Camps International COSTA RICA

Expedition August 2018

A personal account from Georgia Ward, made possible in part by the support of the WRVS Benevolent Trust Youth Bursary


Georgia has been a volunteer with Royal Voluntary Service for the last 3 years, helping with various services in North Stattfordshire. She applied for a youth bursary with the WRVS Benevolent Trust as she wanted to help on a project in Costa Rica and experience a different way of living. Let’s dive into Georgia’s adventures.


As we had been travelling for so long, we were all shattered as no one could really sleep on the plane, we were all relived to find out that we were actually staying in a hostel that was only a 15 minute drive from the airport. So we all went out of the airport to discover we had a minibus where on a usual day they would of put our bags on the roof and tied them down but as it was so late, we all got on the bus and then the staff passed the bags through the door and we all passed them along the aisle and piled the bags in whatever free space there was available. When we got to the hostel we all unloaded the bags and then got off the bus to go and claim what was ours, we then got assigned rooms and I got assigned with Holly which was perfect as we didn’t have to attempt walking up the stairs with both of our bags. We then got given a chicken burger and chips with fresh pineapple juice and then we all went off to bed where we all surprisingly slept really well.  The next morning we ate breakfast, packed our stuff up, said goodbye and off we went again. We had a 5 hour bus journey to the next hostel, so as we weren’t used to the long bus journeys yet, we didn’t know how to entertain ourselves so we were playing Uno and card games on the fold down chairs that went in the aisle which was eventful as our bus driver, Marvin, drove fast and took a lot of sharp turns to avoid the potholes so our cards would be flying all over the bus which had us all in hysterics. Then the whole bus enjoyed some karaoke to Bayley’s playlist which by the end of the journey we actually enjoyed and actually knew the words to. We also had to have a stop at a “service station” as the other Georgia’s water bottle had leaked all over the floor and Dan and I had left our lunches on the floor which resulted in soggy sandwiches for us both! So Dan and I bought ourselves some rice and veg. When we got to the next Hotel we had gotten there too early so we weren’t allowed to check in just yet. So we left our bags with them and then went to explore the little town of Montverde.

After a while everyone met up again and we all went to collet our bags and go to our new rooms. I offered to go with Rachel as she was one of the 2 people who had joined us from Sheffield and she didn’t know anyone else, so I was going to try and get to know her better. We had a really nice room that even had towels folded into swans on them and there was a shower which I treated myself to 3 as I knew it was going to be a long time before I could have a proper shower again! We then put on our long trousers and long sleeved t-shirts and went out again to a tour about coffee beans and chocolate. It was all very interesting and we learnt about how some women would come over from Nicaragua in peak time as it was extra money for them to bring in. However it was hard work for them as they would pick each bean by hand and then get paid by the kilo. My favourite memory from this trip without a doubt was when we were getting shown the different types of coffee they produce and there was a member of staff in there roasting the coffee beans so that the skins were flying off and landing everywhere. Dan decided that he wanted to smell the coffee bean skin as he was curious he held it to his nose went to smell in and he inhaled it! I just watched it fly up his nose it was the funniest thing ever! After everyone had bought what they wanted from the gift shop we got picked up in a yellow school bus to go on a night hike. We were hoping to potentially see any interesting wildlife. We went out in the dark for a 2 hour walk and we weren’t allowed to use any form of lights in case we disturbed or scared any of the animals, so we were all sliding all over the place as it raining and it was muddy, which made it all the more fun. We didn’t see anything that was all that interesting, though we saw a lot of stick insects, two frogs that were mating and apparently would stay in that position for up to two weeks, a mother tarantula and finally we saw a scorpion which I didn’t notice at first so I nearly trod on it! However with the scorpion the tour guide shone a UV light onto it and the scorpion looked like a glow stick, which we all found amazing but it actually only works on some scorpions due to their DNA.

After the night walk we then got on the yellow school bus and went to a restaurant which was around the corner from our hostel and we all got the same which was a pasta with some sort of sauce with ham in it which was interesting. After that we walked around to the hostel and we all packed up our bags ready to leave again in the morning to go to our first proper camp!


Camp 1- Camp Terraba:

Camp Terraba was by far my favourite camp out of them all! It was just such an amazing place, the staff were all very friendly and the project leaders at the camp were so much fun to be around, and then the community in which the camp was located was so nice as well. It was the type of community where everyone knew everyone and everyone was basically treated as family.

