Mal Pais

Trip Start Feb 07, 2012
Trip End Apr 24, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hacienda Tropical

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Hi. Just so you know, Sarah and Paul did not type this. Sawyer did. Hunter typed one other blog entry about Mal Pais. His main topic was fishing. This time, I'll write mostly about the school we volunteered at.

    We're staying at this place in Mal Pais called La Hacienda Tropical, with a main building with a shared kitchen and living room and 5 rooms, a pool and 2 cabins with their own kitchens. The inside is nice, but it does not look like a place at a surf town in Costa Rica. There's a ton of rustic furniture and animal hides and stuff like that, so you'd think it's a lodge somewhere in the mountains of Colorado if it weren't for the windows. The pool is pretty cool, and I'm in it at least twice a day. The people here are nice, and they have 6 pets: 3 Siberian huskies (Gidget, Moondog and Yogi), one cute, ugly little dog named Hakuna Matata that I can't figure out the breed of, and 2 cats, Cookies and Beans. I'm also surfing at the beach almost every day.

    We also volunteered at an elementary school today, and we will do it again tomorrow. The schools in Costa Rica are a lot different than the public schools in America. First of all, the school was basically one room and a kitchen, with a couple of tables on the kitchen side, a couch for free time, and an area with a bunch of desks, a whiteboard and a table with all the supplies. One of the sides was a rusty wire fence instead of a wall. Second of all, the teachers are way less serious about discipline. There were kids wrestling each other during lunchtime and people shooting basketballs at the hole in the wire fence between classes, and the students could just be dismissed from some of the classes if the teacher gave them permission.

    Anyway, we volunteered to help teach the English class, and we were teaching them the alphabet in English. We did some flash cards with them first, then played musical chairs with Dad's mandolin. We didn't play the regular way, because the kids would think that they're done with class if they're out of the game. We played so that no one was permanently out of the game if they lost the round and we never took away chairs. If someone lost a round, they would have to answer an English question from Mom. After that I led the Alphabet Bingo game, drawing a letter and a matching picture (an apple for A, a bat for B, etc.). Some of my drawings were pretty bad, but I had to draw them fast. Overall, I think it was a great experience coming to that school.

(Mom note:  Filled with pride....I wish you could have all seen Sawyer teaching the English class to a room full of 1st and 2nd graders. He had their FULL attention and got them really excited about learning their English ABCs and new words to go along with each letter. He taught for over 30 minutes and by the end, I could see a noticeable improvement by the kids.  It was one of my most special moments yet!)

(Dad's Mail Pais Notes:
Had some wonderful surfing here.  Big, heavy waves, but some of the best I ever caught.  Surfed the main beach break and a few other more off-the-track spots, including a wonderful left hand point break called "Mar Azul". Paul, hotel owner/surfer, showed me these spots.  Really fun once you get over the massive rocks, ledge and pinnacles in the entry/exit points.  The boys also surfed the white-water here a lot.  Not the easiest place to surf.  Each day we would pile into Paul's 1969 Jeep with the boards on top.  Classic!  We also saw some of the most beautfiful sunsets - see the pics.)

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