June 28, 2017
June 24, 2017
It is hard to explain how amazing the past three days have been, and as leaders we are cherishing every moment with our BCR 1 group, for the end is in sight.
We all boarded back into our lovely air conditioned van to head into the Costa Rican rainforest. However, our van could only take us so far because the road had turned to dirt so we all hopped into taxi trucks that drove us fifteen miles deep into the jungle. We finally arrived at our destination in which we were greeted with warm smiles from members of the El Brujo community. After a delicious lunch, shovels were passed out and the service had begun!
Sally was quick to get to work as she grabbed a paint brush and helped prime the walls to be painted on a few days later. Meanwhile, Martin was off playing soccer with some of the locals impressing them with his juggling skills. One of our other jobs was to sand down an old TV dish so that we could paint a sign on it, letting travelers know where the El Brujo community was situated. Elinor, our group artist led the charge and designed a great sign with a picture of the globe underneath painted from memory. After a few hours of painting and sanding we gathered our belongings to make the three mile trek back to our lodging at Buena Adventura.
The next morning we woke early, headed back to El Brujo in order to finish up some of our service projects and visit the kids at school. Many of our Moondance students brought a ton of great gifts for the local kids and you could see the happiness on their faces. Their smiles were ear to ear as they showed off the new toys they had just received. Grace found a new friend in one of the kindergarteners at school, he hopped on her back for a piggyback ride and did not want to be put down. We said goodbye to the kids at school and made our way to Three Seeds (farm to table restaurant) to have lunch and a farm tour. Instead of walking back Hunter wanted to test his legs and run the three miles back on the dirt road overlooking the jungle.
I would like to pause the action in order to give a quick synopsis of how incredible Three Seeds is. This farm to table restaurant is situated in the middle of the jungle and is all made possible due to the tireless work of Tamara. She is a mother of three (hence the name) who had a dream to feed her children only organic food and fresh water. Tamara grows all kinds of fruits and vegetables, she has an herb garden, a lettuce garden, and many cocoa trees. Tamara also grows some very hot peppers. Just ask Jack, he ate one of the peppers and was laughing in pain for the next hour until he finally found a remedy in one of Tamaras herbs. We ate every meal at Three Seeds and it will surely be a long lasting memory for all the kids. I apologize to the parents because I heard many of the kids say they wish their parents could cook as well as Tamara!
Back to the action…
For our afternoon farm tour we were greeted with a heavy downpour of rain which is very typical in the Rainforest. We all got to try fresh mango, coconut, basil, star fruit, and cocoa to name a few. After eating our weight in fruit we headed up the mountain to find our campsite for the night. Ethan had the group laughing as he typically does, he kept letting everyone know that this was the hardest thing he had ever done. Elizabeth led from the front with our guide Harlow, and was very inquisitive about his life and the land he lives on. Once we got to the top we set up camp, ate dinner and sat around a fire that Harlow so graciously built us. Nathalie, our leader of the day, asked the group very difficult yet important questions to share with the group. As leaders we could tell the group had gone from close friends to a family. After Moonup we surprised the kids with s’mores because what’s a campfire without a S’more. We all got to sleep early that night, for the next day would bring one of the most reviving experiences of the trip.
On this morning we were all treated with a late wake-up, 7am. After a delicious breakfast that was brought up to us on an ATV we all hiked down to the waterfall so that we could begin our transformation into avatars. Graham could not hide her excitement for this transcendental experience and her positive excitement rubbed off on the entire group. When we finally made it to the waterfall Edward threw off his shirt and made his way right under the actual waterfall to enjoy a much needed cleansing from our previous days activities.
Then it happened. Harlow showed us all the blue clay that we would be rubbing over our entire bodies so that we could transform. As a side note, this clay has been used to treat all kinds of diseases including cancer, it is also great for exfoliation, sun burns, bug repellents or in our case just pure enjoyment. After ten minutes we were all blue and used a orange clay to paint designs on ourselves. Peyton looked like she truly has stepped out the Avatar movie as she was completely covered in the clay, hair to toes. When we rinsed the clay off our bodies we were glowing and our skin felt the softest it ever has.
Once we made our way down the mountain we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at Three Seeds learning how to make brownies from pure cocoa beans. Alden used the energy from the pure cocoa to lead a little gymnastics lesson in the field down below. We all got together to play soccer, paint the walls with our names as many visitors had done before, and to enjoy some time relaxing in the hammocks. Our dinner was a surprise pizza followed by ice cream and brownies, life is very amazing at Three Seeds.
