We are staying at another organic finca (farm) near Mastatal, 2.5km from Villas Mastatal (the last finca we volunteered at). Marcos is our Spanish teacher and is instructing us on our volunteer activities. Our days are very busy here starting with preparing breakfast at 6:30am, eat at 7:00, work from 8:00 to 1:00, eat lunch, Spanish lessons from 2:00 to 4:00, and prepare dinner at 5:30, eat at 6:00. Not much free time…
Our work is variable, including gardening and planting things, digging holes and landscaping, harvesting, and building projects including constructing a wall in the dormitory area, sanding and varnishing wood for the wall and other projects. I have also agreed to help Marcos with a computer project, making a 5ish minute video about the nearby national park, La Cangreja.
We are usually pretty beat by 1:00, covered with sweat, mud and caca de vaca (cow poo), so the cold shower is a great reward. While it is gratifying and interesting, I am finding this work to be pretty hard. Since the bugs are so bad (for me anyway, it feels like I have chicken pox all the time!) I have to wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and rubber boots. It is super hot and humid here and nothing ever seems to dry, so it is like working inside a steam sauna all the time that stinks like mold and vinegar. Even just walking is hard work. Plus there is no flat land here, and the paths to everything are muddy and clay so you’re constantly trying not to slip.
The dormitory at Siempre Verde is very very nice. We have an amazing view of the rainforest from the second floor yoga deck, and we sleep on the third floor above that. At night we hear the craziest sounds! When the night thunder and rainstorms aren’t hammering on the tin roof above us we can hear owls, frogs, monkeys, crickets, geckos and a TON of unexplained noises. It is a little bit scary sometimes because most of the sounds are completely new to us! Plus going to the bathroom in the middle of the night is intimidating because you never know what is lurking in the shadows. Last night, for example, we were awakened by something climbing and rustling in the tree beside our window (everything is open, no glass or walls or anything) and then a bat was flying around our bed for a few hours. Pretty cool stuff!
Overall, Costa Rica is completely amazing! Everything is new, and weird, and difficult, and uncomfortable, and confusing, and scary, and EXACTLY what we were hoping to experience! This is travelling! This is how it must feel to be a kid again, discovering the world, testing limits, trying to communicate, and navigating anything! And everything that is normal to us is completely crazy to the people we meet here (cold winters, bears and moose, northern lights, dishwashers, fast food, etc). How cool is THAT?!