Thursday, July 14, 2016

Day 10

Day 10

After an evening turtle watching trip, we rose with the sun at 5 a.m. after four hours of sleep. The idea was to find more animals by waking up especially early. We departed on a hike through the dry forest with our guide, Freddy. We were completely exhausted and stumbled through the vegetation. We saw dangerous fuzzy caterpillars that Freddy was able to spot. He showed us leaves that were like sandpaper and vines that had sharp claws on them. He showed us the great big Guanacaste trees and told us that the Mayans believed that four of them held up the sky. We didn’t see any animals but we could clearly smell the urine of a jaguar marking its territory. After about two hours of hiking we arrived at a dried up waterfall where we ate a light breakfast of fruit and sandwiches and explored the area. We were able to walk around it and climb up the face of the emptied waterfall, where we got to see an iguana up close. After lunch we returned in the back of a tractor to the Horizontes research station where we were staying, seeing a family of deer along the way. We had an extended break until lunch and passed the time by talking and playing cards. We ate a lunch of chicken, rice, and beans then after another wait we left for Cabuyal beach.
At around 2 PM, we arrived at the beach. Everyone was eager to charge into the water, as it was warm and clear. The waves were perfect for bodyboarding, and that’s just what we did. The water temperature was perfect, and we had an amazing view of cliffs and mountains on either side. After a while, the waves began breaking too close to shore and we began to split up. Some of the group stayed near the camp while others traveled towards a small island covered in large, smooth rocks. Near it lay some shallow water that we had a lot of fun relaxing in. The beach was a great place to catch crabs, and we were able to collect quite a few! We probably enjoyed it more than the crabs did… As the group began to reconvene near the camp, we agreed to start up a game of beach soccer, as Nathan had brought a soccer ball with him. We divided into teams and played for a while, but ended up taking a break. We started playing again and continued playing until everyone was too tired to continue, and we relaxed in the water afterward. Soon enough, the call for everyone to leave the water came, but it wasn’t time to leave yet—dinner was ready! We had an amazing barbeque with chicken, sausage, and beef. Many varieties of soda were also provided. In addition, chips and salsa were available, and everyone had more than enough to satiate their hunger and thirst. After the meal, everyone went back to their activities. Many people began taking pictures as the sun started to set. The scene was nothing short of magnificent, and you could tell by the gleaming looks on everyone’s faces. Of course, no one wanted to leave when the adults called for us to pack up at around 7 PM. We grudgingly picked up our things and said goodbye to the beach, but also found comfort in knowing we had showers and warm beds awaiting us back at El Horizontes!
Tomorrow will be a travel day and we will take Flight 356 from Atlanta to Minneapolis with an estimated time of arrival of 10:45 p.m.

Nick and Alex

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Day 9

 Good afternoon,
We have arrived at Horizontes research station. We have had lunch, found our rooms, had a turtle talk and are getting ready for dinner and a night on the beach looking for sea turtles. I am posting this now because we are going to have a late night on the beach and a 5am hike in the morning and I am not sure I will be able to find a student blogger.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Day 8

Buenas Dias Costa Rica!
After all our hard work, patience with the internet connection, long nights (Alex and Nick pulling an all nighter) and IMGing we finally finished presenting our projects in the morning!
Everyone did an amazing job, especially with a guest, Nathan (Marine Biologist who will join us tomorrow for the turtle sweep!). We learned many interesting facts concerning:  the rhizosphere (Taylor & Danny), microbial interactions (Teresa & Klara), human gut microbiome (Iya), honey bees (Nathan), HIV (Alex & Nick).
We want to make a special shout out to Gabriel and Jose Vargas for being patient, inspiring, and enthusiastic mentors. We have learned so much about the streamlined field of bioinformatics and I know Klara and I are going to continue our use of the database. Thank you Gabriel and Jose for opening our eyes to a whole new perspective on the world!
Following our presentations we were able to continue working on our ongoing community project of painting a mural. Boraan has made a beautiful, cohesive design for it!

Time-lapse of our mural credited to the professional filming of Johnny and Sam ( :

After our last lunch at Finca la Anita we went to Rio Perdidio to zip line. “My life was on the line literally and figuratively!” –Iya  
It was wonderful flying through the trees and over the river. All went well besides Carter getting his hand brake confiscated, Ellie almost getting stuck in the middle of the line, and the constant jokes of our guides pushing us off on the zip line at an unexpected time : P
We were able to enjoy the swimming pools at Rio Perdidio and have a lovely dinner afterwards. Let us tell you, this place was fancy! We were given complementary drinks of papaya and pineapple when we arrived and given cold towels scented in eucalyptus after our zip line ride.
As usual we are now driving back to Finca la Anita escorted by our really cool drivers, Christine & Phelix, while listening to awesome tunes thanks to our DJs (Johnny, Sam, Ellie, & Taylor).
 We can’t wait for our upcoming adventures of tomorrow-Buenas noches!
Klara & Teresa
Cabin 8

Ps. Mom and Dad please do not expect me to arrive back home with the group Saturday as I am loving Costa Rica too much and consequently may miss the plan home…. –Teresa : P

