Thursday, August 5, 2010

Goal - Complete the classroom!

Our continuing goal from this experience is to see the classroom construction to its completion. Watch this video for more information on how you can help us reach this goal.
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Take a "tour" of the classroom construction here.
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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Adios a todos!


"Lonesome George" the last known tortoise of its kind.


It's time to say good bye..
I can't thank you guys enough! Thank you so very much for your dedication, hard work and effort! Please never stop. It is in your hands now.. I know you can make things happen. The Adventure must continue. Let's safe this amazing planet.

The very essence of leadership is its purpose. And the purpose of leadership is to accomplish a task. That is what leadership does–and what it does is more important than what it is or how it works.
~Colonel Dandridge M. Malone

Canopy Tour

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Independence Day: Costa Rican Style

Happy 4th of July! It's currently raining and subsequently there are no fireworks. We woke up early this morning to get to our zipline adventure. After a 20 minute bumpy ride up the mountain we glided down 11 cables, passing over the trees, toucans, waterfalls and rivers. It was exhilerating! At the end we had the option to ride on a large Tarzan swing where Brittany showed off her impressive lungs. See video below for the experience. Next we journeyed to a secluded beach, Playa Ventanas (Beach of windows) and explored the dripping caves at low tide. We just made it out from the beach before the sky opened up in a torrential downpour. The storm, packed with impressive thunder and lightning, continued for the rest of the evning as we enjoyed some peaceful time back at the ecolodge reflecting on our trip. We're off early in the morning for the airport to fly back home and are looking forward to seeing everyone!
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ZipLines But TARZAN Rules!!

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

¡Adios Amigos!

Though all of us did not want to leave our home stay families, we had to head on to new adventures. After thanking each person in our homestay and waving a fond farewell as we drove away, we took a roughly three hour journey to the Pacific Coast. We first went to one of the most beautiful beaches (below).

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After the beach, we visted a waterfall and a natural pool. Though the water was not as warm as the sea, floating in the swirling pool water offered us a much needed relax.

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To conclude our day on the spectacular Pacific Coast, we arrived at our new lodging for the next two days. Tomorrow we look forward to zooming through the Costa Rican jungle.

Though we are all enjoying our last few days in Costa Rica, we are looking forward to being on familiar ground again. See you in two days!!!

Saying Goodbye to Santa Maria

This morning we say goodbye to our host families and the community of Santa Maria de Dota. We have enjoyed a wonderful stay here filled with hard work, generous people and lots of fun. We will drive the short distance to the Pacific coast today for some R&R and exploration.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

End of Construction



Here are some videos detailing how far we made it in the construction process.
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We are almost done!



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Today we made great progress on the classroom. We put in the two final pillars and started the daunting task of making the ground level for the floor. We still have some work to be done on Friday, but the majority of the hard work is done and the frame of classroom is set. Unfortunately, we will not be able to complete the project due to lack of funds, but a lot of the work is already done. Considering the amount of work that has been accomplished,th3e school has relatively little left to do. In the video, there are gaps above the small concrete wall sections, in which we will be placing windows on Friday.

On a quick unrelated note, we helped prepare Costa Rican desserts for our dinner tonight, which were delicious, by the way. There are some pictures of us preparing these desserts attached.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lots of Progress!

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I must take this opprotunity to introduce the mastermind behind our whole operation; Rigo. Rigo is an actual construction worker, unlike ourselves, who is truly the backbone of our project. He is the one that created the plan for the building, comes up with the solutions to hinderances in construction, and is also a great guy to simply talk to.
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Lastly, the work we have done. We have almost finished putting up all of the posts and the lower sections of the walls. Even after being hit by a large rain storm, we still prevailed and got a lot accomplished.
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Monday, June 28, 2010

Work Day 3

Success!!!

After grueling days digging holes and shoveling out giagantic rocks, today, we were finally able to start piecing together the walls of our classroom! We started with the poles which we had to carefully align in each hole to ensure a sturdy schoolhouse. Then, once the poles were stratigecly placed, we would dump a mixture of concrete and rocks into the holes thus locking in the foundation of our classroom.

Sounds simple? Don't be decieved. Before we could sprinkle the concrete around each of the columns we first had to make the concrete. I suddenly have a great appreciation for the concrete mixers that are so easy to come by in the United States but are a little rarer in Santa Maria. Without machines to do the hard work for us we were forced to use only our shovels and our muscles. Essentially, we used manual labor to mix the piles of sand with the 125 pound cement. Then we had to add water, which completed the precious mixture but also made it five times heavier.

As I was occupied with the tedious task of mixing concrete, others helped to unload the prefabricated walls and lock them into place between the columns, an equally daunting process. Below is a video of the second wall John, Javier, and our trusty handyman Rigo lifted into place.

