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Being A Leader

Today we were invited to the talent show of the school of Rancho Quemado in which we saw and enjoyed a lot of wonderful and adorable performances from the children. We even went up and sang a song in German that our fellow traveler Lucas had taught us. It was a super fun experience learning…

Basti Community Center

Today was the first day my room was on time for breakfast. Princess began our day with the theme song from Frozen to make sure we were awake. Shockingly, we had already woken up from the tropical music playing outside of our window. As everyone arrived for breakfast at different times, I could hear the…

Altitude: 15,700 Ft

Our group of 66 includes 13 SStS members, 3 Llama Pack guides, 10 llamaros from an Andean community, and 40 llamas – all smiling at the altitude of 15,700 ft. With the trek complete, the camp is not set for the day. Students are resting after such an early start and challenging day. The group…

Monday

Today was an undeniably eventful day here in Meru! We started our morning with warm lemongrass tea before a drive to a local high school. We were greeted with a presentation of traditional dancing and singing, as well as short introductions from members of each grade. Dr. K shared her message about the power of…

Sunday

Sunday, June 25 As interesting as it was, a good group of us started our Sunday morning bright and early walking to a Kenyan Methodist church. We first walked over to KACH and met up with some kids. Grace had Tamara on her hip and Eliana and I were accompanied by Nanette. Being at the…

Saturday

Travel Journal Saturday, June 24 Today was another busy day for us here in Meru. We started off working with Nicholas continuing our permaculture project. The work today was not as tiring, as we simply planted the seeds in the beds we made yesterday. There were all different kinds of these seeds such as carrots,…

Chocolate

Today we woke up excited to go and visit the cacao farms in San Cristobal. We woke up to some freshly made pancakes and some delicious pineapple. We then took a long boat ride to San Cristobal. We got to San Cristobal and were welcomed by so many kids. When we got to the Cacao…

Proximity and the Power to Preserve

Journal entry: After an action-packed day at Corcovado National Park, I was deep in thought on the boat ride back to the bus. As we bounced over waves, I looked out over the majestic green cliffs on the coastline and reflected on the experiences I had today. Our adventures in Corcovado had begun with a…

Healthy In Kenya

We spoke with the field this evening (Kenya time) to learn that the group is well and thriving. Often, earlier mornings, followed by long days, end in deep, reflective conversations, with journal entries taking a low priority. The typical pattern includes an entry on the third day.

With Andean Community

The Garmin text just arrived from high in the Andes. All is well in Cuncani – amazing day here harvesting potatoes with Andean community in an ancestral manner. The group is healthy and in good spirits. Green light for the trek with all 13 of us tomorrow and 13 guides – 3 from Llama Pack…

Not All That Different

I felt more connected to the community of Rancho Quemado today, more than ever before. We started the day by laughing out loud when the itinerary stated that WE would be teaching local kids soccer, but of course it would end up being the opposite. The kids were so accepting of our questionable soccer skills,…

From Cuncani

All is well. Installed irrigation for school greenhouses and refinished classroom floors. The Peru Crew is motivated and present, understanding the value of their purposeful work.

Island Life

Yesterday concluded with a horrific episode of a four-cockroach invasion in the instructor’s room after dinner. Without further ado… Welcome to Snorkeling Saturday! The morning commenced with the usual reluctance to get out of our warm beds. Later we ate a delicious breakfast of omelets, bread, and fruit while talking about random subjects. To our…

Grateful

To be honest, I truly do not know how to start this. There’s so much I want to say about today. Whether it is going to a farm at 5 am, working with Enrique to clean and preserve the beautiful forest right behind his house, or even cooking in the kitchen and struggling just to…

Early To Bed – and cockroaches beware!

The group returned late with little energy for writing in the travel journey – a night off! Word from the field: some students’ evening excitement was an introduction to cockroaches!

From the High Andes

After teaching and playing with children, the Peru Crew hiked to a high mountain lake where they saw a farmer’s home and way of life – all punctuated by an amazing circle discussion with community members – amazing! (double “amazing” is from the field – knowing Brian (course instructor) as I do, this must have…

Impact

Travel Journal Friday, June 23 Today brought yet another adventurous day in the highlands of Kenya! We started off our morning strong as we met our friends Patrick, Nicholas, Tyrus, Kelvin, and Vivian from KACH and headed over to continue working on our hybrid permaculturing/composting/manure-shoveling project. It was really meaningful to see our work progressing…

NOLA Crew

This photo from the field, after a morning of physical labor in the deep, humid heat, tells a story of bonding, gratitude, and growth. Riley, Jackie, and this diverse team of students exemplify the mission of SStS – What a crew! Parents – this photo might be a special “welcome home” framed gift!

A Rest Well-Earned

The NOLA Crew had a productive, gratifying day of hard work. They are retiring without a journal post but with the satisfaction that comes uniquely from honest, physical work. Well done!

A Small Price To Pay

Today was probably my favorite day that we have had so far. It was really hard to get out of bed because I have been sleeping so well with the sounds of the ocean. We had pancakes and fruit for breakfast (so good!). Then we went to Red Frog Beach by boat and arrived at…

A Camp Like No Other

Camp has been set and the Peru Crew is setting in at the high Andean community of Cucani after a day of travel and a visit to the Inkariy Museum. Note: the SStS office receives daily updates from our climbing group through text from a special Garmin device. We are also in contact through SAT…

We Begin

The group is happy to be settling into Rancho Quemado. What a journey!

First Day

June 18th Today was our first full day in Panama, and it has been very eventful! We started off the morning with a tour of the city as we learned about the history of this place. Panama is a country filled with so much diversity and culture! As we were walking through the city, we…

Allillanchu (hello in Quechua) from Peru!!!

June 18, 2023 Allillanchu (hello in Quechua) from Peru!!! Today was our first full day in Peru. After a long travel day, everyone was ready to get up and explore the city and start learning about native cultures and the NGO we will be working with. In the morning, we heard from Alejandra, the founder,…

Olive Ridley

Last night (around 1 am) one of our night patrol groups found a female Olive Ridley on the beach. We came across the turtle tracks that lead us to her and the nest that she was building! Elsie got to catch the eggs as the female turtle laid them. She counted 101 eggs in total…

Moral Courage

Throughout this day we followed Sandro, one of the local tour guides through an organic farming tour where we learned about how the local people here in Rancho Verde use the environment to survive and consistently make food. Sandro is morally courageous because he took a risk by starting to become eco-friendly. He decided to…

Arrived to Rancho Quemado

Ashley shared her story about her daughter Esperanza. There is not enough work in Rancho Quemado, so she has to leave with her parents so that she can work in another town. It drove home the points from our pre-course curriculum about the economic challenges facing people in this region and the difficulty in balancing…

A Great Day in Panama

It was a great fifth day in Panama. We had a very packed schedule starting with a beach cleanup and a tour of the recycling center in Bocas. We learned about the roots and reasoning behind the issue of trash in Bocas and how groups like Unidos por Bocas are trying to implement a better…

“Learning Service” vs “Service-Learning”

Hola! To start off our fourth day in Panama we had a delicious breakfast of pancakes and fruit, followed by lesson planning for the community centers and a discussion about “learning service” vs. “service-learning. We discussed our intentions for this trip and how we can leave a positive impact on the communities we encounter. “Learning…

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