Hello friends and family of the RHP & REN program in Costa Rica!
The group has departed San José on time and is scheduled to land at LAX at 1:07pm. We will update this blog with any schedule changes.
Don't hesitate to reach out to our office at 303-679-3412 with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your continued trust and support!
- The WLS Team
If I could describe this trip with one word it would be indescribable. The activities, culture, fun, and connections made with others made this trip a once in a lifetime experience. I believe everyone should take on the challenge of coming here and growing in all aspects of their life. - Xavier Higholt
This trip has been a once in a life time experience. From going out of my comfort zone, to learning about the culture of Costa Rica, I have learned so much. I wouldn’t have changed any of it. - Lily Itzinger
This is a trip from my heart, not me. We should be happy with what we have. Most of the people in Costa Rica are way happier than us. They are living in the moment, not planning on their future. I love the people here, and I will come back to rebuild their community and make them stronger. - Hans Guo
I’ve never been out of the country before and I didn’t really know anyone very well that was going on the trip. I have a habit of being anxious but, after the first two days of the trip it was an entirely amazing experience. I felt very relaxed at certain moments during this trip and was surrounded by great people. I’m now inspired to help with global issues and to follow my dreams even more. - Mahalia Baer
This was amazing. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about myself. The cultural immersion was like nothing I had done before, and everything that I experienced helped me in one way or another. I want to bring my family back to Chilamate, and though they wont experience as much as I did we can still have a taste of what I felt over the past week. - Stephen Calhoun
This trip, for me, was amazing. I loved all of the tours we went on, the outdoor activities we did and the homestay families were really nice. I also had a great time bonding with people I usually wouldn’t talk to. Additionally, this was an eye-opening experience for me to see what’s going on in other countries and what other cultures are like. I loved being able to come out to Costa Rica and have a great time. - Jasmine Macklin
This trip had a very positive effect on me. I got to live and connect with my Costa Rican family and learn what life is like for the people living here. I enjoyed the new scenery and the environment. I got a closer connection to my friends, and I plan on coming back next year. - Ryan Roulette
It’s not about impressing others, but the impression you make on them. I learned this while dancing the salsa, swimming in the river, and eating with my host mom over the past week. I was brought up, as were many of my peers, to impress people. Make them think, “wow! they know their stuff”. But this idea is toxic, it can break you as fast as it can make you. Rather than impressing someone, try to make a lasting impression on them. Telling a joke may make you seem impressive, funny, witty, but laughing at another’s joke is just as important. Being the fastest, or most willing to work, is a great attribute to any person, but remember that to build something useful one does not use brick and mortar. Instead, we use our emotion, our hearts.
The most useful thing to build is a bond between people.
From an American perception, we want to help in certain ways. These ways may not line up to those of other countries. You can never help a community and its culture until you know the community and culture, eat their food, dance their dance, and sleep in their homes. Not only will this help you understand how to help, but it will make an impression on them that says your interested in helping rather than helping just to impress.
Lots of love,
My experience here so far has been fantastic. For the first few days of the trip, we stayed in a hotel, although it isn’t the first thing you would picture when you think of a hotel. There is a lot of outdoor space to hang out with friends. There is a foosball table and a grass field and soccer balls. I slept in a room with Xavier, Stephen, and Hans. They are all very fun people to be around and I had a good time. We went to breakfast first thing in the morning, which always includes rice and beans. I like that a lot. However, the best thing I have tasted so far on this trip has been the coffee. When I think of coffee I usually think of something that smells better than it tastes, but it is quite the opposite here. Costa Rica has some of the best coffee in the world, and I plan on buying as much as I can fit in my suitcase to bring home. Hear that mom! After breakfast we would have some free time and then go to our activities, such as hiking in the jungle, swimming in the river, etc.
I like my host family a lot. I got paired up with Xavier, and we have been getting closer to our family every day. Nobody in the house speaks English, but they do have modern technology! We have been able to communicate through google translate on their phones. Uno has been a frequently played game and a good icebreaker between us and the family. There isn’t any hot water in the showers, but I can’t complain because it feels so good after sweating throughout the day.
This morning we played a soccer game against a local club. Most of the clubs here charge 20 dollars a month, but many of the families aren’t able to afford that. A man named Chino recognized this and created a club that anyone could play in for free. The game was the last thing on my and Xavier’s mind before we went to sleep and the first thing we talked about this morning. When we arrived the other team was already there and we did some warm up games together. Once the game started we could tell the game would be close. They scored two points off the bat, but we were able to tie it up before halftime. The second half ended 4-4 and we went to free kicks. The first several kicks were misses, and you could feel the tension in the air. Friendly tension of course. Finally, one of the players on the Costa Rican team made their free kick winning the game. This was a particularly exciting game for them because it was like a world cup between Costa Rica and the U.S. We shook hands after the game and went on our way. This was an enriching experience because we got to play with the locals and see what they do in their day to day life.
I am looking forward to having more fun throughout the rest of the trip.
Lots of love,