Sunday, May 19, 2013

Day 7: Mud, Rodeos, and Futbol

Day 4 of the service-learning project started off just like the first. We once again climbed off-trail into an old creek-bed to move rocks. Scott standing in the center of this photo is wearing the same shirt he was wearing on day 1 of the service learning project (see day 4 post). After four days of work, his blue shirt is no longer blue.

We formed our customary line to quickly move the rocks back towards the path.

After lunch and cold showers (there is no such thing as a hot shower in many parts of Costa Rica), we all walked down to the Soda for the town’s rodeo.

Not only does the Soda serve as Bingo Hall, Karaoke Bar, and Soda (place you order drinks), but it also serves as a Rodeo stadium. All the locals brought their horses for the show.

Costa Rican rodeos are nothing like the rodeos we have in America. The goal is to ride at full-speed and stick a tiny pole through a ring on a clothesline. The rings are very small, and you probably can’t even see them in this picture. They are hooked to the bottom of the green clamps on the wire. In this picture, it is Henry’s turn. He is one of the Rangers at the park and the one we were all rooting for.

Drinking fresh juice, we watched the show with Maria (Henry’s girlfriend). She was one of the nicest ladies you will ever meet, and once again demonstrated just how loving and hospitable the Costa Rican Culture is. Kassie told Maria that she liked her bracelet, and Maria took it off and gave it to Kassie as a gift. Kassie tried to refuse, but Maria wouldn’t let her.

A young Tico offered most of us the chance to ride his horse, so both Ryan and I got a ride. It was the first time either of us had ridden a horse. Not many people get to say they rode a horse for the first time at a Costa Rican Rodeo. The young Tico even tried to get me to hook one of the rings on the line.

After dinner, many of us gathered around the TV to watch game 1 of the Costa Rican Futbol Championship. Cartago was taking on Heredia. Ricardo and the other rangers were rooting for Cartago, so naturally all of us were as well. It was an exciting game to watch as Cartago scored 3 goals in 10 minutes time to take Game 1 3-1. I don’t think any of us will ever forget watching and screaming at the top of our lungs alongside our new Tico friends.

After the game, all of us went to the front porch to enjoy our final night at Tenorio. This porch carries so many memories, as all of us gathered here every night to enjoy the beautiful weather and tranquility of Tenorio National Park. I was unsure about the service-learning project before leaving the US, but I can honestly say it has been one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life.

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