Home Safe and Sound

Safe and sound home our families for the holidays.  The last night in Coach Amy’s room in our volcanoe wonderland we spoke about how this amazing experience changed us as players, as teammates, as coaches, and as people.  The most common theme was that we cannot let this experience end in Costa Rica.  We are committed to sharing our stories with our teammates, other teams at Wooster, and really anyone who will listen.  We have come much closer as a team, and realized service takes many forms.  I was so proud of the team for being open to the relationships formed and compassion shown in our service to Isabelle’s home for single mothers.  We all realize it’s much more comfortable for us to serve by getting sweaty, or dirty, doing some sort of manual labor…but walls built will crumble, volleyball lessons will be forgotten but it’s relationships and realizing that someone out there wants to understand that is these memories of service that will last a lifetime.  Along with the service at Isabelle’s women’s home, We were able to give a minister in Atenas a platform to speak to the young women we played agaist on making smart choices.  We participated in a youth clinic in San Jose, where we learned that simple conversations were some of the most important work we could do.  Everywhere we went we tried to represent our team, Wooster, and the US with pride and humility showing that our service was our greatest asset.

So please ask us about our trip.  Please let us share how each of us have been changed. 

I am so hopeful for the future of this team, and the future of all the Wooster volleyball players that are yet to come.  This trip reminded me of the reason I got into coaching.  It was that I figured out I as a single individual I could not solve all the world’s problems, but there are energetic, smart, hardworking,  amazing young women on collegiate volleyball teams.  To help them learn  lessons on the court and to channel all the things they’ve learned on the court for good off the court just might make some of those problems disappear.  It was a privilege to take all of you along, and look forward to our next adventure!

Woo VB- “Be the change you want to see”

Coach Davis

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Day 6: Traveling

Killing time in Kroger...

Killing time with the Kimmels in Kroger…

Today we traveled, and traveled, and traveled.

We awoke around 6 and walked up the hill to breakfast. The Lodge was very accommodating, allowing us to eat before breakfast was even served! But then the tables turned, and our luck ran out…

We were off to a bad start when the bus was one hour late to pick us up. Thankfully though, the bus did come (so it could have been worse). It turns out the fog was the reasoning for the tardiness. A very valid excuse, but it made us miss our past bus driver even more. However, we made it through the bumpy mountains, only stopping once for a bathroom break and for some galletas (Heidi was a fan of them).

When we got out of the mountains, we came to a halt on the highway, but eventually made it to the airport. We said our goodbyes to Melissa, Devin, and Heidi (because they stayed in Costa Rica). All of us got through security and we had a little bit of time to buy things in the airport. Then we realized we were getting checked again, which involved getting patted down and having our suitcases examined. Security probably almost fainted when they checked Maggie’s bag…quite smelly. However, we boarded the plane and were off to Atlanta (Lois’ hometown…which ended up being the key). In Atlanta things went smoothly–the only bad thing that happened was when Maggie lost her bug spray through security (she doesn’t seem to understand the 3 oz. rule). We said goodbye to Lois (or so we thought) and Sarah, and then it was time to eat. Banko, Maggie, and Kelley had yummy Black bean burgers, while Rach and Marlowe enjoyed chips and snickers (wait, what?).

The final countdown, time to board. We were all sitting on the plane when we heard the flight attendant tell us we were experiencing a 30 minute delay. Then they asked us to get back off the plane, and our spirits of returning home sank. Banko heard the news first from her father, Alan, that our flight was indeed canceled. Coach began making calls to get flight information for the next day as we waited in the “help center” line. The booking man opened up another line and helped us book flights for the next day (today). Although it is not until the night time, we were lucky that we were not pushed back to the 23rd or 24th like most. Knowing we were not returning home, who did we call? Lois!!! The  5 of us arranged to stay with Lois at her house, which in hindsight is quite comical considering she offered to have us stay when we first picked her up in Atlanta a week ago. So Lois and her dad came to pick us up, and we said goodnight to Coach, heading to a suburb of Atlanta…but first, we went to Kroger! Lois and her father were gracious in taking us to get food. It was very nice of them (see picture). With food in hand we headed to Lois’ house where we were greeted by her mom and sister! In the end, as upset as we were not getting to go home, we realized everything happens for a reason, and at least we got to spend time with Lois! Hip hip Hoorayyy!!! So today, we are going to go with Lois to the Atlanta aquarium :)

#WooVB almost home…still going strong…from Atlanta…with Lois…and her family!

 

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Day 5: Exploring Costa Rica

Our apologies for just now blogging about Thursday…but here it is:

On Thursday morning WooVB arose to the birds chirping at the Arenal Observatory Lodge. All of us wanted to explore as much of the volcanic area as possible, so we started out with breakfast, which was muy bien. This was followed by a “difficult” hike, and yes, it was difficult…and raining. We conquered the “Old Lava Trail” hike, and we returned quite sweaty! We weren’t discouraged by the rainy weather, so we continued to the “Waterfall” and “Dantes Hanging Bridge” trails. They were not as exerting, but rather breathtaking! After our multiple hikes, we got ready for our canyoning expedition. A bus picked us up, and we headed to La Fortuna to “Pure Trek Canyoning.” What a great cultural experience! Although the rain remained, we had the best time submerging ourselves into the wild: repelling down waterfalls with one another. The instructors were encouraging and fun, and our team really bonded through this activity. Everyone was grateful for this opportunity.

