Wow, it’s hard to believe that we are over halfway through with our semester in Costa Rica! I believe that we have all reached the point where we feel comfortable and adjusted here; San Ramón truly is our second home. We have continued to have many adventures as a group, but individual students are having unique experiences with their families as well. Last week I had the opportunity to attend a family celebration because my cousin had his First Communion in the Catholic Church. There were over 30 family members at the celebration and it was great to get to meet more of my extended family.
This past weekend our group went on a 3-day field trip to the northern region of the country. On Thursday, we visited two energy plants; one produces geothermic energy, or energy from water vapor, and the other was a turbine farm that uses wind to create clean energy. After lunch we had the opportunity to stop at a mud hole that had hot water from Volcano Miravalle, and we got to use the mud as facemasks. We put the mud on and then let it dry before washing it off and feeling our soft skin! Usually mud spa treatments like this cost a lot of money, but it was fun to go out and do it on our own! That night we got to stay at a hotel with pools filled by natural hot springs. There were 5 different pools at the hotel and each had water of a different temperature.
The next day we had another amazing experience: we had the opportunity to visit an indigenous territory that belongs to the Malecus. First we walked around with a resident that specializes in natural plant medicines, and he showed us different plants and explained to us how they are used as medicine. Then, we were fed a traditional lunch, including fully cooked fish that had been caught in the rivers that run through the territory. After lunch we got to observe a traditional ceremony, learn some words in the native Malecu language, and paint crafts with the help of women artisans. It was a great experience and we did not want to leave.
On the last day of our trip we had the opportunity to visit a beautiful forest called Nectandra. This reserve is privately owned and is only used for educational and scientific purposes. The owners work very hard to protect the land, but also use it to educate others about the value of cloud forests and how much biodiversity they contain. We had the opportunity to walk around with a guide for about an hour and learn about different plants and animals in the forest. Unfortunately since it was in the afternoon we did not see any animals, but the forest was beautiful and very peaceful.
We returned to San Ramón early in the afternoon on Saturday and were able to spend the rest of the weekend with our families. We also had homework to do, especially preparing for our group presentations in our ecology class this week. We are having a lot of fun, but still learning and working hard.
That’s all for now! Pura Vida!