Location: San Jose

Thanks for checking out our Costa Rica community service blog! Today was the first day of our 2-week journey, and I’ve already had a blast! We woke up at 7:00 and had a delicious breakfast of rice and beans, fruit, eggs, and toast. We needed to fuel up for our long day of Costa Rica volunteer work ahead of us. We got on the bus around 8:30 and headed to La Carpio where we met up with the director of the Costa Rica Humanitarian Foundation, Gail, at the local preschool. She taught us about the history of La Carpio and how it came to be what it is today. After an educational lecture, we headed over to the local police station (everyone’s favorite part). We got to paint the entire inside of the station along with one of the cells. They also let us try on their uniform, put ourselves in handcuffs, and even let us ride in the back of the police car. It was a unique experience, being able to interact with the locals of Costa Rica. We stopped about halfway through and headed back to the preschool to have lunch, and as we were leaving the police station, we all gave a goodbye hug to our favorite officer Hans #handcuffmehans. Once we arrived back at the preschool, there was a lunch prepared for us made up of rice, chickpeas, fruit, salad, and gazpacho. We all went around the table as I asked my question of the day- how did your parents pick your name for you? Some of the stories were very interesting, and I love that some of the best conversations you have with your group are during the meals. Once we had all finished lunch, we headed back over to the police station to finish our painting and were super excited to see Hans again. We painted for about another hour and then walked up and down the streets of La Carpio. We interacted with many other locals, such as a family who recently fled for their lives from Nicaragua and had started their own corn grinding business. A constant reminder of the hospitality of Costa Ricans was all of the kids who would non-stop wave to you and say “holaaaaa.” It made your heart feel whole. We then walked over to a field where they were filming a movie about a boy who tries to find out about his parents’ stories, and we got to meet the cast and crew which was cool. For dinner, we split up into two groups, and each ate with a separate host family. My host family was super welcoming and cooked us rice and chicken with chickpea soup and salad. We also had the peach juice to drink, which was new but surprisingly good. The family showed us all of their photo albums from their wedding, honeymoon, family vacations, etc. We talked throughout the night about everything, ranging from our favorite books to what countries we want to travel to. At the end of the night, we said goodbye to our host family and got back in our van. On the way back to our hotel, the van got a flat tire! We pulled to the side of the road and waited for the other half of the group as the tire was quickly changed, and we shared stories from our experiences with different host families. We got our new tire on and headed back to the hotel, where we chatted about the day and what we were thankful for. Being in the slums of Costa Rica changes your perspective of life and how thankful we should be for everything we have. The kids here sometimes don’t even have a mattress to sleep on! Today was a day full of hard work, but as a group, we have grown so much closer because of it, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

(shoutout to JB’s Mabel #ifyounknowyouknow)

Also, don’t be a¬†straw police. Thanks for reading, check back for more of our Costa Rica community service blog!