This summer, a group of our students along with Miss Hunter spent four weeks in Costa Rica as part of Camps International project work.
Read more about the experience in the words of two of the students who were there, Willow Warneford and Joseph Brennan.
Four weeks, in four different camps. 5000 miles away from home.
In the summer of 2019, I, in a group of 8 St Benedict’s students, embarked on a Camps International expedition to Costa Rica. We joined forces with another school group of similar size from Cambridgeshire, to form Team Cenízaro.
Camp Caño Negro gave us our first taste of project work, in the form of building wooden beehives and tables for a plant nursery. This was carried out amongst other cultural activities such as a River Safari, and a football game against the village’s local team. From the wetlands of Caño Negro to a coastal region known as the Gulf of Papagayo; this is where many members of the team completed the relevant training to become certified Open Water Scuba and ‘Shark Aware’ divers.
The third camp was located in a dense rainforest containing 2.5% of global biodiversity: the Osa Peninsula. This camp was a hotspot for creatures, from monkeys to salamanders, and sleeping in hammocks was an unforgettable experience!
Camp Térraba was our final camp, where we were challenged with arduous yet enjoyable projects including ditch digging and bricklaying for a Special Needs and Disability Learning Centre. Térraba is an indigenous community, and the camp’s chefs and other workers all lived within the village. The expedition also involved various hostel stops between camps, with one in particular being in Monteverde, which probably produces the bananas you buy from UK supermarkets!
My favourite memories are seeing sharks, turtles and stingrays while scuba diving, following the jungle trails with the team, and early-morning walks to the beach or a waterfall.
I could not recommend a trip like this enough, if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone, and meet like-minded people from both the UK and elsewhere in the world.
The hardest work started two years ago when I had to find raise £4000 to go on the trip. I sacrificed all my birthday and Christmas presents so family would donate to my fund. I also helped in bingo, discos and sold my unwanted stuff at car boot sales and in auctions. I have to thank my mum and Miss Hunter as they helped me achieve my goal.
I absolutely loved my experience in Costa Rica. In the first week we built bee hives and and a plant nursery for the local community. We also played football with the local children and got to experience local wildlife. The second week was a learning experience where we trained in scuba diving and snorkelling. Some of us swam with turtles and sharks! The third week was the hardest week sleeping in hammocks and living knee deep in mud. In this camp we really were deep in the jungle, along with the animals and creatures. We made bird boxes and trekked mud paths to animal traps to record wild animal activity. The final week, which was my favourite week, we lived in a small indigenous village, we dug ditched to replace water pipes for the local village and build a SEND centre for locals with disabilities.
Over the month we enjoyed a lot of fun activities like swimming in rivers and the sea, working with different communities and cultures, meeting lots of new friends and seeing lots of animals, birds and insects in their natural habitat.
Going to Costa Rica was life changing, I have new lifelong friends and have experienced the most amazing things, I have learned independence and resilience, I have had the time of my life and the journey will stay with me forever. I would go back in a heartbeat! (Even if it does mean bucket showers and hand washing clothes again).
Lowlight- constant dirt