Location: Manuel Antonio
Today was the last day at Hotel Aeropuerto, and as per usual, we woke up (not only to the sound of an alarm and my jarring wake up knock, but) to the delicious daily breakfast of fruit, rice and beans, eggs, plantains, and mysterious fruit juice. Once coffee was downed and brains awoke, we headed to the bus (trusty Hugo at the wheel) for a scenic ride and eventful locations. Our first stop was the Escuela Bajamar. We split up into three groups, each assigned to several children. My group’s ages ranged from 9-12. We read a story, once in English and then translated into Spanish (props to Savannah, sorry if I spelled that wrong). They then asked us to translate different words into English; I was pleasantly surprised at their profound curiosity in learning the foreign language. They requested dozens of words, received translations with a smile, and upon hearing the English word, repeated it to grasp the new vocabulary. After the short lesson, games of football (soccer) and Ninja were played. The kids seemed to see no difference between us, the visitors, and their fellow classmates, treating and playing with us as if we had known each other for years (granted, there was a language barrier for most). The school provided us with lunch, and it was indistinguishable from a home-cooked meal. Great conversation was had- we talked about happiness and our Garrison Kieler memories. After the school, we took a ten-minute drive to the cliffs: dry, jagged earth fell away to behold a black-sanded beach and frothy waters. The view was incredible, and if not for my need to empty a full bladder, I could’ve gawked for hours. An hour or so later, we found ourselves at Crocodile Bridge. Souvenir stands and snack vendors lined the road to the bridge where below lay about 25 crocodiles. We lined up and leaned over to view the lazy reptiles that lay in the clouded sun to soak up the heat. A man selling crocodile tooth necklaces had gotten a hold of a coconut husk and was chucking them at the waiting crocodile heads. For such huge bodies and their seemingly drowsy demeanor, the scaly beasts had extremely fast reaction times, snapping and chewing the falling husks within a second. Back on the bus, with the addition of a few t-shirts and a coconut, the two-hour bus ride awaited the new hotel. All of us made conversation, and among other things, a great deal was made to reveal more about Max and his mysterious ways. We also had snacks and stuff which was nice.
When we arrived, it was early evening, so we washed up for dinner at 6:30. While waiting for food, we introduced new and tried (and failed) to tackle old riddles. I still could not find the answers to any of them, but we were told just to go and live with that uncertainty ([Roblox] oof).
Our last activity was group time, and for today, we sat in a circle, reading and answering question cards. I enjoyed it a lot, the conversations often diverged and grew organically, so we weren’t confined solely to the pre-written questions. We all learned a bit more about each other, which I think is one of the best parts of volunteering abroad in Costa Rica. Continue reading our Costa Rica blog to see more of our adventures!