Costa Rica! It has been 13 days since arriving in Central America, but who is counting? It was exciting and still is to be somewhere warm again after spending time in Wales` cold wet weather. One extreme to another. All five us made it after some R&R and our long journey across the pond.
The nerves went away as soon as we began our 7 hour ride to the house to meet Tel1 and our new leaders as the scenery of the mountains and lush rainforest greeted us through the window of our private shuttle.
Over the last 13 days I have learned and experienced so much. Its an experience all on its own being the only female amongst 9 other guys taking the course. But besides trying to hold my own and keep up physically with the men. Which is proving to be possible. The rest of Tel2 and myself have been given our machetes, learned to sharpen them (much more time consuming than I realized), cut wood, light fires in the rain.. in a rainforest… let me emphasize rain again, what jungle nasties are, so everything that will hurt you, jungle movement.. or for me jungle on my knees in the mud, practice scenarios, basic first aid, stretcher carrying, stretcher carrying, stretcher carrying, did I mention stretcher carrying? Cave rescue, planting almond trees, rationing, Spanish lessons, knots, where to set up hammocks, how to make food taste… well have taste, with limited ingredients and one pot, build paths at Ara a macaw sanctuary and release center, importance of taking care of your feet, and going to the bathroom outside. Ñot a bad list for 13 days.
So that brings us to day 13 in Costa Rica. All I can do is smile and laugh at all the experiences so far. From swimming in the ocean after a hot sweaty day and looking back on the jungle behind me with the sun rays glittering through the mist between the trees, to thinking how am I going to eat refried beans everyday to looking forward to beans and even eating them on my day off in town, getting attacked by bees in the face when planting trees.. although not funny at the time cause it hurt like.. is funny now looking back at all of us swatting our faces, tears of frustration when I could not get up off my knees on the muddy slope with a cinder block in my backpack, introduction to the world of men and their NEED for snacks, excitement and thrill of being able to start a fire, the taste of chocolate after only eating beans, rice, chickpeas, and pasta, there not being enough trees during our cave rescue to set up hammocks for everyone.. so sleeping, I am using that word loosely on the floor,, on a spinal board I found, in my mosquito net with tupperware as a pillow, to sleeping in a hammock for my first time as a double decker hammock (someone below me in theres) and having to get hoisted up by two guys into it, the joyful sounds of roosters every…morning… starting at 1:19-1:23AM and continuing each hour throughout the night, yes I time it now to see how accurate Mr. rooster is being, crammed on buses trapped with our own beautiful jungle aroma… smells of perseverance? horses galloping through the yard, having feet that look unrecognizable and hurt after hours of being saturated in boots, stretcher carrying men for hours up rivers, over and through boulders, and caves, working as a team, arm wrestling, and enjoying the company of all of our vastly different personalities.
If you have made it through my paragraphs of lists hopefully you have an idea of what has been involved in our adventure so far. Despite moving from location to location and learning new skills I think the biggest journey will be how we evolve and grow through this whole process. It is hard enough being in close proximity with people you pick and love and another to be with strangers and people ranging from ages 17-35 all in different places in their lives. We get to see each other at our best, our worst, our smelliest, sick, angry, tired, hungry, goofy, strong, sad, happy selves. Its a true test or even look at who we we really are and who we become or chose to become in an environment like the jungle that is hard to live in and with a potluck of personalities. I am excited for the opportunity to test myself both mentally and physically over the next few months. Although we are all different there is the one thing we have in common.. we are all crazy enough to chose and pay to survive in the jungle. So let the adventure continue!