Guest Blogger: Kyleigh M. Troop 5958, Senior Girl Scout Ashburn VA
On my Service Challenge destination to Costa Rica and Panama, I dug trenches to keep the rain from washing out the trails near base camp, painted a school while living with an indigenous family in Talamanca, planted 150 saplings to help in a reforestation effort, worked with local naturalists in Panama to find endangered mama turtles on the beach during night patrols, weighed and measured newly-hatched turtles and helped them make it safely to the ocean, and exhumed the unhatched babies to determine why they did not hatch. I had beans and rice and plantains for nearly every meal, got some new freckles and a LOT of new bug bites, got dive-bombed by a gecko, found a bat flying around in my room, and had a blast white-water rafting and zip-lining. I learned so much about differences in cultures, especially in the Bribri and Cabecares people in Talamanca. The trip broadened my understanding of the world by showing me how much bigger the world is than me, and how much I take for granted at home and how much I have to be grateful for.