After arriving in the San José, the volunteers were taken into the hills of Cartago province where they began training to ensure that they will be able to accomplish their goals during the projects.
During their induction the 70 volunteers were given training sessions on a variety of topics that will be useful during their time on the projects. These ranged from first aid and a practice trek to culture awareness and cultural sensitivity. This will be especially useful as our volunteers are made up of a diverse group from nine different countries around the world, and because our project villages – Uluk Kicha and Jak Tain – are remote indigenous communities where it will be especially important that volunteers are aware of local cultures and practices.
After their training the volunteers were then assigned to project groups. The groups then went through a team bonding session as well as a more detailed description of what they would all be working on and what they would need to prepare for going on their projects.
Our Youth Leadership Treks will be going along the Dragon and Turrisantos Trails and involve hiking for 19 days through 12 different climate zones. The Dragon Trail team will begin on the pacific coast and head inland up Dragon mountain and back down towards the coast. Meanwhile the Turrisantos trek will start near our field base in Turrialba and head West to finish in Cangreja National Park.
For our Natural Resource Management projects, we have two teams that will be working in separate national parks. The team heading to La Marta will be responsible for maintaining and repairing several of the nature trails through the national park. Meanwhile the Guayabo team will be building a bridge, restoring a fence around an archaeological site and improving access to the ranger station
Finally, our Community Resilience project for this phase will be going to the indigenous village of Uluk Kicha where they will be constructing a dining hall for the school that has been constructed as part of previous Raleigh expeditions. This will provide the students with a place to get meals that are provided by the Costa Rican government.
The next morning the groups set off for the project sites including two treks, two national parks and an indigenous community. We are looking forward to reporting on the work that the groups will be doing on their projects.
Written by Ross A. Photos by Michelle J.