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La Brunca: My Favorite Memories

Meeting my host family!

On our way to the community of LA, we had four hours of road trip, which was really beautiful. We get to meet our host family composed by a single mom and her two kids, Kayla and Isaac. Kayla is the youngest and she’s very sweet and gets along very well with Sunaina and me. We helped her practice for her English spelling bee. Marlene is our host mom’s name. We went downtown to the cancha and played volleyball with other Amigos, ate ice cream from the local store because it was very humid, and enjoyed our walk back home with a beautiful sunset.

Helping our host mom 

We started the day with Gallo Pinto for breakfast; our host mom made it and we both got very obsessed. I’ll need the recipe for when I go back home so I can make it! Later Marlene took us to her workplace at ASOMOBI. We really enjoyed the experience of processing the coffee and packing them into boxes, it was amazing to learn more about the coffee making process. We were so impressed with our mother who is able to do all that by herself, she is just a hard worker!

We had time to play soccer with the other volunteers in the afternoon, and then in the evening we were able to teach our sisters our favorite ABBA and Taylor Swift songs, it was great – we all danced and sang together and had a great time! Marlene loved it and also played the music for us on the speaker.

Team building and music

We woke up in the morning to our host mom playing Taylor Swift songs for us and it was a great way to start the day. After getting ready, our sister and I did laundry. In the afternoon, we met up with Amigos on the court and did a bunch of fun team building activities. Once it was over, we all went to watch another volunteer get his hair cut. He was outside and some others were playing guitar, so it was so much fun. Then it started to rain and we spent the rest of the afternoon playing cards with Kayla and the German exchange student. At the end of the day, Kayla picked out our outfits for our field trip the next day.

Learning about coffee/coffee tour 

We had an early start to our excursion to Coffee Diversa with a family. We took a walk through the beautiful gardens and were able to appreciate the nature and their little houses in the shape of coffee baskets. Then we were able to taste several types of coffee, we both loved the cold brew coffee! For lunch we went to a particular shaped restaurant called La Oruga. After we came back with our host family, we ended the day practicing some Latin dance moves with Kayla and Maraike, we also ate empanadas and finally played some card games with our host brother Isaac.

Sharing a fun morning with the kids from the Community School

Our day started with a 5:00 a.m. walk. Kayla, Sunaina and I got ready to leave for a day of school! We met all the kids in the community and it was so sweet to interact with them. We played a lot of games with them and they showed us around the school. The quality time we spent with them made us very happy. We had a typical meal covered with banana leaf for lunch. The school day ended and we stayed to help in the school garden where they grow so many vegetables and fruits to prepare meals for the children. It is a very sustainable school!

Weeding coffee plantations in Marlene’s land

We started the day eating traditional Costa Rican gallitos. Our host mother is an amazing cook! After lunch, we left to help her add another day to her work life. Her farm is huge and really beautiful. Her family has many different plantations and she has loved her life in the country since she was very little. We walked down a long trail with cows and beautiful views – we ate bananas fresh from a tree and they were so good! Then we did some work in the coffee plantations weeding sticks and vines. Marlene also showed us a video news article about her and her work.

Painting and picnic

We had a relaxing morning helping clean the house and playing card games. In the afternoon we sanded and varnished a building in ASOMOBI as a group while listening to music. It was great to do it ourselves. In our free time we bought some snacks from the pulperia for an impromptu picnic. We were able to meet more people from the community and it was a very nice afternoon. With dinner we had some nice malanga chips to end the day!

Baking bread rolls

In the morning we went to our mom’s house to milk a cow, then we stopped by her aunt’s house and played cards with the volunteers staying there. We were able to relax and read when we got home and then went to a Plaza to meet with other volunteers. It was a lot of fun; we played cards, soccer and volleyball. Kayla also joined us when we got back and we thought we would make hot rolls and bananas with cheese for dinner.

Core memory

We got up very early and got ready for an excursion to La Amistad International Park. It was a good trip! We saw some beautiful plant life and breathtaking views. Heading back to the community, we made a stop at Biolley’s Heladeria. We love the ice cream there! Back in Biolley, we went to sit at the most beautiful overlook in the community, which we called the rock. It was such an amazing view that we had plenty of time to relax and reflect on our days in community. The place has become one of our favorite places; it’s where we realized the true meaning of the phrase PURA VIDA.


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