I don’t think any of us went to sleep last night, and it showed this morning. Crowding onto the bus at 1:30 in the morning, everybody was curled up in their seat, eyes down, trying to pretend like they were asleep so that nobody would ask to sit with them. After a two hour bus ride to Logan Airport and a short flight to JFK in New York, not much had changed. Besides having an opportunity to get some food, we had cordoned off an entire corner of the waiting area by the gate so that we could lie down on the ground to sleep. There we stayed, greeted by strange glances and muttered questions, until we could board the nearly 6 hour flight to Liberia, Costa Rica.
I was knocked out for the entire 6 hours. That’s more than most of the Lacrosse the Nations crew can say though. Amid turbulent bounces and shakes of the airplane, more than once Haley could be heard over the dull hum of the engines saying, “We’re gonna die…”
Within minutes of landing in Costa Rica, the oppressive heat was taking its toll on all of us. We had to stop halfway through customs to swap out of our sweats and long sleeve shirts for shorts and t-shirts. We were greeted by Asa’s parents and an “Ecotrans” bus that took us to our destination in Potrero, an hour or so away from the airport.
It was on this ride, amidst the lush greenery and wildlife that we saw the impoverished state of some of the natives living here in Costa Rica. Enter the Nicole quote of the day: “I think the cows here are skinnier because they eat less.” Fast forward about half an hour from that point and we were settling into our hotel, which is less than a minute walk from the school where we’ll be working for the week. After settling in and being introduced to the other volunteers we’d be working with, Megan and Connor, we made a trip down to the beach to cap off the first day of stressful travel with something a little more relaxing. As the picture of the sunset over the water first came into view, Nicki hit us with the second quote of the day: “Complete culture shock.”
We’ve yet to start doing the work that we came here to do, but we can already see why this place needs our help, and we can already understand just how different it is from the places we come from. It makes the early morning and the long day of travel worth it. Tomorrow, we’re getting to see more of the town and helping out at a local food bank, and then hopefully we can start teaching some lacrosse!