, but all the pieces were worth the material and stories they were composed of. Then we went to Easter Sunday mass and it was presided by the Archbishop in the Spanish language. The mass lasted around 2 hours and it was very beautiful. It wasn’t like a traditional American mass. Some fluent students understood the mass, and as Ricardo says, “they did the reading about the crucifixion.” At the beginning there was a parade with a marching band, statues of Jesus and other important religious people, tons of incense, and people in costume. There was loud singing and music, and tons of clapping. Afterwards we went to a great lunch and had a tour of San Jose. We got to see government buildings, the first Costa Rican museum and an awesome sphere of rock that a tribe made. We then went to a market where we were able to bargain and buy souvenirs for really cheap. Many people said that the market was the highlight of the day. People bought things ranging from rings, scarfs, pants, and coffee. For dinner we went to Nuestra Tierra, but as Janessa would say “it was greeeatttt.” We got back to the hotel early to get ready to celebrate a big trip to the school tomorrow!
– Jacob, Lizzy, Janessa, Ricardo
Today we moved from the Maleku Village to the city of San Jose, a three-hour bus ride. We made a short stop in the small town of Sarchi, a town that is renowned for the development and decoration of ox carts. We learned about the history of the process that in which the ox carts are made; a process powered entirely by water. The factory where the carts were made doubled as a market for artisan crafts and goods. At the store we saw many different crafts and art. We then proceeded onwards to San Jose. On the way we saw many cows, hills, and mountains. We passed through a lot of small towns and saw different types of architecture. When we arrived in San Jose, we passed an art museum that was once the airport JFK landed in when he visited Costa Rica. Our guide also pointed out a park where many Nicaraguans like to meet to hang out, especially during this holiday weekend. We then had a little down time to relax and settle in to our hotel. Later that day, we went to dinner that was a part of another hotel nearby. During dinner, we watched the NCAA Wisconsin versus Kentucky in the Final Four showdown. The dinner we had was a little different from our other meals here because we all got to order our own meals but we all ate together, unlike our other meals which were either family style, pre-ordered, buffet style or separate from each other. After the game was over and many Kentucky fans were disappointed, we headed back to our hotel for a good night’s sleep before Easter Sunday mass in the morning.
-Patrick, Victoria, Marcos & Yana
My stay in the Maleku village was pretty sweet to say the least. Our hosts Luis, Alexander and Ronaldo first greeted us where they formally welcomed us to the village by marking our cheeks with a red orange paste on our left cheeks. Our first activity was a nature hike and a brief Maleku language lesson. Luis broke down a few key words and phrases that might come in handy, words such as “hello”, “bird”, “trees”, and “I’m hungry”; things necessary for survival in the this community. Mean while Alexander, the Maleku medicine man/botanist, took the other half of the group on a nature walk giving brief descriptions on the medicinal and religious uses of the flowers, plants, and trees. The sleeping arrangements were an adventure themselves. I, with the majority of the group stayed at the top of the hill in a dinning hall and a few cabins. The boys stayed in the dinning hall, which consisted of one wall and one roof. Once the sun goes down, hundreds of beetles come out of nowhere to rest on the cool concrete floor. Our solution was to instead to not sleep at all. Around 3 a.m. or so I found myself sleeping comfortably, posted up on a table as I would in class. I promptly stayed there long enough for Ms. Megan to snap a picture on her way to breakfast. Despite not using the wall or the roof I was able to escape with NO bug bites! Pura Vida! – Francis Samuel
My night at the Maleku village was a cultural shock for me. I experienced things I wasn’t used to but it was nice to see how the people in the village lived. It was also cool to learn the language and see the really pretty artwork they had made. My favorite part of the night was when they told the story about the man and the jaguar, and while the story was told the stars came out and the sky looked pretty. Overall it was a good experience. “Capy capy!” – Tiarah Young
