The last 2 days have consisted mostly of meeting the group and traveling to Rancho Quemado. We got off the plane to Miami and were greeted by Lynsie, Lenore, and other group members. In the weeks before the trip, I was nervous about getting along with the group, but as soon as we sat down, everyone was so friendly. We immediately started talking and the conversation flowed naturally.
After everyone arrived, we checked in for our flight to San Jose and hung out with the group. We got lunch, shopped around, went over the SSTS ground rules, and made our own contract. When we landed in San Jose, we went straight to our hotel and had dinner. The next day, we got breakfast at a local cafe before our six-hour bus ride to Rancho Quemado. We had fresh juice, fruit, rice, beans, and eggs.
The bus ride went by quickly because we organized fun icebreakers to get to know each other and listened to music. We also did a lesson on the bus about ethical leadership and service learning vs. learning service. We discussed the importance of knowing that we aren’t the experts and that we are here to learn, not to “save” their community. When we arrived, we were greeted by a beautiful opening ceremony with dancers in traditional dresses. We got to introduce ourselves to the children of Rancho Quemado and got to try on their dresses and learn some of the dances. We had a dinner of rice with shrimp, salad, beans, plantains, and guava juice before being assigned to our rooms. So far, I have had a lot of fun, gotten to meet amazing new people, and am so excited for the rest of the trip!