The camp itself used to be a school, so it was a small building length wise and width wise. There were 3 main corridors and then all of the classrooms had been changed into bedrooms and they had bunkbeds within them. Our team had one corridor to ourselves as there was another camp that were already there called Team Tuma, who were originally behind us on our journey to the camp but had over taken us when one of our tyres blew out! So by the time we got there they’d already unpacked and had got hold of the hammocks!

I was sharing a room with all the girls that I had made friends with on the bus journey which was so much fun as we were always laughing. But after we had left our bags in the room and called dibs on which bed we wanted we had to go back outside for a tour of the camp. The tour was led by both Alex and Juan, they showed us where we would be eating and showed us how to get our plate and cutlery, there was actually a 3 bowl washing up system used before and after eating. So before we ate we had to put our plate and cutlery into chlorine, soap and then water and then when we had finished it was soap, chlorine and then water. We also got washed where the showers were, well where the buckets were and where the room to use the buckets for the showers were.

At this camp we would go and do project work in the morning and then come back for lunch and then have a free hour to do clothes washing or just relax before we would go and do some form of activity. So whilst we were there the project work I did was I helped make a door for the community kitchen that we were building on the football field about a 10 minute walk away from our camp. So I paired up with Lauren and we did some sawing for the frame of the door that we would later attempt to hammer together until I hit Tom’s hand with it and still feel bad for that now, so I just held the wood together to keep it all in line. I also did a lot of cement mixing, this seemed easy enough but it was so difficult to get it just right as you couldn’t have it too runny otherwise it wouldn’t stay and wouldn’t set, but you couldn’t have it too thick as it would set to quickly and then crumble away. I also did some brick laying on the community toilet block we were building as the other groups before us had started it, so our group was trying to finish it as much as we could as we were one of the last groups going to that camp this Summer, so we wanted to leave the community with as little as possible to do.

The activities we did during our time at Terraba were also really good. One afternoon where we did like a mini sports day with the other group and we did games that Juan said he played back at home with his children in Nicaragua, so these were really fun to learn about and to also get to know some new people. We were also meant to do a relay which Alex and Juan had laid out bricks to show the track but then we got hit by a storm and we couldn’t do it as we had to stay in the shelter. The storm was getting closer and closer, so we had to make our way back to camp. Another day we had 3 “lessons”: a Spanish lesson, a lesson on Costa Rica and a lesson on Nicaragua. In the talk on Costa Rica we were all sat outside with Alex as he’s actually from Costa Rica so he was telling us all about it and how much he loved it there. He also told us some fun facts about Costa Rica such as they don’t have any addresses they actually have directions to their houses. So for example it could be 5 meters straight, 2 metres right, 6 metres right and the 3rdhouse after the bridge on the right. We then had a talk about Nicaragua with Juan and he told us about everything that’s going on in Nicaragua with the government, shootings, businesses and hotels shutting down, protests in the streets and how at the moment it’s really up and down but it’s really not safe. He was originally meant to be working at one of the camps In Nicaragua but because of everything that was happening over there he couldn’t get another job so he got one at a camp in Costa Rica, which unfortunately meant that he had to leave his wife and 2 children at home whilst he earned some money to support them. He then told us about how when he’s finished with the camp for the summer he’s going to apply for a job in a call centre as he speaks such good English he’s got high hopes that he’ll be able to get the job, I really hope he does well. Then finally we had a Spanish lesson in the canteen area. I have to say that personally this was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do as me and languages don’t get on very well, due to my hearing, so I didn’t really learn much Spanish except I now know how to introduce myself.

As we had such a good time at this camp we wanted to do something that the staff would remember so we did a “talent show”. We set out all of the chairs under the gazebo outside and did name tags for all the staff and we had 3 acts. The first act was an ABBA tribute band as one of leaders Alex loved both ABBA and Eurovision so we combined them both and they did ‘Waterloo’ which got a standing ovation. Next up was a girl who did a ballet routine to Carly Rae Jepson and finally all of the boys and Lily put on their sunglasses and bucket hats and with a hand over their heart they sang Country Roads which had been our 7am anthem every morning at this camp. When it had finished all of the staff stood up and applauded for ages and then they all did a little speech which had to be translated and they all said how we were their favourite group as we had actually gone with wanting to help out and we had interacted with the staff, so they all said that they would never forget us and we were all a part of their family now and we would forever be in their hearts. This caused a lot of tears and it also made it very difficult to leave the next day.

