Saturday, 17 December 2011

The time has say goodbye

Wow fieldbase is quiet just now! Just the PMs and a few slightly lost looking venturers remain. Yes, ladies and gentlemen the awesome 10 weeks that was Expedition 11L has come to an end.

There were tears, laughter and heartfelt goodbyes this morning as the venturers boarded their buses to Nicaragua, the airport, and Puerto Viejo (the beach!). It has been an amazing experience for all concerned, lifelong friendships have been made, unforgettable experiences stored away, and blood sweat and tears put into every phase.

The venturers have been amazing putting their all into every challenge they face. Many have surprised themselves with what they’ve achieved, pushing themselves to their limits and beyond; be it tackling yet another steep climb on trek, digging the hundredth metre of trench on an environmental project or getting to know a Nicaraguan family when there is no common language.

Everyone on Expedition 11L can be extremely proud of their achievements both as individuals and as groups that have had a truly positive impact during their time here.

Our treks (Guanacaste, Turrisantos and Miratombo) have taken in some of the most stunning landscapes in Central America, in the South and North West of Costa Rica, and in Nicaragua. Trekking more than 270km over 19 days, the intrepid adventurers have met the challenge of pouring rain, blazing sunshine, steep climbs and long days on the road...and come out smiling.

Our environmental projects had an amazing impact across Costa Rica. In the stunning Cerro Chirripo national park, volunteers cleared over 1.5km of path, improving access for visitor. In La Cangreja, the groups dug over 300m of trenches in hard, rocky ground, and laid water pipes that will enable further improvement of facilities in the national park. Finally, in an ongoing and very valuable project at Playa Hermosa, volunteers gathered and saved thousands of turtle eggs as well as releasing hundreds of baby turtles into the sea.

We have run community projects in San Nicolás and Las Brisas in Achuapa and El Cebollal in Miraflor. In El Cebollal we built a youth centre, in 2 phases, that will provide young people in the community with somewhere to meet and will also help to grow eco-tourism in the area. In Achuapa, the volunteers built gravity waterfeed systems and wells that hugely improve access to clean water in those communities.

So it’s time to say goodbye folks. On a personal note, it’s been an amazing experience. From being lucky enough to go on the Guanacaste Trek with an amazing group of venturers in phase 1, to updating the blog, organising the magazine and getting to visit the groups in both Costa Rica and Nicragua. For each group I visited, I was always amazed at the enthusiasm on show, and how venturers and PMs coped with the challenging, unfamiliar circumstance they faced, A true inspiration to me for one, and, more importantly to each other.

Goodbye Expedition 11L and thanks for the memories.

Pura vida y Feliz navidad!

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