Monday, July 11, 2016


Day 7
Today was a work day, full of science and adventure, of the mental kind of course. Umm we set off at 7:30 to enjoy a delicious breakfast of omelets with beans and rice. From there we set off and enjoyed a day of summer, filling our minds with the knowledge we so desperately crave. At three o’clock we had a break of local made cookies and coffee. Pablo called it “rock and roll cafĂ©”. We listened to rock music as we sipped our coffee. Later at six o’clock we had dinner, a delicious bounty of tacos with chicken, steak, and an arrangement of greens. After we filled our stomachs, it was time for certain individuals to present their projects! Teeing off was S Muneyyy with his presentation about Meningitus. Next we had “the best” presentation, Carter Linhardt’s on coral! Young man AO was next, swooping in with the information about new sources of Bioluminescence! The men cried and the ladies swooned. The duo of Carter and Jonny rivaled that of Batman and Robin, Jordan and Pippen, Pablo and Picasso. Following that masterpiece was Boraan “the brains” Abdulkareem on antibiotics! She enlightened us with fancy graphs and new procedures. Pairing after her was Kowsar with a delicious presentation on cholera! YUM! We were spewing with excitement! After some hard hitting questions from Nathan, the turtle guy who also looks like the teenage Hercules in the animated movie, Hercules, Mahdi and Jacob thrilled us with their presentation on Penisillen resistant bacteria and potential solutions! Lastly, Pranav rocked our high socks off with his impromptu presentation on Phages! Like actually, too strong. How’s he gonna do that to the people who present after him tomorrow? Mahdi asked him a question afterwards. Pranav hesitates for a second like he doesn’t know, then pulls three more slides out with graphs and diagrams out to answer. Like dayum dude. Anyways, the presentation left us all excited to watch the rest of the presentation tomorrow morning!
Dictated but not read
-Tha Carter III

Written by Young Man AO

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Day 6: The day we rode horses like experts.

Day 6: The day we rode horses like experts.
Hola Amigos,
Today was day filled with lots of science and smiles. The day was started off with a delicious breakfast (as usual), followed by a morning of science. Our projects are slowly coming together. Jose and Gabriel gave everyone or every pair a one-on-one session to help us make sense of everything we are doing and the results we are finding. After a morning of doing intense science work, like the researchers we are, we had lunch. And even though most of wanted to take naps after lunch, we just didn’t have extra time to do so because we had an exciting adventure ahead of us.  It was raining when we left Finca La Anita, so we were somewhat worried about going horse backing riding but Pablo ensured us that we will be safe.  And as if the sky was listening to what he said, the rain stopped shortly after. Horseback riding was incredibly fun and the sites were beautiful and to all the worried parents who are reading this, no one fell off the horses. After successfully riding the horses like experts, we did some community service. Boraan designed a beautiful mural for the walls of the bus stop that we were painting, but unfortunately the white base didn’t dry in time so we are going back tomorrow to finish it. We also played soccer for a little while before it was time to go back to Finca La Anita and yes we all came back in one piece.  And now I am signing off because tomorrow is going to be a day dedicated to science.
Reporting live from Costa Rica,
Kowsar Hurreh.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Day 5

Day 5: The Water Fall
                In thy break of morning light, student researchers battle the burdens of their projects!! First plus of the day was that internet was alive and kicking! We were all able to make much more progress than previous days and many of the students completed their second objective; it honestly felt rewarding!
Marching on, we all sang “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” on the tractor ride to our hiking location; we actually didn’t, we’re just kiddingJ. We actually had an awesome tractor ride. Carlos, our driver, was the man. He rocked it. When we reached our destination, we all had to let our inner Indiana Jones shine and start the hike deep into the rain forest. Honestly, we loved the hike. We had funny moments where we fell in the mud or kind of slipped in some water, but overall it was a fantastic experience. The best part by far, the number one activity was swimming in the waterfall. We jumped in and then right back out because it was cold, and I mean real cold. We took some great pictures since where all professionals models; we all rocked awesome poses. We joke around too muchJ. Overall, the tractor ride, the hike, and the swim we just terrific; it’s an experience that’ll be forever ingrained in our memory.
SO after the waterfall we rode the tractor to aracellies, and again Carlos came in clutch!! He backed up a tractor with a trailer down an very narrow path… He rocked it! At aracellies we had Caribbean chicken, rice and beans, plantain chips, and starfruit juice. IT WAS PHENOMENAL!! After dinner we had a couple matchbox riddles and learned that we kind of suck and failed miserably! LOL!! We really appreciate the opportunity and our parents support.
Buenas Noches!

Jacob and Mahdi 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Day 4

Hey everyone!
Today was an early morning, waking up at 5:45! We got into the buses and headed to a geothermal power plant. But we weren’t allowed access because everyone didn’t have long pants and shirts. But it was all good because we were then driven to the hot springs. We all covered ourselves with mud from the natural mud pots to cleanse ourselves of impurities. Then we chilled in the hot springs and sauna for two hours. After, we came back to Finca and had lunch (spaghetti!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) We then continued to work on our science experiments, had dinner and ran before the bugs could get us. Time to go…I see a moth.

Taylor Rients]