Students Take Spring Break Costa Rica Mission Trip


Bethel students who participated in an alternative spring break mission trip to Costa Rica hiked two miles to a mountain where the town of El Sur's well had been compromised after a tree fell on it during a storm. The students repaired the well during their trip.


A group of Bethel University students in Sociology/Business 490 traveled to Costa Rica over Bethel's 2012 Spring Break.

     “During this Alternative Spring Break Service Learning experience, we stayed in a small village called El Sur,” said Robin Salyers, Assistant Professor of Computer Science. “The students who went have been studying the culture, the food, the economy, the business practices and the social structure of Costa Rica. While in Costa Rica, they helped repair a water well.”

     According to Salyers, El Sur's water source is located on top of a mountain, (a 2 hour hike) and it had suffered damage when a tree fell on it during a storm. 

     “Because of the damage, the community’s water source was murky,” Salyers said. “We hiked to the top of the mountain, and cleaned the site, which was full of mud, leaves and branches. Then we mixed concrete, and repaired the cracks and damage that had occurred during the storm. Our students also cleared an area behind the school to provide a spot for the students to plant a garden, which will help provide food for the school. Bethel students also painted a bridge as well as the exterior of the school, and they had the opportunity to teach English in the school.”

     Salyers said the students also made sugar from sugar cane, milked cows and made cheese.     

     “I have never been so proud of our Bethel students,” Salyers said. “They worked very hard and never once complained.” 

     According to Salyers, one of the projects the students will be working on throughout the remainder of the semester is a blog about the Costa Rica trip. 

     “Each of the students was required to journal about each day's events,” she said. ‘We will create blogs from these journals.”

     “There are a lot of ways these students could have spent their spring break,” said Stacie Freeman, Assistant Professor of Sociology, who also made the trip. “The fact that they took the week to serve others is really impressive! Since we have returned home, we are encouraging these students to use this experience as an opportunity to learn more about themselves, and to think about the role this experience plays as they are planning their futures beyond Bethel.”

     Participants in the Costa Rica trip included: faculty members Stacie Freeman and Robin Salyers, and students Chelsea Fuller, Eddie Torres, Erika Blake, Kayla Taylor, Sasha Arnold, Staci Michael, and Trae Vaughn. The trip was organized through GlobalAware.