Monday, March 21, 2016

Hi Parents:

I believe you have received an email from Betsy last night with flight info. Here is the information again in case you have not seen it. We'll check in with the group before they depart. I'm sorry for the delay. Thank you Betsy and Matt for working through this at the airport.
Ross Wehner

Because of spring break we are flying together to Kauai then have to split into two groups to go to Oahu and then kona:

The group flight is at 9:10 am to Lihue then here are the two groups:

Group 1 arrives in kona via Honolulu at 3:23 pm
Mr Piercy

Group 2 arrives at 5:35 pm in Kona via Honolulu:
Mrs. boland

Hasta manana!

Group flight info

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Student Airfare

Hi Parents:
I've just talked to Betsy who has succeeded at LAX in booking all the kids on flights home tomorrow (Monday). The kids have gone off to dinner and they will be headed to their hotel soon for rest. Betsy will send by email, and I'll post to the blog, details of the new itinerary and hotel stay. Thanks for your patience.
Ross Wehner, WLS


Hello parents:
We are still working to rebook the students, and we'll post the new flights as soon as we have them. The students will be staying tonight in LAX and we'll also let you know the name of the hotel as soon as it's assigned. Sorry for the delay. Betsy is in line now with the agent working out the new airfare.
Ross Wehner, WLS
Hello Parents:

We are trying to book the group on a Hawaiian Air departing tomorrow (Monday) morning with the following details (to be confirmed)

Depart LAX 0830, arrive HNL 11:35
Depart HNL 2:34, arrive KOA 3:23

This means the group would have dinner and stay in a hotel near LAX and then get up early to catch their flight. We'll send confirmation as soon as we are able to get them their new flight. They are arriving 10 minutes after their original connection, and it's in another terminal, so it's very unlikely American will hold that flight. We apologize for this convenience.

Ross Wehner

Flight Delay

Dear parents,
The flight between Dallas Fort Worth and Los Angeles has been delayed, which means the students may miss their connection onto Kona International Airport this evening. We are working with the group desk to see if we can hold the Kona-bound aircraft so the students can make that connection. I'll update the blog with further updates as soon as I have them. Please call me on (303)449-0757 if you have any questions.
Ross Wehner

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Back to San Jose

We had a nice despidida (farewell) party last night with our host families.  This included a little bit of music and dancing.  At the end of the night we were each given a very thoughtful gift.  This morning, "all our bags were packed and we were ready to go" at 8am.  On the drive back to San Jose we stopped at the world's largest volcanic crater (Poas).  We heard how seldom do the clouds clear, yet the day was amazing!  We took the short hike and were impressed by everyone's appreciation for the beauty.  More than a few photos were taken!

Lunch was in "strawberry country" at a restaurant alongside strawberry plantations.  Rice and beans found their way on our plates, alongside chicken, fish, or beef.   And there was a delicious bottomless strawberry juice.  Following this we did a little souvenir shopping before continuing the bus ride in the direction of the capital.  A stop was made at a large Costa Rican grocery store.  Some students wanted to get their hands on Costa Rican rice.  No kidding!  More gifts were purchased at the grocery store before we made one final stop at a rather large souvenir shop and then the Adventure Inn.

Everyone is out swimming now, before we sit down to a nice dinner and closing activity.  Wake up calls are set for 4:45am so hopefully lights go out early tonight.  The group spirit continues to be high.  Costa Rica definitely left an impression but everyone is now getting excited about returning home.  See you soon!

Race to sit on the balloon
Balloon tag

The end of the night
Saying good-bye this morning
Looking on as we say our good-byes

Atop Poas Volcano

Poas Pose

Roadside art

Souvenir shopping

Dots ice cream was found at the grocery store

A good laugh

Friday, March 18, 2016

In Chilamate for the day

Yesterday afternoon was a hit.  We glided through the canopy on a series of nine lines.  The final zip was 350 meters long and across a river.  Last night there was a meeting where the men/boys all met at one house, while the girls/women met at another.  This was truly a delight!  Community members were clearly pleased how all students were quick to respond, "Si!" when asked if they would be interested in ever returning.  One student went so far as to say he thinks he likes Costa Rica even more than Hawaii.  His reasons were because of how nice the people are and how delicious the food is.