When we returned to Arenal Lodge, we relaxed by the hot tub with each other, and then enjoyed our last supper together. Many of the girls found their milkshakes to be superb! After dinner, we went back to our cabins and reflected about our experiences from the past couple of days. Then it was time to pack and sleep. WooVB leaving CR tomorrow and heading home…or so we thought…

#WooVB Pura Vida

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Day 4- Serving through our serve

This morning we had a quick run to the market and did some last minute shopping! Shortly after we departed with Edgardo and Erica to Los Guido to support and listen to the stories of single mothers.   We stopped to shop for the food supplies we donated to them.  We pushed the carts as Edgardo, Erika and Daniel quickly found 15 bags of rice, beans, oil, coffee & tua.  The basicis for these motheres.  The goal of the single mothers organization is to heal the self through physical and spiritual growth. Some of us had the opportunity to entertain their children while listening to their stories. We formed a strong bond with these women despite the language barrier and cultural differences. They also showed us the gym which is another ministry that Isabelle’s youngest daughter Debrorah is starting.  I was hallowed out house with little exercise equipment. It made us appreciate the workout facilities that are provided to us by Wooster after experiencing the conditions of their facilities.  Deborah believes these women in tough situations need a place to work out, to clear their minds and so has this women only gym open for a very small price.  It is the only workout facility of it’s kind in Los Guido neighborhood.  Tae Bo was the most popular class, and also Pillates. 
After our goodbyes we travelled 3 hours to the hot springs in La Fortuna. Talk about some hot water! It was beautiful and a great way to unwind after a long, bumpy, and winding drive. With our freshly renewed bodies we sang our way to the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Then it was off to bed for a restful night’s sleep in anticipation for our Costa Rican cultural exploration!

Buenos Noches,
Woo VB , expanding our horizons

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Day 3 – Check Plus

After enjoying the hotel breakfast (which, not to mention is delicioso), we started the day by going to the market where we developed bargaining skills in Spanish.

At the Britt Coffee tour we tasted authentic Costa Rican coffee,one of their biggest exports. We also enjoyed a fantastic buffet lunch which included soup, salad, main dishes and desserts. We were guided through the process of how coffee is made by two enthusastic and humorous tour guides who explained the cycle of coffee.

One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity to host a clinic for high school Costa Rican girls. We struggled with the language barrier but managed to connect to them through our shared love of volleyball. Afterwards we played two games against the San Jose Junior and Senior teams. Both games provided us with competitive play and an apprecation towards our resources in The United States. Building off of yesterday, we each improved individually, and as a collective unit.  The experience helped touch lives of the girls at the clinic, as well as broadened our perspective of volleyball and the world.

We are looking forward to serving at a women´s shelter and visiting a volcano tomorrow!

Hasta Luego,

Woo VB

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Day 2- Check

The view we all embraced after visiting the Irazú Volcano.

The view we all embraced after visiting the Irazú Volcano.

In the morning, we left San Jose to Cartago, where we visited Irazu volcano. We got some great pictures and touched on it’s history. The higher elevations are where the farming takes place because of the fertile soil as a result of the volcanic ash. We saw potatos, onions, carrots, and even ran into some cows on the road. Unlike in the city or Wooster, you allow ten minutes for traffic or Amish buggies, however, in Cartago, you allow ten minutes for cows crossing the road.

On the way to Atenas, we spotted a plethora of KFCs, even a statue of the great Colonel Sanders. When we finally arrived at the gym, which only had three walls, we met our competition and soon to be amigas. The lack of a fourth wall allowed for a great view of the mountains. We may not have been as successful as we would have liked, but we a learned a great deal from our Costa Rican opponents. At the end of the game, we handed them some Wooster gear, where we learned that two of the girls would be studying abroad in the United States.  Our match was organized with the help of a local youth pastor  Jeremy and offered an chance for him to continue his service with this particular school and supports them in their quest to make choices that will help them succeed.

Heading home from the games, we stopped for delicious Costa Rica pizza and reflected on the day in preparation for our matches tomorrow. It felt great to get back on the court again!! Even more exciting, Heidi arrived safely to the hotel after her flight tonight and we’re all ecstatic to have her here finally!

 

Buenos Noches,

Woo VB (stronger than ever)

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Day 1: Complete

Hey everyone!

We arrived safely in Costa Rica around 1PM to warm weather, clear skies, and sunshine! Customs went as smoothly as can be. However, when we departed for our hotel we encountered our first cultural difference, which was the transportation. When in Wooster students feel free to walk across the street as they please, whether a vehicle is in sight or not. Unlike Beall Ave., pedestrians do not have the right of way. Needless to say we learned how to cross the street, Costa Rica style.

Now on to the good stuff: FOOD! We went to Nuestra Tierra and ate a family style traditional Costa Rican feast. Fruit punch was taken to a whole different level with the fresh and delicious fruit concoction.

 

We went to our first market and had an introduction to haggling. More shopping to come!

 

Pura Vida,

Woo VB

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boarding time!

Hello everyone!

We all made it through security…well, Maggie’s peanut butter did not. However, we did get a picture with security and our “travel buddy” Tico the bear. Anyway, we are about to board…first stop atlanta!

-Kelley

 

 

 

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It’s finally here

We started dreaming about this many years ago and can’t really believe in a few short hours our international service trip to Costa Rica will be a reality.  I’ve heard from a few of the players today, hopefully not hearing from the rest means packing went smoothly. I made a last minute run to the grocery store for some snacks, wouldn’t be a volleyball trip without goodies along for the team.

Looking forward to the 3:30am wake up call and getting on that plane.  Thanks to all who supported our dream along the way, the players that graduated before it could become a reality.

Good Night,

Coach Davis

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