Thursday, July 23, 2009

To Mindo . . .

Hello all,

Tuesday morning the group broke into their On Assignment teams. Wildlife &
Conservation students spent the morning at the Botanical Gardens and Vivarium, which houses a significant amount of amphibians and reptiles, while the two Photography groups visited different parks and worked on perfecting techniques. After lunch in different areas around the city, we all regrouped at Hostal Arupo and boarded our bus for Mindo.

After a 2.5-hour drive through spectacular cloud forest, we finally
reached Mindo, where we met our two guides: Nikki and William. Our guides, who are both bird experts, will be with us for all of our hikes and activities while here and accepted our invitation to join us for dinner last night. After dinner and our brownie/ice cream dessert, we headed back to our hostal and had a quick powwow before lights out.

Today we began our morning with an hour walk to Mariposas de Mindo, a
small butterfly garden down the road from our hostal. After learning about the butterfly life-cycle, we entered into an enclosed garden housing over 30 species of native butterfly, including Morphos and Monarchs. The butterflies were quite friendly and more than a few of the students acted as rest stops for the lime green, orange and even translucent insects. Despite the cold water, the students embarked on a tubing expedition right after the butterfly garden. Tied together in groups of 5´s and 6´s, the tubes carried the students down the Mindo River for about 20 minutes, conveniently dropping them off near the entrance to our hostal.

With an
hour of free time before lunch, many of the kids participated in a game of volleyball, while others lounged around in the hammocks and admired the view. We ate lunch in town and then took part in some community service. Directed by Klever, an extremely friendly local resident, the students broke up in to two groups. The first group spent the afternoon cleaning up the town square by removing unwanted plants and trimming trees and bushes. After working for about an hour, the group was joined by local Mindeños who worked alongside the students. Meanwhile, the second group painted and repaired the jungle gym of the local pre-school with help from some of the school´s children.

Now we´re off for some well-deserved showers and dinner!

Alex, Jes, and Elie