Saturday, May 18, 2013

Day 6: Working Hard then Playing Games

The day began very early around 4:30 am. Ricardo took half of our group out on two straight mornings to walk through the rainforest at night. I was very excited, but also a little bit nervous. We would be walking through the rainforest in almost complete darkness. There’s no telling what would stalk us. Now this was actually a valid fear as jaguars and other jungle cats live in this park! It was an incredible experience. At one point, a stick snapped off to our right and made us all jump. We waited for a few seconds, but heard nothing else and moved on. We walked nearly 2 miles in the dark to the location above. Here we sat watching the birds and waiting to see if the tapir that lived in the area would walk by.

 The walk back was beautiful as we walked through the forest in the early morning daylight now. On the walk back we saw some more wildlife. On this walking tour, we got to see a different side of Ricardo. He is such an interesting man. He is a man of few words, but of many sounds as he can make any animal call. He demonstrated many of these on this walking tour. It was a neat way to begin the day.

After a quick breakfast, we met up with the other half of our group and then walked back into the forest. Today our job was getting small rocks and dirt out of the bottom of a river and transporting it in bags to the trails behind us. We once again formed a human chain to move the bags of rock out of the river.

It was a lot of hard work, but we still got a few little breaks. During one, Ricardo found this little guy. This lizard has a solar spot on his head that collects energy from the sun. If you cover it with your hand, he will fall asleep as pictured above.

Ethan is carrying two bags of gravel and dirt to the part of the trail where we were laying the contents of the bags. Needless to say, we all got pretty dirty today!

Kassie is using the rock and dirt from the bags to fill in the holes in the path. It was a lot of hard work, but it was definitely worth it. I can’t tell you how many people (both Ticos and tourists) thanked us for our work. It was a good feeling knowing that people were appreciating the hard work we were doing. Today was definitely the hardest day of work!

After a hard days work, we all decided to walk down to Bingo at the local “soda” down the road from Tenorio. The “soda” serves as the town hall/meeting place/entertainment place for the local Ticos. Bingo was a very interesting experience. For one, the locals were super welcoming and excited we had come down to play. They didn’t even care that Rachel and Scott won some of the prizes, which were simple items such as pots and plastic pitchers. They also let Ethan, who is minoring in Spanish, call three of the Bingo games. It was great interacting with the local Ticos.

After bingo, we walked back up to Tenorio for dinner. Then a few of us decided to go back down to the soda for Karaoke night. Once again the locals were very welcoming. This isn’t a very touristy area of Costa Rica, so a lot of them enjoyed the opportunity of interacting with Americans. They loved Ethan, especially when he sang Enrique Iglesias’s “Hero” in Spanish! It was a fun time!

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