A Jam-Packed Week!
Hello all! First off, I would like to apologize for the delay in sending this out, we have had a few days of very sporadic internet connection.
Things have been very busy since our last journal entry, both in the classroom and outside of it. Currently, we are sitting in a café in the mountainous town of Monteverde. This place is ideal after a more than a week in Coco; it allows students the opportunity to relax a bit, get some school work done, and embrace cooler temperatures. Monteverde is famous for many things, the stark beauty of the Cloud Forest, the juxtaposition of civilization and relatively untouched nature, and of course, some of the best chocolate and coffee farms in the world. Below is a brief recollection of what has happened since the last journal entry.
White Water Rafting is both adrenalin-inducing and fun for all students. A brief hour drive into the foothills from Coco, we hopped on a series of small trucks for the final journey to the mouth of the river. The trucks are relatively new and their suspension plush enough, yet this does not help the discomfort created by the pothole-ridden dirt backroads of the Costa Rican foothills. The rafting journey takes about 3 hours. Students, in groups of 4 to 6, and each with a guide navigated the class 3 to 4 rapids and enjoyed the 5-to 12-foot river drops. No student made it through the river without getting splashed or soaked by fellow rafters—a nice way to cool off on a 30-degree day.
Surfing may be the most loved optional excursion of the entire trip. About 39 students participated, and all 39 are interested in going again. Surfing takes place in Tamarindo, the famous, yet tourist-focused, beach town on the west side of Guanacaste. Coco to Tamarindo is roughly an hour drive—which is made quicker by a brief nap. Students were able to explore some of Tamarindo and enjoy a good lunch at a local restaurant.
Monday and Tuesday were days filled with exploring Coco and catching up on schoolwork. However, for three students, these two days were comprised of the final, open-water, PADI certification. The students who participated in the certification were happy to be certified and are eager to explore more diving opportunities in the future.
Wednesday was the transfer day from Coco to Monteverde. The brief 4-hour drive was made comfortable by the endless flow of cool air from the busses’ AC. We arrived in Monteverde at around 1 pm, which gave students and teachers ample time to catch up on work. At 5:30 we left for the much-anticipated Night Walk. This included excursion gave students the opportunity to see much of the wildlife that makes Monteverde so famous. Among the animals and insects seen were tarantulas, vipers, sloths, stick bugs, and jungle birds.
Yesterday, was the included Life Monteverde excursion. This excursion offers students the opportunity to learn about sustainable farming and coffee production. The farm operates on an almost net-zero pollution and waste system, meaning, almost everything they produce, or use has a purpose and has either been reused or recycled. Given the time in which we are living, this is a great opportunity to put waste disposal and sustainability into perspective.
We are 10 days from final exams and the final stretch is coming fast. Parents, this may be a good time to check in on students and how their work is coming. Condensed programs, such as Blyth Academy’s, can be challenging for students, especially given the many opportunities to go on excursions and explore the locations we call temporary homes. With 10 days left, there is still time to maintain and even increase effort to ensure success continues or improves. I completed a Blyth Academy trip in 2013, which was fun, difficult, and rewarding. I understand it’s difficult to maintain effort throughout the trip, however, incentives are high—the mark I received on my trip played a significant role in receiving a spot in the university program of my dreams. Just some food for thought.
Until next time,