This camp was my favourite just due to the community. Everyone knew everyone and we saw almost everyone and they all said hello to us and waved at us when we were on the project site. It was also an amazing experience due to the fact that the staff sat down with us during our down time and we taught them how to play games such as UNO as they’d never heard of it, so it was soon a well-loved and a well-played game in the camp. The staff were always there to give us a hug when we had our downs when we were home sick and there to give us a high five when we’d completed something on the project. It was also fun that they taught us games that they would play from where they were from and what they did as they were growing up. The staff also put in a lot of effort on the groups last night at the camp; they made a bonfire and we all sat around it and it turns out they could play the guitar and sing, so they sung us some of their favourite Spanish songs which was really fun and they also played Wonder Wall for us and they attempted to do Country Roads which didn’t really work out but it was all good fun never the less.

Camp Paccar

This camp was the most difficult camp out of them all by far and that was with just trying to get there! It took us 5 hours in the mini bus, a 40 minute boat ride and then a 15 minute trek through the jungle with all of our heavy bags which was an experience and very difficult. Once we got there we found out that we were actually on the beach which was an amazing surprise, we got shown around and then the boys went off to decide who was in what room and the girls got assigned which rooms we were allowed to go into. Once we had put down our bags and called dibs on the beds we got told that we had to go to the beach so we all made our way over to see that they were releasing turtle hatchlings into the sea which was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and the turtles were just so small it was incredible. We then had to go to the little canteen area where we getting given the briefing. We were to have breakfast at 7am, start project work at 8am-12pm which we would then have lunch and then project work from 1pm-5pm. We then had the rest of the evening to do what we wanted so a lot of us were either reading in the hammocks on the beach or playing card games in the canteen. We also got told that during the time that we would be there, we would be on a rota to be doing night walks in the hope of seeing an adult turtle, these were taking place from 8pm-11pm or 11pm-1am.

On the first day we all got ready and were waiting in the canteen for the staff to tell us what was going to be the project we would be doing. We all assumed that we would have been doing something that helped out with the turtle conservation which was the only reason we were at that camp. Instead we got told we would be filling sandbags and moving them with either a broken wheelbarrow or an Ox cart minus the Ox! We got told that we had to take them on the pathway that we used to get onto the little island, we didn’t understand what this had to do with helping out the turtles and when we asked the staff what the connection was with the turtles, they couldn’t give us an answer. So we all just cracked on with it as it was the task we were given and we were there to help so that’s what we did. It was very hard work and the staff didn’t give us much guidance or help in any way, so we were all a little bit lost but we all came up with a plan to try and get it over and done with as quickly and efficiently as possible. As we were working such long hours under the hot sun and lugging heavy wheelbarrows and not having a lot of nutritional food, just mainly rice and beans 3 times a day. A lot people soon fell ill, one girl collapsed due to exhaustion and had to be put on bed rest for the rest of the time at that camp, then about 5 of us were becoming sick including myself and we all figured out that the people that were being sick were the ones that were drinking the most water. It turns out that even though we got told we were drinking filtered water, what they meant by that was they were “filtering” the water through a dirty dish cloth, ew!!

We also had a talk about turtles in general and we learnt some really upsetting things that could be easily prevented but people don’t see the damage or hear about the damage that simple everyday things can have on the sea life. For example I found out that only 1 in every 1000 turtles survive, which means that 999 turtles are dying for no reason, the deaths of all these turtles could be prevented so easily. All these turtles are dying due to the human populations actions such as fishing nets, the turtles are getting caught up in the nets and are getting their necks trapped within the gaps and then twisting their heads to try and break free but are only tightening the ropes so It eventually kills them by strangulation. Another factor is plastic bags, too many people are littering plastic bags so the turtles think they’re jellyfish, go to eat them and then it clogs up their airways and they can no longer breath, as well as plastic straws. Plastic straws are getting thrown into the sea which get trapped in their noses and can stop them from breathing as well. I think that’s the one that shocked me most as plastic straws in some people’s case are an everyday item but when you think about it, you really don’t need them. They’re only used for an extremely short period of time, a moments convenience but that one straw could kill a turtle or any of the sea life, it’s really not worth it when you can just take off the plastic lid and drink it out of the cup like you would anywhere else.

