Saturday, March 14, 2015

Students' Journal: Day 4

Apologies for the delay in the blog posts. The blogger phone app is still down, and internet service has been spotty at times in uploading our posts! Nevertheless, we will post at least once every day and check in with Maria at WLS if we have any internet difficulties.

All is well here in Chilamate! Our days have been full and rewarding, filled with "stretch" moments where students and chaperones alike are presented with a different lifestyle and culture. It has already been a very exciting and rewarding experience with so much learning.
- Geoff, Kimberly, Liz and the WLS team

We were about to get on the bus to head to our homestays. But suddenly someone spotted a howler monkey! (Howler monkeys are the loudest mammal on the planet.) We paused and watched for a few minutes and then boarded the bus. Rae, Freya and I were the first ones to get off the bus. At the gate to our new home, there was our homestay family waiting for us. Our homestay family took our bags, and we walked in. They dropped off our bags in our new room, then gave us time to settle in. We were all a little nervous to come out of our rooms. When we finally came out, everything went smoothly. Our homestay sister and brother invited us to play cards. We played for a while, and talked a bit.

Soon dinner was ready. Our homestay mother cooked us a delicious dinner of chicken and potatoes, rice and beans, and yucca (which I thought was a potato, but that happens with a lot of things). Then we played a few more card games and started passing a soccer ball around. My homestay sister taught me how to kick, and Ana (our homestay mother) was remarkably unconcerned about the soccer ball in the house. Eventually we moved outside. Cleo, Freya, and I, city kids all the way, looked in awe at the numerous stars in the sky. We played "monkey in the middle," the soccer version, for an hour and a half, then went to get some water. After a few more minutes of playing, we finally went to bed at the end of our first day in the homestays. As I was falling asleep, I missed the now familiar sounds of the eco-lodge rainforest and the other people on our trip. Staying at the lodge was truly an amazing experience, and I'm sure the homestays will be, too.

Early this morning, at about 5:00am, the roosters started crowing. Although some kids slept through it,  a bunch of other kids and I in different homestays were woken up and kept awake. Once the roosters had finished crowing, the cows started mooing. That went on for a while, but I finally managed to fall asleep again. Rae, Cleo, and I woke up at around 7am. We talked a little, but then went out to our homestay family. As soon as we got out of our room, everyone greeted us, and our homestay mom started making breakfast right away. For breakfast, we had rice and black beans, and an enchilada. To drink we had a type of strawberry drink, and for dessert we had strawberry wafers. After breakfast we went to visit Emily and Isabel who were in the homestay next to us. Their family has 3 little puppies and an adult dog. Then at 8am we headed off to the soccer field, gathering other kids from other families along the way.

A hot, humid day... that's how it started today. We had all woken up in our homestay beds and were ready for the new day. As we knew, the day would start off with breakfast and then we would go and play an "official" soccer game. We all ate and then set off. My homestay brother Sol Rey and I went to visit our friends in the house that was next to us. We went off to their house, even though our house was much closer to where we would be playing soccer, and began a small pickup game with our friends. Then our group got larger and we left to the soccer field. We were split into groups of "experienced" players and the people who don't play soccer. We did a few stretching exercises which were led by the Costa Rican's coach who was called Chino and then we did some running. Finally, the game began. Experienced Berkeley Carroll students were up first against the Costa Rican experienced team. We were already thinking, "We're probably going to lose," but that didn't matter. We got into our positions and then the game began. Soccer ball, goal, sweat, the searing hot sun was beating down on us, but it didn't matter. We were in the moment, and our objective could be described in one word: "win". Then the ball was stolen by Costa Rica and we barely ever got it back. 1... 2... 3... 4... 5. Those were the goals that the Costa Ricans scored on us. We tried to get back at them but our efforts were to no avail. The first half was done. Berkeley Carroll was being destroyed in the game. We stood no chance against them. It was still fun though. The second half began with us having the ball, but it still went the same as the first half. Then the game was over and it was the "less experienced" team. The game went pretty much the same, but guess what... we scored a goal! We were so happy and felt accomplished. At least that's what I felt. Then the game ended and we left to go have lunch.

After a sweaty bus ride to the eco-lodge, we disembarked and went to rest in the hammocks for a little. Later, we made posters about our global issues and wrote about our assumptions, challenges, and questions about Costa Rica and Chilamate. Then we had a delicious lunch, courtesy of the eco-lodge cooks. Later, we are going to see an eco-botanist and learn about plants in the forest that have healing properties, and some we can eat! We are learning that we don't need to use words to communicate with each other.


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