Community Impact

Building Bridges in Costa Rica

from GLA's Costa Rica: Beachside Service Adventure Program

“One group was building a bridge in a local community. This project is very important to the Ticos since when there is heavy rainfall, the whole road floods and people are not able to go to school or work. This bridge will ensure that their lives aren’t affected by these floods.”

-Catie Jaffe, Kelsey Akerson, Bebe Chancellor, Carolina Barrosa - GLA Alumni

GLA student volunteers, our "green teens," inspect the suspension bridge they are building

The village of Tempetal is cut off by severe floods during the rainy season, forcing children to remain home from school as they are unable to safely cross the ravine during this time. Without being able to reach town, families are also divided from markets and the remainder of their community.

Fortunately, during the summer the river bed is dry, and groups from the GLA Costa Rica: Beachside Service Adventure team decided to tackle this calamity by building a suspension bridge over it.

“On our first day at the service site, our group helped dig holes in order to build a bridge for local Ticos. We dug 6 feet deep holes. We also met the local family who lives across from the soon-to-be bridge. Guadalupe, a beautiful seven year old girl, helped us dig before school along with her uncle, while her adorable two year old brother watched. Lenin, our amazing bus driver, also helped us a great deal. We all loved meeting their family as well as having a fun time enjoying working with each other!”

-Bethany Roos, GLA Alumnus

A GLA student volunteer stands in one of the 6ft. deep holes dug for the bridge project

Once community members affected by the yearly flooding were on board with the bridge-building project, townspeople stopped at nothing to help GLA’s teen volunteers as they dug out holes, and worked with local engineers on the floors and railings for the bridge. Even though many of the locals couldn’t really speak English, they connected with the GLA students almost immediately.

Thanks to these "green teens," the community knew it would benefit from the bridge for years to come.

GLA students mix cement for their service project

Everyone from young kids going to school to adults heading into town in this region of Costa Rica would now be able to cross this path during rainy season.

I want to make an impact in Costa Rica.