Costa Rica!

hector costa rica groupThis might have been perhaps the most fun summer, with a 10-day trip to Costa Rica from ESSO (Exeter Social Service Organization, our community service program) with 12 fellow Exonians and 2 chaperons, Mr. Hawkins and Ms. McGahie.  Our team will forever be indebted to the University of Georgia at Costa Rica (UGACR) for sponsoring our stay. Upon landing into the country’s capital we were taken to the lush rural community of San Luis de Monteverde at the UGACR campus. 3 days of intense hiking through the forest ensued, with spectacular sights.

We then took on a brief community service project; after the community center experienced normal wear-and-tear, we sanded and varnished all the tables, laid a rock bed foundation for a building, and much more. Here’s a picture of the team digging a waterway for floods, so they don’t destroy the building:
hector costa rica farm

The next part of the trip was devoted to a 3-day homestay, a special, memorable experience for our team. After a day’s drive to a village through Guanacaste, we arrived in a town of 100 people in a place called Quebradas de Nando. I lived with a nice family of 4; Nena, Richard, and their two sons Arley and Andrey. I’ll always be grateful to Andrey, a master marimba player, who taught me how to play in just a few days.

To make their school wheelchair accessible, we created sidewalks and stairsteps around the one room schoolhouse. Here’s a picture of us carving the sidewalk:
hector costa rica sidewalkTo finish off our stay, we threw a giant tamale-making party and invited everyone! Here’s a pic of us with our culinary expertise:
hector costa rica dinnerThe final days of our stay were marked by leisure in paradise at the CIRENAS campus just a short trek (over two rivers and a mile-long beach) away. After surfing lessons and a horseback ride through the jungle, we spent our last days at the beach, enjoying the sunset.
hector costa rica horse

I’ll always remember the absolute paradise of isolation, the beauty away from hotels and cityscapes that make Costa Rica truly unique. It caught us in awe of wildlife and in love for sustainable living, from the simple lifestyles of Quebradas de Nando to the wildlife reserve at UGACR. Thanks to Michaella ’16, Rohan ’16, Sasha ’16, Spencer ’16, Kelvin ’15, Rebecca ’16,Efe ’16 Sacharja ’15, Ashley ’15, Julie ’16, Kelly ’17, our guides Mane and Amelia, our fabulous driver Fabio, and our chaperons Mr. Hawkins and Ms. McGahie for a truly memorable, transformative experience.

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About Hector at Phillips Exeter Academy

Hey guys! I am a Lower (for those of you who aren't familiar with Exeter lexicon, a Lower is a 10th grader) from fabulous Las Vegas, NV. I try to immerse myself in the opportunities here at Exeter; this year, I am part of Model United Nations, Biology Research Club, Astronomy Club, Physics Club, Science Bowl, Science Olympiad, painting club, French Club, Christian Fellowship, Chemistry Club, and so much more! I play violin and try to squeeze in some passionate practice times throughout the week. I row during the spring and fall (after just beginning this year, and I hope to pursue it throughout my high school career). My biggest interests are physics, astronomy, and robotics, and during free time I love spending time with friends and exploring the town of Exeter and beyond!