GK Reflections on the Malala Yousafzai Event at the UN
Seeing Malala Yousafzai in person speak to the Secretary General of the United Nations about the Millennium Development Goals and Education for girls and boys is one of the most inspirational things I’ve witnessed. Malala is a positive role model for youth around the world because her bravery and determination empowers youth to demand their right to education. During her discussion with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Malala said, “It is my dream to see every child going to school.” Coming from a family of low-level educated parents and seeing Malala advocate for education gives me hope that more people would see the importance of education and that government officials would invest more into the education of their youth.
— Afi Akakpo, GK Leader
GK Leaders at the UN Event featuring Malala Yousafzai and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
A Great Day! “GK—-ALL DAY”
Tuesday, August 5th- Lorrin Davis, 15
Today we started out doing Yoga from 7:30am to 8:00am. As we entered into our comfort zones, doing our exercises, we came up with our own positive affirmations. Mine was about the world and how “I am safe because of God.” Next we ate breakfast and emphasized more on our affirmations. After breakfast, we went back to the alternative middle/high school in Puerto Viejo, to complete our gardening project. We raked, dug holes, planted plants and placed stones with the help from some of the high school students. We also got to talk to them and get to know some of their story/family background. Most of the guys and girls parents were from Nicaragua. Lastly, we taught them our dance to Problem by Ariana Grande. We took pictures and video as well.
We came back to our house for lunch, which was rice, beans, cheese quesadillas, fruit, and different types of fruit juices. After lunch, we did Solos, which required us to separately go out into the jungle, or what is close to a nearby forest, for 30 minutes and in silence think to ourselves of what we want out of life now and in the future. That was quite the adventure! Right after that we talked to a man who was a part of Congress in Costa Rica, about his job and his views on the Costa Rican society and the socially unjust issues.
Around 4:00pm we went to Salsa Brava and danced with Wanda. We learned how to dance the bachata, salsa, and soca. Some of the drummer boys that we met on Sunday joined us. It was tiresome, but very fun, and good for exercise. From about 6:00pm to about 7:00pm, we walked around and did more shopping, also stopping by the Deelight for the second time. Today I had a medium cup of white chocolate and almond ice cream. It was delicious! A little later, we went to Lidia’s, which is a restaurant we were invited to come to and eat, by Rachael. Lidia is Junior’s mother, and she owns the restaurant. I had a pork chop dinner, while everyone else had chicken and one vegetarian. The guys who drum, also joined us for our last time together.
When we arrived home, around 8:30pm we met up on the porch and played a music/lyrics game. We were on opposing teams. The object of the game was to listen to the beginning of the song and have your group sing the rest or majority. Whoever sang the loudest and had the most lyrics down, won a point. Lastly, we discussed tomorrow’s schedule. Today was a pretty productive day, and just like every other day, A GREAT DAY!!! “GK—-ALL DAY.”
Rice and Beans- and Coconut Milk
August 4, 2014- Tiffany Tyler, 14
Today we woke up around 6:45 to prepare ourselves for our daily thirty-minute yoga session. During yoga we practiced breathing techniques, and discussed why the way you breathe is so important. After the yoga session, we ate the breakfast that was prepared for us, which were granola, banana, mango, papaya, and yogurt.
After breakfast, we went to the beach, talked to Rachel about her family background, ate lunch outside, went to a local alternative high school, enjoyed ice cream, went shopping, then to Junior’s house for dinner, and finally came back home. Rachel talked mainly about the Afro-Caribbean and indigenous people who lived in Costa Rica and how and why they came to live here. We spoke about our family backgrounds and our identities. After our talk, we enjoyed rice with beans, salad and mango juice.
We quickly transitioned to going to the school, which we learned is the only high school in Puerto Viejo. At the high school we were supposed to garden, but it turned out that it was way too hot to plant, and that we would have to wait until another day. Instead GK communicated with the students, played games and had fun. After the high school, we left to go enjoy some gelato. I chose to get fresa and limonade, which is strawberry and lemonade. After gelato, we had an option to go back to garden or shop.
It was obvious that everyone, with an exception of one, wanted to shop for souvenirs. As souvenirs I purchased a very pretty sun necklace, and a “COSTA RICA” anklet. After shopping, we went to Junior’s place to enjoy a well-prepared dinner with the help of GK.
