My World Challenge Expedition

This summer, I went on expedition to Costa Rica and Nicaragua with the company World Challenge. My experience was absolutely life changing, and safe to say one i will never ever forget.
Sixteenth of July 2017, immediately, we were thrown into the deep end, having to change money and organise taxis and accommodation without the help of our leaders (which in a new country that speaks little English is quite intimidating!) I was shocked at the amount of responsibility and trust given to us, our leaders never had a back up plan in place if we messed up, we were expected to learn how to do it by ourselves.
For the first week, we had our project phase at San Rafael school in Santa Maria de Dota, Costa Rica. We were involved in building a gym, our work involving shovelling soil and rocks in order to lay the foundations, and transporting this via wheelbarrow to be dumped. This was physically very challenging, made harder by the forty degree heat. This required massive amounts of teamwork and self-determination. For the next week we all ached, but we were so proud to have worked that hard that we didn’t mind! On the 25th of July it’s a public holiday in Costa Rica, known as Guanacaste Day. The school asked us to run a sports day for the kids which was just fantastic and so rewarding. In Costa Rica, the phrase ‘Pura Vida’ meaning ‘pure life’ is used by everyone, but this is seen as more than just a phase, but a way of life. It reminds them that life is pure and good, and that there is always reason to be happy. These children were of no exception to this. Their constant smiles, laughter and enthusiasm shone through, despite their obvious poverty and limited education. I became especially close with a little girl called Diana who, despite the language barrier between us managed to communicate so much to me about herself and eagerly played with me every single day. A member of staff at the school invited us to the local festival where minutes in we found ourselves dancing with the locals. We also went to his local Zumba class and found by the end of the week our connection to the school and the small town’s community was unbelievable. We would be honked and waved at everywhere we went, and even asked for pictures! It was so sad to leave but we were all so proud of ourselves to have made such a difference and to have built such strong relationships with people who live halfway across the world.
The next phase of our expedition was our main trekking phase. We chose the Osa Peninsula, a beautiful jungle which contains 95% of the world’s biodiversity. The trek lasted for five days and at times was extremely difficult, however there was always a hand in front of you helping you up or an encouraging, positive voice behind you, which is what got us all through it. This experience just proved to me how teamwork and positive attitudes really can get you through any challenge. At the campsites we were lucky if we got a shower or a toilet which was character building!
Throughout the expedition, we all took turns at being the leader for a few days which allowed me the opportunity to make difficult decisions that affect a big group and how to face the consequences of these.
Overall, this experience really was life changing and I feel greater prepared me for the many challenges ahead.

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