Wednesday, April 29, 2009

ha⋅na⋅shi⋅ta [hah-nah-shee-tah]


1. the book used during a course for a group; it includes course information, such as Costa Rica, environment, and course rules; one person records the events of the day in this book, acting as a group journal: I need the hanashita to find the itinerary for our group meeting tonight.

2. the person who records the events of the day while on course; this person reads his/her entry at the end of the day during the group meeting: Will the hanashita please read the journal entry for the day?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Course Updates - April 28th

Tri-Country left its 72 hour solo Monday morning and began the final phase of its coast-to-coast hike. They then ran the Rio Pacuare from La Cruz to just before Siquirres and camped by the river last night. This morning they rafted to the Siquirres bridge where they switched out the rafts for inflatable kayaks (IKs). They are IK'ing from the bridge to another point to camp on the river, and then Thursday they will finally IK from that point to the beach. That night they will transfer to Puerto Viejo del Sarapiqui. Friday they will have a transition day in Sarapiqui, and Saturday morning they head out on their Nicaragua paddling expedition.

Leadership will be doing their Rescue 3 International Technical Ropes Rescue Operation Level training for the next four days. Yesterday morning they went to the indoor futbol 5 field in Tres Rios. Today to tomorrow they are at the climbing wall in Iztaru, and Thursday is their final exam. Friday they will have a transition day, and Saturday and Sunday they will be doing their lifeguard training at a pool in Tres Rios or San Jose.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Course Status as of April 24

Tri-Country starts its solo this afternoon. It takes place on a little mountain above the Pacuare River in La Cruz. They come out of the solo the morning of April 27th and run the Pacuare River.

Leadership is on the Pacuare River today and tomorrow as they end Part One of their raft guide course. Sunday morning they start the Rescue 3 International Technical Ropes Rescue Operations Level course.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dyeing My Clothes in the Wild

Okay, so appearance doesn’t really matter after your clothes have become caked in mud and covered grass stains, you have begun to smell like a moldy rag, your skin is a darker shade (from dirt, not sun), and your hair no longer resembles that of a human. But, let’s say, near the end of your trip, you would like to wear your permanently-stained clothes in public. This is what happened to me after a hike, and I told some friends that I wanted to dye my favorite sweatshirt. “Oh! Here! Take my indigo plant! If you really want to dye it, this will never come out,” was my friend’s response. I had no idea what she was talking about, and then she pulled an indigo plant out of her backpack after returning from a course. I held it in my hand, wondering how to properly use it before turning my skin the color of Violet Beauregarde’s in the “blueberry scene” of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

After a little research, I learned a few things:

-Natural indigo was the only source of dye until July 1897

-Indigo is the primary dye used in blue jeans

-Indigo is also used as a food coloring

-Indigo is hard to use because it is not soluble in water; to be dissolved, it must undergo a chemical change. When a submerged fabric is removed from the dyebath, the indigo quickly combines with oxygen in the air and reverts to its insoluble form

Therefore, to use it, follow these instructions

  1. Fill a pot with about 1 liter of urine – yes, urine - or water (with water, it’ll fade, but with urine it will create a more permanent dye)
  2. If you dare to use urine, cover the pot with a secure lid and let it ferment for 6 weeks in a warm place
  3. Cut up the leaves and berries into pieces (about 1/5 kg of it), and stir it into the pot
  4. Let it sit for 3-4 days (in either urine or water)
  5. Put cotton inside pot for a few days (the longer it sits, the deeper the color)

Bottom line: dyeing your clothes naturally can be a dangerous and smelly process. But it’s a great story.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Colorado Seniors Make a Difference in Central America

By: Shawn Pendergrass

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA April 7, 2009 – Ten feet and four inches—that’s the depth of the hole a group of 11 high school seniors from the Denver area dug over their spring break on the remote island of Solarte in Bocas del Toro, Panama, inhabited by the indigenous Guaymi people. The hole that was more than three times as deep as it was wide was excavated so that the school children would have an outhouse to use during the school day. The group of seniors took on several other projects in preparation for the first day of classes on April 6 such as painting the school, cleaning the classrooms, collecting school supplies and picking up trash in the community.

While one group was impacting a small community in Panama, another group of students was devoting efforts to environmental concerns in Costa Rica at a sea turtle conservation site on the Pacific Coast. Some of the efforts included beach patrols, planting trees, clearing nesting areas and constructing a dock.

The trip, however, was not all work and no play—while not building privies or saving sea turtles, these young world-changers enjoyed activities such as rafting, snorkeling and surfing, as well as interacting and making friends with the locals.

Reflecting on the course, high school senior Anthony Vanicek says, “The trip was marked by good people and good times, but more importantly by life lessons that cannot be learned in the classroom, leaving me with a greater sense of global citizenship.” Everyone returned home refreshed and energized, with a new perspective on the world and the beauty it holds.

The students who participated in the project represent fourteen high schools and are all part of Leader’s Challenge, a Colorado based non-profit organization that promotes leadership development among high school students through experiential education programs.

George Brown of Leader’s Challenge organized the trip through collaboration with the Costa Rica Outward Bound School, an organization that encourages character development, leadership, and self-discovery through challenge and adventure. Costa Rica Outward Bound has differentiated itself from other Outward Bound schools by offering a wide array of wilderness adventure courses that enhance cultural and global awareness throughout Central America.

For more information about Leader’s Challenge, contact George Brown at (303) 243-3105. For information about the Costa Rica Outward Bound School, contact Shawn Pendergrass at 1-800-676-2018.