Monday, August 12, 2019

Girl Scouts Destination Service Challenge: Costa Rica

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By: Lime Green Giraffe Photography Editor, Kennedy J.  




Outward Bound Costa Rica Service Challenge changed my life!  
This trip was my first time ever going out of the country and I was so excited. The night before, I could hardly sleep with the anticipation that in a few hours I will be in another country.  
When we arrived at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica, I couldn't wait to meet everyone when we arrived at Base. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful tropical trees and the fragrant smell in the air.  But, there was one problem.... we (Girl Scout sisters) had to walk up and down four steep hills to get to our living quarters with our luggage in tow.  
After conquering the monster hills, we finally made it to the kitchen and bed quarters. First thing first, I needed to do was share our fabulous Girl Scout Cookies with my counselors, Kenneth, Sam, and Grace.  They smiled with excitement when they accepted the gifts.  One of my Destination counselors, Grace, gave us all the rules and expectations of living on Base.  My Girl Scout sisters and I bonded immediately through playing Uno and Spoons. It was then that I knew how much fun this trip was really going to be. 
Something I really remember was our trip to Talamanca. The road was bumpy, to say the least. We were on the road for hours seeing endless flowers, fruit trees, and bugs. What do Girl Scouts do on road trips? Sing! We sang along to music while eating burritos.  
We traveled on a long blue banana-shaped motorboat to get to the village where the indigenous people lived. We took a motorboat because the river's cloudy water current was so strong that a rowboat would have toppled over. Once we stepped off the boat on to the rock-filled bay, we waited for our transportation.  While waiting more than an hour and a half in the blazing heat, my Girl Scout sisters and I built a rock tower while one of our sisters told horror stories to keep us entertained.  When our transportation arrived, we traveled to the village on the back of an old dark green rustic plantain truck.  When we arrived, our community service began.   
The children in the village taught us BriBri, Talamanca's language and we taught them English.  We sang Disney Movie songs while painting the classroom.  We learned to mix concrete and lay sidewalks on the side of a kitchen and at the entrance to the bathroom.  

 We cooked different dishes over an open fire pit every day.  Our meals consisted of beans, white rice, fruits, green peppers, avocados, vegetables, pasta, bread, and special sauces. Surprisingly, we were served hot chocolate at breakfast and lunch as a beverage.   We slept in a classroom on thin foam pads for five days.  There was one shower outdoors and all six of us shared it.  We also used the shower to wash our clothes after which hung them out to dry on a clothesline. 
On this trip, we also visited Panama. For me, it was the best part of this Destination Trip.  The day we went to Panama started off a little hectic.  We had to be very careful crossing the border into Panama. The area where we crossed the border was filled with many people pretending to give assistance with travelers' bags.  But, they really are trying to take your bags and hold them for ransom. We were very careful.  
Once we settled in Panama, I met two elderly women. I saw them as grandmothers.  They were so kind and nice.  
The next part of this adventure was to learn about the different types of sea turtles.  Leatherbacks turtles are the largest of the turtle species.  My favorite and most memorable part of the trip was to release the baby sea turtles back into the ocean at night.  This was amazing! 


I will never forget our adventures like white water rafting and zip lining in Costa Rica with some amazing Girl Scouts.  Living together for two weeks bonded us for life.  We now call ourselves the Costa Rica Chicas  I will be forever grateful to Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta for providing this wonderful opportunity to travel abroad and to give back.  

If you want to learn more about how you can apply to a Girl Scout Destination, click here

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