The Maleku village was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. The way the people of the village live is so different from how we live in the States. The people live off the land almost completely and are so in touch with their surroundings and the rainforest especially. The tribe still uses a Shaman to diagnose and treat medical problems. There’s a plant found in the rainforest that numbs the mouth when you chew the leaves. It felt so weird and tingly on my tongue. We took a hike through the rainforest and the flora and fauna in the area were breathtaking. The leafcutter ants were my favorite things we saw in the forest. They carried penny sized leaves with them and I just could not believe how strong they were, being the little creatures they are. I think the night spent at the village was a cool bonding experience for everyone. We were all kind of in the same boat with being around the bugs and sleeping in a manner in which we weren’t used to. I’m really grateful that we all got to experience the Maleku way of life for a night. – Isabella Bailey
The bus is air-conditioned and stepping off into the hot woods was like entering another world, one that smelled of exotic flowers and animals. Once we got settled and had lunch we went on a nature hike. The trees were tall and loomed over us like giants. The hum of the bugs was loud and overwhelming, and the smell of the dirt and damp leaves canceled out everything else. Everything was so green and bright, a harsh contrast to the dark, packed earth under our feet. Instead of pine needles lining the forest floor, there were large brown leaves, small ones too, and dead flowers. The whole forest had a way about it, as though it could sense us there, feel our presents. – Phoebe Kingman
Today we woke up to eat breakfast with our beautiful view of the volcano. We headed to Balsa River to white water raft and for most of us it was the first time ever. We took the rapids down for about an hour until we stopped to eat pineapple and watermelon, which the staff had just freshly cut. We got back on our rafts and risked our lives on the river filled with huge rocks and a little waterfall. Some people got the terrifying experience of falling out of their raft, having to use all of their strength to get back into the raft before it was too late. After the rafting we walked up to where we thought we were going to change into our dry clothes, only to find out that it was “private property” and we had to leave. Soaking wet we took the bus to the organic farm owned by the rafting staff and ate food that was all grown on that farm. If you didn’t eat all the food you had to pay! After eating we headed back to the hotel to get ready to go back in town. At 6:00 we got back onto the bus to head into town and split up into groups to go shopping and find dinner. The town was a whole different place at night. It was a long, sunburnt day.
– Teagan, Neilyn, Jada, Nick
Wednesday, April 1
Upon waking up this morning many of us were surprised to learn that the volcano is more than clearly visible from our hotel. Before leaving we all made a new friend, Iggy. Iggy is a 3 foot long iguana who we met poolside taking in the rays. Today we went zip lining, and for many it was our first time. Everyone had a great (and safe) time. As we zipped along over 300 feet above the forest floor we were able to see the forest and we were able to learn about the climate and geography of Costa Rica. After zip lining we were dropped of in La Fortuna where we were able to break up in to small groups to get lunch, shop, and explore, and as usual the food here has exceeded all expectations of excellence. After lunch we left for Paradise Hot Springs where we were able to soak in the warm water of the Arenal Volcano. Here at Paradise Hot Springs the ‘thermal’ water is heated underground naturally by the Arenal Volcano and has more than 13 beneficial minerals for the body. We had a great time being able to mingle with each other while transitioning from various pools of differing temperatures at our leisure. This time gave us to get to know each other better, tell bad jokes, and do handstands in the pool.
-Albert, Samantha, Oliviana
Tuesday, March 31
Today was a long day. We started the day at 3:30 am at the MSP Airport, arriving in San Jose at 12:30 pm. Once we got to San Jose, we took a 15-minute bus ride to eat a delicious Costa Rican meal. Once we finished, we took a 4 hour bus ride to our resort at the Arenal Volcano. At the resort we each got our room keys and went our ways to explore the site. Our rooms are separate buildings with four people and an elephant in each. Once we got settled in, we had dinner in an open-air restaurant and went swimming after—the one activity we were all looking forward to. It was a long, boring day of traveling, but it was definitely worth it. Now we need to think of an April Fools Day prank to pull on all of our friends!
-Marcela, Josh, Charley, Jennifer