Our Session A volunteers are already at work in their communities throughout Pérez Zeledón after a fun and successful briefing!
Here’s a glimpse of what we’ve been up to since our volunteers arrived in country:
Our team of supervisors met our volunteers at the San Jose airport. After weeks of preparation, we were so excited to finally start briefing and kick off the summer. We checked into a hostel in San Jose and got to know one another through some ice-breaker activities and dinamicas before enjoying some delicious pizza. Then it was time to rest up before the early morning bus to San Isidro!
Our volunteers left bright and early to make the three hour drive from San Jose down to San Isidro. They arrived at staff in house in time to enjoy a lunch prepared by the fabulous Casa chef, Rosa. We got to start trying Costa Rican staples such as rice, beans, plantains, and fresh juice.
The rest of the day was spent reviewing the Standards of Conduct, reviewing health and safety procedures, and learning about Tico/Tica culture through a presentation by our lovely Project Director, Rebeca, and some of our fellow Tico coordinators who would soon welcome volunteers into their communities. Our volunteers learned the importance of the Costa Rican phrase, pura vida, which is a national motto and reminds Ticos to enjoy a full and meaningful life. Everyone was tired for the second night in a row after our first full day of briefing.
On Thursday morning, after a traditional breakfast of gallo pinto (mixed rice and beans), our volunteers learned more about the activities that they will engage in throughout their time in Costa Rica. They gained tips on how to facilitate extracurricular activities that they will lead in communities and they learned more about the campamentos that they will participate in throughout Costa Rica’s beautiful national parks. We also enjoyed several team building activities and dinamicas to help us get to know each other better. The excitement for route reveal was building throughout the day!
On Friday morning, we left staff house to go to a beautiful public park on the edge of San Isidro for route reveal. Each volunteer was given a secret word that matched the word of their partner(s). Our supervisors stood around the volunteers holding signs with categories that corresponded to the secret words. Then our volunteers were instructed to close their eyes and shout their word as loud as they could until they found their partner(s). When they opened their eyes, they ran to meet their supervisors.
The rest of the morning was spent getting to know our route groups. Our volunteers enjoyed trips to the local farmer’s market, an ice cream parlor, and the central plaza of San Isidro. In the afternoon, we hosted a rally of games which included human foosball and a competition to see who could assemble a cot the fastest – without using their hands!
Emotions were running high on Friday. It was starting to feel real – on Saturday our volunteers would finally meet their host families!
The big day had finally arrived! After showering, packing, and cleaning staff house, our host families started to arrive for a welcome lunch and get together. Our volunteers got to meet their families and enjoy a delicious lunch of chicken and rice before they loaded their backpacks into cars and headed out to the communities. It was so great to see our volunteers confidently engaging with their families in Spanish and sharing jokes and stories. We were so sad to see them go, but we are so proud of how hard they worked during briefing. We know that they are already up to great things in their communities and we are looking forward to route this week!
Keep following our blog for more updates from our Session A volunteers in Pérez Zeledón. Until next time, pura vida!