Global Volunteers Team 212 a.k.a.Team Trails

Journal #2: July 24, 2011

The American writer, Louis L’Amour once said that “No memory is ever alone; it’s at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that each have their own associations.” This quote is appropriate to describe our second day working in the Santa Elena region of Costa Rica. It was quite memorable all surrounded around trails of memories that we will keep for a lifetime. First, after preparing for the day, our nose followed the trail of a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit (including a new fruit called “mammon chino”, pancakes and a hot-dog-like sausage. We also tried various pastries bought from the local bakery…yummy J Then we packed our bags and trailed off to our job assignment at the Santa Elena school. When we arrived at the school, we met Steven (the high school coordinator) and Daniel (an Agriculture teacher) and discussed our skills and what we’ll be doing at the school during our time there. Then we meet with some shy, but polite 11 grade students who were studying agriculture at the school. They told us about the school and gave us a tour. We were truly amazed by the amount of classrooms and different subjects that the students could take such as eco-tourism, food and beverage, agriculture, among others. Santa Elena had everything that you’d expect a school to have, but with one exception. During our tour, we followed some trails that led to a dairy farm that produces milk and cheese for the school to sell. We also saw the school’s pond filled with fish for the students to practice fishing. In addition, no one trailed behind when we toured a barn surrounded by birds and filled with pigs. It was quite a unique experience to see how the students learn their areas of focus by using the school’s to promote hands-on learning. After our delightful tour, we trailed into the cafeteria to drink some coffee and eat some cookies.

And then we went to work. Trails, trails, trails!!! Our project for the day was to work on a trail that was on the school grounds. Daniel explained what we should do and we got started on our trailblazing project. It was a great time because each of the volunteers worked on different components of the trail such as digging gravel and dirt, making holes to place cement blocks, and covering the trail with dirt and gravel. The Santa Elena students were building the support frames that outlined the trail . Even though we were working hard, our minds didn’t trail off. We were learning new things about building trails in Costa Rica, but also learning new vocabulary related to our work. For example, we learned the meanings of “pala” (shovel), “tierra” (dirt), “escate” (stake), “lastra” (gravel), and (of course) “sendero” which means trail. We had a great time because we were able to see bit by bit how our cooperative work was transforming into a trail for future students and tourists.

After a good lunch of chicken and rice at the school, we followed the trail of people who wanted ice cream to cool off before we hit the trail again. It was delicious and got us ready to concure the trail ahead. We worked and worked and made progress on the trail, but unfortunately at 3 p.m. our workday ended. We said “happy trails to you” to Steven, Daniel, and the students and returned to the hotel. After relaxing for a bit, our noses again followed the trail to a scrumptious meal of beef, rice, potatoes, and homemade cinnamon rolls. Afterwards most of the group followed a trail on a night walk tour to see the nocturnal animals on the reserve. In conclusion, as you can see Louis A’mour’s quote is perfert for the day that we had. Although it was literally centered around creating a single trail at Santa Elena School, in the end we were able to create many associated memories in the process.

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