More from the NDA group in Costa Rica


We have finally arrived in the village after an hour long bus ride on Friday. We ate lunch and everyone was assigned their roommates and families. After spending time with our families all night, we all met back at 7 AM to begin working at the center. Gabby, Taylor, Kara, Emily and Brooke all worked hard on the mural. Other jobs included moving rocks, pushing wheel-barrels of cement and tracing names on the wall. After work, a community wide soccer game took place. The boys played the girls and if I must say myself the girls dominated.
On Sunday, everyone spent the day doing different activities with their families. Brooke, Kara, Siobhan, Shannan, Ally, Mariah, Gabby and Emily went to the Christian Evangelical church  which lasted four hours, quite the experience! Abby, Kelsey, Taylor, Katie, Gaby, and Anna went to a birthday party after going to the Catholic Church with Kate and Becca. The party was for a 15 year old girl in the village. They learned salsa taught some American dances and sang happy birthday to her in English. The family knew how to throw a good party! We even milked the family’s cows, every one of us! Most of us went to a river in the morning and swam for a couple hours and enjoyed the waterfall. Becca and Kate took on the soccer prodigies on their own on Sunday and totally held their own! Today we are working all day continuing the mural and building the bathroom. Everyone loves their families, is improving on their Spanish, and getting some good color in the sun!

-written by a student

Kristina Simes:

I was late in joining the Costa Rica trip roster, so I didn’t have much time to think about what the experience would be like beforehand. In the midst of a Boston winter, I could hardly imagine sun, let alone a colorful world full of delicious fruit, bright green fauna, and the hardworking, kind-hearted people of Oratorio de Los Platanarios.

These past five days have been incredible. I love watching the girls as they are forming relationships with their host families, engaging with all of the neighborhood children, and working hard to build a communal space that our new friends can use and enjoy for years to come. The girls are bravely speaking Spanish. In one of her great pep talks, Geno reminded them that to speak conversational Spanish is very different and more difficult than studying Spanish for a grade. Geno says, “Every time you open your mouth, you receive an ‘A.'” It is an incredible thing to watch your children grow in ways they themselves might not have even anticipated. They have hiked, zip-lined, and overcome fears of heights. They are mixing cement, and painting a beautiful mural, and learning plumbing. But the most amazing thing of all is that they seem to be falling in love with another pocket of our world, and with people whose lives and language are different than what they have been used to. It is an honor to witness and accompany your children as they grow and challenge themselves on this journey.


Thursday, February 21

Hola! Yesterday and today we discovered the process of coffee making. We split into two groups. One group went to the coffee fields today and the other went yesterday. Both groups had the opportunity to simulate what coffee pickers do daily. It was a lot of tedious work. There were bugs everywhere, but the girls got down and dirty. Like coffee pickers, all of the girls wore baskets around their waist and carefully picked each bean from the bushes. After an hour or so we put all of the beans together. We were all surprised to hear that after all of our hard work, we each made the equivalent of a dime. Then we went through the process of making the coffee. We were informed about all of the steps. After, we got to try the coffee! Today is our last night in the home stay. All of us are upset to be leaving our new families, but are excited to take a piece of Oratorio home to the U.S with us. Kara was lucky enough to spend her birthday with her Costa Rican family. Two cakes and 5 different birthday songs later, she claims it was the best birthday experience yet!

Friday February 22,

Our experience in our community in 21 words:
Safe, indescribable, family, community, life-lasting, eye-opening, teamwork, friendship, unique, home, relationships, caring, proud, happiness, alive, life-changing, laughter, beautiful, filling, compassion, rewarding.

… and here are two photos taken earlier today once the group arrived at the beach in Uvita on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica

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