However, we did have some funny moments whilst at this camp such as when we had a massive spider in our room and we had to call the boys in to take it out for us as it was so big none of us wanted to deal with it. They came with a little glass and we said that wouldn’t work and they didn’t believe us but when they saw it they went out and came back in with a coconut shell and had to catch it in that which it only just about fitted in. There was a time where all the showers had some form of creature in it so your option was to either shower with a toad or a tarantula, I chose to shower with the tarantula which wasn’t too bad as it didn’t move but half way through because the walls didn’t reach the floor, they had about a foot from the ground the toad ended up joining me as well so it was a full house! I also managed to spot a baby sloth which was in the tree my hammock was tied to and I couldn’t believe how small it was and how fluffy it was. It was so amazing we were all taking pictures of him and he turned his face to us as we were taking them so we got some where he was looking directly into the camera! Later on we actually found out that there’s two different types of sloth and one of them happens to be the rarest in the world and that just so happens to be the one that I spotted so I was feeling really happy that I looked up when I did, it was so incredible. On the second day there, I couldn’t get any sleep because we didn’t have any mosquito nets and the ones they provided us with were used as windows which took up an entire wall and had holes in it so not only did it feel like we were getting watched whilst sleeping, we were also getting bitten to death by the mosquitos. So I got out of bed at about 5am and went to sit on the hammock and another girl had gotten up as well as saw me so she came up with a hot chocolate that she said she thought I’d like and we watched the sun rise on the beach which was absolutely amazing. The sky was turning pink then purple then orange and it was just so mesmerising and therapeutic it was just so incredible, there are no words to describe how good it was.

So to round it off this camp wasn’t the best camp ever due to the work load not really making any form of connection to the turtle conservation but also the work hours were too long and to then have to stay up all night doing a night walk, it wasn’t the best thing ever. Also having rice and beans 3 times a day has ensured the fact that I will not be eating rice again for at least 5 years as I think I’ve had more than enough to keep me going for a while. Also this camp didn’t feel too welcoming or safe due to the mosquito net windows, doors that didn’t close and the lack of communication with the staff, but if anything it brought the team together loads. This was the camp where I truly became friends with everyone and could have a laugh with anyone and that was a nice feeling. But I have to say the best part about this camp was definitely when we got to leave it!

Camp Guanacaste:

This camp was in a very remote area and was by far the nicest camp! We also had an amazing surprise, Juan from Camp Terraba had moved to this camp, so as we were getting off the bus he was giving everyone a high five and telling us how much the camp missed us and it was really nice to have a familiar face. This camp was like a luxury camp we had working doors on the bedrooms, a mosquito net in every bed, washing lines with roofs over them so our washing would no longer be wet, a proper bath room with a nice shower and a shower curtain and the most exciting thing out of it all was the fact that we had lightbulbs! We had lightbulbs in the bedrooms which when we found this out all of my new roommates for the camp were holding hands in a circle jumping up and down and screaming with happiness!

We then had a briefing with the new team leaders who told us what we were going to be doing over the 3 days that we were there, we would be spending two days building bee hives and then on the last day we were going to spend the morning at the local school. They also wrote a menu on the whiteboards which we all thought was very fancy and we were all ecstatic when we saw that our first meal was going to be spaghetti Bolognese and garlic bread, no rice!

On the first day of project work we got told that we would need to nominate ourselves or other people for specific roles which involved us wearing a bandanna there was the team leader, safety person, health person and motivation person. I nominated myself for the safety person so that meant that I had to keep having a go at the people who were sawing without their gloves on or were sawing too close to their hands. I really enjoyed it and we only had one accident but it was minor so I was impressed with the fact that I’d managed to ensure that nobody had lost any fingers!    

For the actual project work I paired up with Emma as we thought we’d be a good pair together as we like to work with a plan and have a system. However, this plan soon went out of the window when we went to collect our wood, it was really damp which was obviously going to be a challenge but we took it lightly and thought that we’d be able to get through it so we kept out optimism going. We managed to come up with a plan where we would rotate so one of us would be sitting on the plank of wood whilst the other sawed and then we’d switch whenever the other persons arm ached. This was working well however we weren’t getting very far with it so we had a bit of help from the other team members who had managed to finish theirs early. In the end it took me and Emma the full two days to do it but on the second day we realised that Emma was the better one at sawing and I was better with the hammer so we took on new roles so Emma and a couple of other people would be sawing and then I’d connect all the pieces together. It came out really good in the end and Emma and I were that proud of it we stood holding it and asking to have a photo with our beehive.

