Location: La Carpio, Dos Palmas Hotel
Day 1, the tension was apparent, but by the end of the day, we felt like we all have known each other for much more than 24 hours. With the typical breakfast of cereal and eggs, we were eager to explore and immerse ourselves in the impoverished community. La Carpio, the poor community, dominated by Nicaraguans on the outskirts of Costa Rica’s capital, proved to be more than what it seemed when we saw it from a distance from our bus. The area is filled with joyous people that taught us a thing or two about how to enjoy the little things in life. By serving, playing and attempting to communicate with the people, they taught us more then what we had expected. After painting and spending time with the kids in the daycare, we switched to the Costa Rican dietary meal of rice and black beans, basic but very filling and delicious. Once we were stuffed with Latin American cuisine, the one-hour bus ride through the countryside and the Costa Rican mountains proved to be a sight that we would never forget. From the bus, we were able to see the gorgeous valley with San Jose at the very bottom. Once the overcast came in, we hiked a small distance to see Nelson, son of the Shaman of the Guenar tribe. His compelling story explained the history of his culture and provided a sentimental feeling to our hearts when he described the current suffering of his people. His story is similar to the other seven remaining tribes who suffer from the lack of attention by the Costa Rican government. He then showed us some living conical homes made from tree leaves; That is the typical lifestyle of his people. He then performed a spirit-cleansing ritual, which everyone participated in. Finally trekking back through heavy rain and thunderstorms, we reached our safe-haven: the bus. The bus ride back to our hotel proved to be an important time where everyone familiarized themselves with each other. The final dinner proved once again how the food was always something to look forward too. The first day was something to remember.