We all ate breakfast with our families before meeting for a bit later start this morning (8am). For the first part of the day we learned a lot about different plants from an ethnobotanist.  Students continued to be clearly motivated to try everything.  Possibly the favorite was sipping on green coconuts.  Lunch was super delicious as there were four types of empanadas.  Right now, kids are playing foosball and getting ready for an afternoon of river rafting.  Tonight there is a planned fiesta in the community.  Tomorrow we set out for San Jose at 8am.

Everyone continues to stay healthy and their faces are shining with happiness.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Only a few more days left!

We’ve continued to be very busy and yesterday couldn’t post a blog because we were away from any internet connection.  Today was our fourth and final day on our service project--painting the school’s fence and the basketball court.  Breakfast continues to be early at 6am.  We arrive at the school around 7am and work ‘till 11:30am.  Two days ago we went on a waterfall hike and on the way back we got to go for a swim.  Yesterday we came to the school at seven even though we needed to be there by 7:30 A.M.  We played basketball while we waited for everyone else to arrive. After painting we went for lunch at a sustainable farm where we took a walking tour and learned from a man named Daniel.  We saw how he grew pepper and vanilla by using a special compost he made with carbon, cow poop, pig poop, horse poop, calcium, and microorganisms from the mountains.  We mixed it together and it didn’t smell so good.  Afterwards we bought pepper and had a chance to see several toucans.

Last night the girls got together at one of their homestay families.  So did we guys. We had a lot of fun playing cards and playing soccer outside.  We are getting ready to eat lunch at school and later today we are going zip lining.  Everyone is really looking forward to being in the rainforest canopy!

~Shared by Kaden and Chris

At Daniel's Sustainable Farm

A view from our host community
Lots of chickens here in the countryside
A view of the basketball court before painting
Painting away

Getting close to finishing the basketball court painting

Black pepper up close

We had fun feeding the pigs and piglets

And giving water to the baby bull too!

Making fertilizer!

A lizard with black pepper in the background

Daniel shared about his experiences working 30+  years for large pineapple and banana companies

Happy kids

A toucan mascot of ours!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Day 5 Adventures from the Field!

Yesterday, we went to a coffee farm and took a tour. We tasted the coffee they processed which was very good. The first thing we saw was an organic fish farm. On the lunch menu there was an option of eating the whole fish, which were the ones we saw. The lunch we ate was really good. After, our tour guide David showed us how to make coffee with a sock looking bag and a carved piece of wood. We drunk the coffee that was made and it was really good. Only one of us didn’t (you can guess who).  Later on we took a tour of the processing plant and this too was very interesting.  We got on the bus and went to a community project, women’s cooperative where they make soaps, lotions, and hair products to sell. It smelled really good.

Today we met at the school at 7am again and painted.  We began painting the fence we cleaned yesterday and also primed the basketball court. It took a long time but after two hours we ran out of paint.  We will continue tomorrow. In the afternoon we went for lunch and some of us milked cows.  Then we walked to a really big waterfall (think Waipio).  On the walk back we swam in the river.  Some of us in jeans!  Right now we are at a roadside cafĂ© and are getting refrescos before heading to our homestays for another night.

Monday, March 14, 2016

In Our Host Community

We started day four off with a wonderful waking and had breakfast at the Chilamate Eco Retreat. We then did some bonding activities with our group before we headed off to Colonia Caraval (a small village) to meet with our host families. Here is where we will be staying for the next five days.  When we arrived we visited the very small and colorful school for about five minutes.  Then we went to meet our host families. Some people did their laundry, milked cows, played cards, saw toucans and visited neighbors. When some of us visited the neighbors where other schoolmates were staying, some communication errors were fixed and everything was okay. We all realized that all our families severed a lot of rice and beans!

Today we were all up by 6:00 am, had breakfast and left to be at school by 7:00 am. When we were walking some of us met Costa Rican sweat bees up close. When we got to school we introduced ourselves and played a lot of games.  We are getting set to clean and paint the fence at school. This afternoon we will visit a coffee farm and soap making place. We are having a great time and look forward to what’s ahead of us and continuing to share our experiences.

(Shared by Hikari and Morgan)

A poison-dart frog

Morgan and Alexis meet their host mother

Brock and Kaden meeting their host mother

Isaiah and Chris meeting their host father

A look out from Colonia Caraval

Our first morning at the school.  7a.m and bright and bushy eyed!
Playing icebreaker games at the school

More ice breaker fun
Beginning to clean the fence. 

Hikari and Morgan type up the blog