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In total we lifted 7 columns into the holes and put up a total of 12 walls! Though we are not quite half way there yet, it is already possible to see the finish line just over the beautiful Costan Rican horizon. Wish us luck!!!

-Brittany

Videos

A Resume of Sunday, June 27

On Sunday, the group went to Paraiso Quetzal (a resort of sorts) to hike through its large cloud forest. The day on the whole provided a nice break from the work we had been doing the days before. When we arrived, we spent some time observing hummingbirds drinking sugar water. We then started our hike through the forest; there really was some beautfiul scenery. There were all kinds of trees and plants, a ton of waterfalls, and some interesting animals. While we didn't see any quetzals, it was a fun experience. Next, we had lunch at the main lodge and then bought some souvenirs. We returned to Santa Maria de Dota in the afternoon, where we spent the rest of the day with our homestays.

-Brian

Below are some videos from our visit to Paraiso Quetzal on Sunday morning.
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

planting




There is nothing more enticing or enchanting than the mysterious and silent cloud forests of Costa Rica. There is no challenge greater than confronting your fears in front of others and shining when there is no sun to shine for you. today as a group we did confronted our fears and began building the new structure of the world, we planted trees. we succesfully have now made our trip carbon neutral and have led by example. hopefully fifteen years from now members of our group will return to the location of the cloud forest, see the trees we planted, and remember this trip as one that defined us. Today members of our group confronted challenges. certain people scared of extreme heights climbed higher than all others and others pushed themselves to the physical limit. Most importantly we worked as a group creating a unique assembly line, planting trees while making sure we did not fall of the edge of steep crevices.

today was a day that we will remeber and cherish.

Construction Video - Day 1

An overview of the work site followed by a video of us setting the "cornerstone" to the classroom.
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Costa Rica Day 4 continued


To conclude our day, we had a scavenger hunt through the town to familiarize ourselves with the town and just enjoy some free time. We had to find a few major locations and even send a postcard. To finish our day, we stopped in a cafe and enjoyed some local drinks.

Costa Day 4








Today we continued work on the classroom we are building. We managed to move the remaining six support pillars, which weigh hundreds of pounds and take literally all of us to move. We also received the wall sections that will eventually form the classroom itself. We hae also finished half of the holes that will hold the previously mentioned pillars. Thankfully, today was not all work; we got the opportunity to play soccer with the kids again, although it is hard to tell who won, as many of the kids kept switching teams. Besides this brief break, we have made some great progress on the classroom, and hopefully we will have done more by the end of the day.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The start of our service project




Well, today has been quite an eventful day. After waking up to the sound of roosters and eating a delicious Costa Rican breakfast with our homestay families, we were off to our first day of working at the school. We arrives to a hoard of young children with large grins on their faces, excited to meet the foreigners. We started by marking off what land we were going to be building on, then digging eighty-centimeter deep (exactly) holes in the ground to put in the support beams. The construction foreman, Rigo, was very surprised, especially with the size of the group, with how much work we got done today. After ending a successful day, we were all ready for a nice shower and a long, well-deserved sleep.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rafting Orosi River

What an amazing day in the river! This video says it all...
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First Taste of Costa Rica


Yesterday we arrived in Costa Rica and after leaving the city of San Jose, pretty much a normal city, we traveled through the countryside and up into the hills. We were all astounded by the natural beauty of Costa Rica. And our quaint lodging, which is located in the beautiful Costa Rican hills, offers wonderful views of the Orosi River valley.

This morning we all woke up to the sounds of running water, courtesy of the creek that runs right my our cabins, and got ready to go rafting! Currently we are enjoying a breakfast of eggs and toast and juicy fruit. Well, it looks like it's time for us to leave for the level three rapids of the Orosi River! We'll be back to report soon.

Brittany Sanok

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Students Have Arrived




Hello Parents,

I just spoke with World Leadership School instructor Javier Cano, who told me the students and all their luggage arrived in San Jose. There was a slight delay caused by cloudy weather.

Javier, Gretchen and the students are now on their way to the Orosi Valley, where they will spend the night. We look forward to a great program! Please check back here with news and updates and do not hesitate to call our office (303) 679-3412 with any questions.

Regards,

Ross Wehner
World Leadership school

Pura Vida is waiting!!

Hola and Pura Vida!
What an amazing day to start our journey! Clear skies, and sunny Costa Rica is awaiting for Potomac's action team.
We will be blogging later today, as soons as we get to our hotel Kiri in Tapanti National Park! A sweet place on the central highlands of this country!
Feelling very exited!
Javier Cano
World Leadership Instructor