Central America Costa Rica Volunteering Abroad

First Week Volunteering Completed- Ostional, Costa Rica

homestay-house-ostional

I literally just want to chop my feet off- I think it would be less pain. Though, at the station Wade hooks me up with some tape and I suss out some antiseptic cream. At ten o’clock is a discussion lead by volunteer Jacqui in the Cabana. Here in Ostional the locals harvest the turtle eggs for consumption claiming it is a sustainable practice. Though, this theory is based on twenty year old research. Since then the turtle population has been seriously diminishing, all whilst the turtle egg consumption has been rising. Everyone in our volunteering group has fairly similar opinions, being like minded people conscious of the environment.

learning-volunteer-ostional

I was meant to have a hatchery shift today. Though, due to the state of my feet I stayed back at the station and recovered. The afternoon was spent laying around eating ice cream and dreaming about the luxuries of home, such as chai lattes. This got me thinking about tomato sauce so I rushed down to the local corner store and grabbed a bottle of ‘sala de tomatoee’ and a bag of corn chips. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
cemetery-ostional

That evening I had another hatchery shift with my roommate Yan. I slowly hobbled there with my feet taped up trying to avoid getting more sand in my blisters. Thirty minutes into the shift we had black turtle babies fifty six to be exact, extremely cute. They were released at midnight under the bright moon. It is official; I am a professional turtle whisperer. They always seem to hatch on my shifts.

The next day. . .

It has definitely become a norm for me to wake to roosters and dogs yapping away or my host mother singing outside our door. A breakfast of pancakes is served. After the previous discussions on the turtle egg consumption and learning our host mother is one of the main organisers, we can’t help but wonder if our breakfast contains turtle eggs. I seriously can’t wait until I am back in NZ and don’t have to worry about that. In an attempt to charge my phone I discover the power has gone off. Got to love thirty eight degree weather with no fan.

There always seems to be a cooler breeze at the station so I head there and meet up with the rest of the group. With no internet and no power we are left to entertain ourselves with numerous card games. Lunch at home was a big meal of plantains, rice and zucchini. Unfortunately, I found out the this is the last of the plantains #heartbroken. Supposingly we had gone through about 25 plantains each over the past week.

walking-to-station-ostional

Craving ice cream but the local corner store being closed I head back to the station to roast in the heat. It was definitely time for a swim. The water is so incredibly salty and wavy, especially after regularly swimming in a lake from back home in New Zealand. Due to the massive blister holes in my feet I decide it is appropriate to swim with two pairs of socks on to avoid getting sand in my wounds, which surprisingly worked.

ostional-village

cooking-ostional-local-kidsBack at the station I am greeted by lobster looking friends, all sun burned to the nines, as well as power and internet. Everyone was busy checking social media after suffering serious withdrawals. It seems like an appropriate time to work on my blog. Though, not complete I put a small dent into the amount of work left.

football-ostional

I head back to my second home, the station, later that night. Though, with the moon covering the clouds it becomes an exciting game of don’t trip on a rock, and praying I don’t run into my first snake. After a slow walk I eventually reach the station greeted by some of the group. We chill around for a bit until a loud noise captures our attention. A giant cricket literally the size of my hand starts flying around. People immediately freak out. Wade being a good person attempts to capture the intruder, only to have it fly into his face.

I am travelling through Costa Rica with a volunteer program called International Student Volunteers or ISV. For the next two weeks I will be calling Playa Ostional home while participating in conservation work to help protect the leatherback and black turtles.