Our trip was coming to a close as we made one last drive along the beautiful cliffs of Costa Rica and stopped at the school to pick up the students for some more data collection. We adventured into the humid mountains where we started by interviewing a local cheese maker, a relative of one of the students who lived in the area. The cheese maker had been there a long time and took over after the original owner left when no one would buy it because: “the locals thought it would taste as disgusting as it smelled”. However, this did not stop the new local owner from convincing those around him to give it a try. 

Soon after, our group made our way down to Casa Alegria, the butterfly dome. Here we interviewed another local who oversaw the sanctuary, we were surrounded by various colorful butterflies. Walking around, we took photos using Willy’s camera, posing like models with our new little flying friends.

Today we also visited many of the student’s friends and relatives that lived up in the area. We enjoyed some nice snacks and freshly made lemonade from Willy’s family after a hot day of surveying. Making a nice end to our long day. Soon after, we met up with Todd and Erik for lunch at a local hotel that used rainwater as their water system. We also had a great Costa Rican lunch that consisted of fish, rice, and plantains. Willy and I then sang songs as he played his ukulele all the way back to the school, ending with a dance party in their common area. We played music from both Costa Rica and the United States, where I learned their favorite song from the U.S. is “The One that got away” by Katy Perry. Out of all the things we did, this was the highlight of the trip for me, making for an awesome end to an amazing week.

I am happy to have had the opportunity to make new friends and make great memories in this beautiful country. I hope that the work we did together helps these students and residents bring balance to their communities.

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