On the final day in the morning we went to the school around the corner from the camp and we were there for 8:30am which was their first break of the day so we went to play football with them. The children were so good at football they were absolutely crushing all of us, the girls were especially good at it they all had a specific place where they wanted to be and they were all amazing footballers for such a young age, it was just incredible to watch and join in with. After we were done playing football we went back into the school which was an old church and there was not really much space and there were no separate rooms or anything It was one open room with a play corner for the younger ones, a bench for the older ones and then little table and chairs for the children that we were helping. We then got split into two groups where one group went off with some of the older children to teach them some English and then there was the group I was in and we were with 6-7year olds and we had to help them with their English. Holly and I got paired together and we were helping a girl who was very quiet but she was really good at her English. They were learning about house hold objects and so we had to give them a sentence from a sheet of pictures they had such as “the lamp is next to the bed”, and they’d have to repeat it and write it down and then point to the lamp and the table. They were all very good at it and they all gave it their best shot.

After all of the children had read their sentences out to the group the teacher told us that the children would like to teach us a traditional Costa Rican dance, so the teacher got the music up on YouTube and the children were in a line and we were in another line facing them so that we could mimic them. It was so much fun to see how much they enjoyed doing it and it was also fun to watch our attempts as no one our side had any sense of rhythm, but we all still gave it our all and we got a round of applause for it so we can’t have done too badly. The teacher then asked us if we wanted to teach the children a traditional English dance, which of course we don’t have and it was so embarrassing that we didn’t have anything that made us British. So we all put our heads together and I went and put on what we all agreed on. The Macarena. Which the children obviously knew so we were all doing the Macarena with them which was fun, especially the younger children who just kept on spinning round and doing a different dance all together. We then thought we’d try another one, one that they hopefully didn’t know so we put on the cha cha slide which thankfully only a couple of them knew so we at least got to teach them something new.

When we went back to the camp, Team Coco had arrived so we let them settle in and then Juan was asking for volunteers and picked me to do some sports activity he planned. In the end we had 5 people from our group and 5 people from Team Coco and the best way to describe what the game was is it’s cricket but with your feet. It was really fun as we were in an area where it has heavy downpours A LOT. So the grass was still wet and there was slippery mud everywhere and I was playing this game barefoot so it was a bit like cricket with your feet meets ice skating. Our group unfortunately lost but only by one point which we lost thanks to Juan as he let the ball go. As it was our final night Juan had arranged for a little bonfire again so we all sat around just talking, laughing and singing and it was a really nice end to that camp.

Camp Papayguo:

So this was our final camp and we were just off a main road in little tents which was across the road from the beach, so, so far so good. Also Juan’s brother Romero worked at this camp and he was just like Juan and he was very helpful to me as I was constantly breaking the zip on the tent so he had to come and fix It every night and day and then to add to list of good things the camp actually had a dog called Lola. She was the sweetest dog ever she’s actually known as the miracle dog there as she kept going to the camp before they adopted her and she then got hit by a car and she went into the forest behind the camp and managed to nearly fully recover by herself. So she then went back to the camp where they sorted her out and then officially adopted her. The best thing about her was you’d wake up in the morning and she would have been sleeping outside your tent so when we’d open up the zip to the tent she’d come pouncing in and come lie on us and just cuddle.

This camp was the scuba diving camp so the first couple of days were the theory days which I unfortunately didn’t do as I wasn’t allowed to do scuba diving, due to my hearing. So whilst the others were doing this, the 3 that weren’t allowed to Scuba went and did a mixture of reading on the beach and going for a swim in the sea. I had a massive irrational fear of putting my feet down on the floor because I didn’t want to stand on a sea urchin. There was a girl from one of the other groups who had stood on a sea urchin and her foot had gotten badly infected so she had to go to the hospital and I really didn’t want that. So I only put my feet on the ground twice and the 1sttime a crap attached itself to my little toe which I was not happy with! The second time I stood on a clam shell and got a lot of sand in my foot so it hurt to walk and we had to keep cleaning my foot out with a needle. After those two events I just hung on to people and let them carry me around! But as soon as everyone had done their theory and their little bits of training and practise we were allowed to actually go out on the boat. So all of us non divers would wait until the divers had gone under water and then the driver of the boat pulled out some watermelons and pineapples out of this little fridge and chopped it up with a machete and then passed it up to us on the top deck, we all felt like Greek goddesses. When we could no longer see them and then jump in and do some snorkelling. It was amazing, I saw loads of sea urchins which terrified me, I also saw some clown fish and some eels. It wasn’t much but it made me feel better having seen something and the water was crystal clear so I could watch everyone else as they were swimming underneath me. I also took a First Aid course at this time and passed! The people that went diving got face to face with sharks, turtles and even more incredible stuff! When the divers came back up for a break we got told we could jump off the boat, this is one of my biggest fears, jumping into the sea. But I did it…multiple times! I’m really glad I did it because it was so much fun and it was once in a life time opportunity to jump of a fancy boat in Costa Rican seas.