Saying goodbye was hard, we will all miss the simplicity of life out in the rainforest, we will miss the adventure, days packed with activities, and we will most definitely miss the food. We have met many good friends in the El Brujo community, Harlow, Tamara, Salvador, Ocean, Sammy, And Jenifer to name a few. We leave the rainforest having made memories of lifetime. Now onto rafting, I hope the river is ready for us, because we are ready for the river!
Edward- Mom and dad, love you guys and I cannot wait to see you guys soon.
Sallie- Hi mom and dad, I miss you so much, I’m having a lot of fun. This is a fantastic group of people, love you. Sallie
Hunter- Mom and dad I cannot wait to see you guys and I cannot wait to come home and play squash with dad. See you guys soon.
Elinor- miss you mom and dad, hope mom and James are safe see you soon. Love you and love you sutter butter.
Elizabeth- Hola mi familia, the food is so good here I probably have gained 20 pounds. See you soon I love y’all. love Elizabeth.
Jack- I think I’ll say hello to my parents this time. I love you and I would say hello to Emory and Lindy but they are not home. I love you Gaby and Hazy.
Martin- Shoutout to Haley my mom and dad I love you all.
Peyton- Camille and Ryan I love you guys.
Grace- shoutout to my mom and dad, and Cole and Hayes love y’all. I shredded.
Ethan- I saw Kim Kardashians house! I love you!
Graham- hey mommy and daddy and Robert, I love and miss y’all. Happy belated birthday daddy, you’re the best dad ever!
Alden- Hi mom and dad I hope Maddy is having fun in Fiji. Tell Aubie and Bucky I miss them. I love y’all.
Nathalie- Hi mom and dad I can’t wait to see you and go to Indiana. Love you.
Mary Kate- Hey Mama, hey Libby
June 21, 2017
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRACE!!
We are celebrating big here in Costa Rica. Our plane touched down and we have all encompassed the “pura vida” lifestyle. Our travel day was long, but our LODs (Leaders of the day), Elizabeth and Ethan really set an example for the rest of the group on how to be respectful and easy travelers.
Upon arriving we met our amazing driver, Beto! He will be driving us all around Costa Rica and has become everyone’s new best friend with our incredible travel van. We cannot wait to share our pictures! A short drive from the airport took us to our hotel for the night. The AC and amazing meals put the long travel day out of everyone’s mind, and the excitement for the days to come was buzzing. Martin picked some fresh mangos that we cut and all shared. The food coma and exhaustion from the day put everyone to bed within minutes after a great Moonup conversation.
We woke early the next morning to head into the jungle and catch some adrenaline up in the trees with a canopy tour. At first the kids were a bit a nervous to see what zip lining tree to tree was like but by the end you could hear Nathalie’s screams a couple miles away! On the second one, the zip liners were allowed to go upside down. Jack was pumped to learn such great news and sure enough he was coming in fast both with his head looking down and his feet pointed towards the blue Costa Rican sky. One of the other zip lines in our 10 zip line tour featured a side by side line to encourage a race amongst the kids. Hunter decided to take on Edward as his foe and started off with a great lead for about three quarters of the race. However, with dashing speed, Edward came out of nowhere to gain the lead and ultimately be crowned champion. Hunter was a true gentleman in defeat as he has been this entire trip. To end our zip line tour the guides safety dropped us 50 feet in midair to the ground, where we were caught by our harness. To overcome her fear and excitement, Sallie sang the whole way down, and surprised us with her Adele-esque voice.
We left our comfy hotel and headed to catch some swells at Uvita beach. During our car ride from the jungle to the beach, Graham took over as DJ and kept the bus jamming with great tunes. Grace, Peyton and Alden did some serious shredding and impressed us all. Elinor embraced her inner surfer and spent the whole afternoon in shoulder-deep water getting better wave after wave. On our second morning of surfing, Ethan decided to take a break and impressed everyone by throwing a powerful and accurate frisbee on the large sandy beach of Uvita.
We are now heading to our service section, and it sure will be an adventure. Our Costa Rican guide, Harlow has some exciting things planned. We are all so excited to meet the. Community and help to make an impact on their lives as they make one on ours.
-Mary Kate, Noah & Michael
June 18, 2017
June 13, 2017
Hi Belize + Costa Rica Families!
We’ve heard from the leaders and everyone’s arrived safely in Belize this afternoon. They’re headed to Long Caye and are excited for the two weeks ahead.
-The Moondance Administrative Team