For dinner, we had chicken, rice and beans with coconut milk and a salad. The meal that we helped to prepare was absolutely delicious. We had some free time with the boys from the drumming class. We played games such as tic tac toe, and others. After playing with them, we headed home to prepare for the next day.
A Day of Adventure in Costa Rica
Sunday, August 3- Destiny Tate, 15 and Kayla Wicks, 14
When we first woke up, we knew that we had a wild day ahead of us. We started off the day with yoga at 7:30 (which we do daily) and we talked about our intentions for the day. Some intentions were ” don’t get mad if I get muddy” or “to do everything to my greatest extent.” In yoga, we practiced the mountain pose and the tree pose. It helped us with our balance and concentration.
We then got dressed for hiking, we wore clothes that we wouldn’t mind getting dirty. Before the hike through the forest we went to have breakfast at a place close to the beach called Cool and Calm, where we had a delicious breakfast. It consisted of eggs, wonderful bread, mangoes, and pineapples. It started raining really hard (which is very common here in Costa Rica) and we had to wait for the rain to die down at Cool and Calm. To pass the time, we did a flash mob dance to Ariana Grande’s song “Problem ” in the rain with our ponchos.
After our dance in the rain, we walked barefoot out onto the beach, which led to the forest. At first everyone was hesitant about walking barefoot in the mud, but everyone got used to it. It was better to walk barefoot instead of with shoes because the shoes held you back more. At the beach our wonderful forest guide, Alex suggested that we each got huge sticks to use to keep ourselves from sliding and to keep ourselves steady in the mud.
Once we got in the forest, we became accustomed to the rain and didn’t really think about it. We saw monkeys, and Alex opened a coconut (which are everywhere in Costa Rica) and we tasted the meat of it. The hike up to the view of the water was very steep and slippery! Once we got to the cliff by the water, it was really worth being scared because it was a beautiful sight. It was like something that you would see in movies. I’m glad I had the chance to experience things that I wouldn’t have ever thought I would ever do and see.
After the adventurous walk through the jungle, we came back to the house to have lunch. For lunch we had a vegetarian meal with two types of soup and cracker sticks.
After lunch we began to prepare the dinner for the drumming workshop we were going to later on. We made a salad, traditional Costa Rican rice, plantains, and black beans. Many of the meals we’ve had so far have been vegetarian.
The last activity for the day was our drumming workshop. Our teachers were a drumming group of young men ranging from the ages of 11-14. They travel all around the country so people can hear their music. They taught us two different rhythms. The first one they taught was a basic rhythm and the other one was a bit more complicated because it required two types of drums. After we played the rhythms, we played games and talked to get to know one another better. I know that a lot of them likes to play soccer, likes to hang out with their friends, and likes the color red. I really enjoyed my time with them. They are very talented and fun.
Getting to Know Puerto Viejo
Puerto Viejo, Saturday, August 2nd
We all woke up at around 7:00 so that we could be ready to do yoga with Danielle at 7:30. Yoga is fun and everyone seems to like it a lot. After yoga ended at 8:00, everyone headed in to have a delicious breakfast prepared by Joseph. Our group really seemed to enjoy the jam and juice. After breakfast and cleanup, we had about an hour before we headed out to the market with Rachel, Amelia, and Ethan.
Walking to the market, we learned about various plants. Everyone’s favorite seemed to be the mimosa pudica. Its leaves close up when you touch it, and we learned is used for sleeping. When we arrived at the market, a lot of us bought bracelets and some snacks. We then headed to the beach, where we were met by Joseph and Danielle.
There we took pictures before heading to a restaurant to get lunch. After eating we got a ride back to the house and had some time for relaxing before our Capoeira instructor came. Everyone absolutely loved Ishmael, our instructor, and the mixed martial arts style dance.
After our Capoeira lesson, we went to the showers before having dinner. Danielle and Joseph, with the help of a few ladies from GK, prepared some noodles with vegetables and salad. It was agreed upon that everyone enjoyed the cheese and the juice the most. After dinner, GK-DC got together to discuss tomorrow’s plans and after a fun game of taboo and charades, we called it a night.
—Cortney Haskell, 16