After the few days of the scuba diving course was over we had a talk about sharks and we learnt so much about them. Like sharks have such a bad reputation about them and they aren’t actually what everyone says they are. Some of them don’t bite you, they’ll only bite you if you stick your hand in their mouth and wiggle it around. You can easily get face-to-face with them and they’re completely unbothered by it. But also some breeds are actually becoming extinct which is really upsetting and really surprising. But what happens is fishermen throw their net into the sea and they might be doing it for fish or sharks, but when they are catching sharks they’re cutting off their fins and then throwing them back in. Well firstly what are they going to gain from a fin? But also there’s no point in them throwing them back into the sea when they’ve finished because it’ll die from one of two reasons. The first one being the obvious one, they bleed out and the second reason is like when scuba diving you, have to come up slowly otherwise your lungs will expand and once they’ve expanded there’s no reversing it, you will die because you’re airways are now blocked. Which happens to these sharks, they get pulled up so fast that their lungs expand so by the time they’ve cut off the fin and “released” it again, it’ll be dead.
Then we started the project work and here was when we were making artificial coral reefs. These coral reefs will last for at least 100 years and they’ll hopefully encourage the coral to grow on them. As over time due to the amount of bleach that’s going into the sea it’s stripping all of the coral of its natural colour. So to make these artificial reefs we had to make some cement, building the frames out of wood which the other groups had already done but the ones that were broken we had a table where people were making them into new ones. So we filled the frames with cement and then put little frames or balloons inside of it to give it a bit of texture and to be able to punch a hole through it for the fish to swim in it. We also had to move the ones that the other groups had made which were very heavy and it took us around 7 people just to move one of the reefs. However, Fernando the cleaner had a speaker and good music taste so we were all having fun with the music on in the background and all the staff getting involved and helping and singing with us. It never felt like work when we were there just because we were all having fun doing what we were doing. In the end we made just under 90 reefs in 2 days which we were really proud of ourselves with.

We had a massive water fight one day as we were filling up water balloons and someone decided to start throwing them, and then buckets were being thrown and then the hose was being used and then water bottles were coming out of the fridge and getting tipped all over us and before we all knew it we were all drenched! Apart from Fernando and Romero, so I manged to burst some balloons over Fernando and he gave me a high five as I was the only one who managed to get him. Then Romero got picked up by everyone and we took his shoes off first but then dunked him in the tub of water and sprayed him with the hose. Then he came running after me with the freezing cold water bottles and tipped two over me! It was the coldest thing I’ve ever felt.

Lauren and I had also seen a family of howler monkeys above the trees of my tent so we stayed to watch them, there were around 8 of them and they were literally just above our heads. I went and got Romero and he was telling me about how he wishes he lived in Costa Rica as he enjoyed the monkeys and the animals so much as he doesn’t get anything exciting in Nicaragua. The monkey also turned around and did a wee and I managed to step out of the way, Romero however wasn’t as lucky as I was!

At this camp we had a show, karaoke and a bonfire. We had a show of Fernando and one of his friends who both liked to sing and rap and it was very entertaining and he told us how he hadn’t performed for any other groups he only performed for our group because we were special, and so he wanted to give us something that the other groups hadn’t had. Which I thought was nice and the little concert lasted a couple of hours and we were all dancing along. Romero had planned a karaoke night as well as he loved Karaoke and wanted to share with us so he was using a whisk as a microphone and on our request he was singing ‘Despacito’. Then on the last night again we had a bonfire and this time Romero was playing the guitar and he had the lyrics up for wonder wall as Juan had told him that’s the song we liked, so he was trying to preform it to us and the amount of effort they put into was really sweet. It was then time to begin the long journey home, which I found really emotional, partly wanting to go home, partly wanting to stay.

I had a truly life changing trip, we all agreed that it made us appreciate what we have more and see things from a different perspective.

My parents say that I seem more mature since returning home and I certainly feel more confident interacting with people I don’t know and making new friends.

I can’t thank the WRVS Benevolent Trust enough for my Youth Bursary, it allowed me to make the most magical trip!

Georgia xx