Exile To El Silencio

An eventful time has been had by all on the Costa Rica Leap this past couple of weeks, most notably the anxiously anticipated move from the Matapalo beach project to the great unknown of El Silencio (our community project phase) where we were due to live with a family each for 3 or 4 weeks!

Everyone was exceedingly nervous as we gathered by the El Silencio bus stop, much like evacuees, waiting for our families to pick us up. We were taken, one by one, away from our pack, our friends, from the life we knew! Kitty, the first to be led tentatively away, promptly dropped all her shoes, festooning the road with various flip flops and boots. Katie was soo whipped away before we could even decide when we would meet again and then I too was claimed by my new family. Despite a confusing day which involved getting several meals because we quite simply didn’t know what we were agreeing to (we all wish we knew more Spanish) we were reunited and are getting the hang of local Costa Rican lifestyle.

The real adjustment has been living without one another. Having been crammed into two rooms for three weeks the space, which we initially thought would be well received, was actually really daunting, resulting in everyone reuniting for group activities once again, such as 5 people in one room for a mere afternoon nap.

Our mornings have been taken up by a range of activities including working with monkeys and parrots down at the animal rescue centre, milking cows, helping at the chicken farm or, if your Sam and Miguel, watching pigs being murdered. Our afternoons are generally our time and we’ve tired our best not to waste it, finding several waterfalls in the area where everyone can chill out, Sam can build dams and Miguel can become his alter ego ‘crocidillo‘ once more.

For our first weekend we decided to return to Manuel Antonio to make use of its beaches and shopping! Despite a third of our group, including our new Swiss friend Madeleine, missing the bus from quepos we all rocked up more or less in one piece and roughly at the same time, Becca and Miguel taking a more scenic route down the mountain as they resented the bus fair. Although it wasn’t to remain so for in my enthusiasm to be back on top bunk in our big shared dorm (reunited again!) I sliced my thumb on the fan, on the plus at least it meant I slept close to the air con!

The evening was most eventful, we had a bonfire on the beach and were filmed dancing to ‘Gangnam Style‘ by a group of Costa Ricans on the opposite side of the road, Kitty and Gaby truly exceeding all expectations of dance genius, Kitty’s worm being the highlight of many a budding filmmakers evening.

The next day was absolutely beautiful and we headed to the beach to top up our tans or to hit up the shops. Everyone was so friendly and we ended up seeing Ashley and Lanie, a really enthusiastic pair of Canadians who joined the Matapalo team just as we were leaving. It being a small world we also met another group of volunteers from asvo while playing catch in the sea! But even then the weekend wasn’t over and yesterday we all went zip-lining in the morning, which was epic fun despite our guides missing finger from a zip mis-Hap. And then spent the afternoon on the Beach! This week brings more work and a visit back to our friends and Robert at Matapalo!


Meeting the monkey