“Pura Vida” in Tres y Tres, Costa Rica with Kent State Athletics

January 2019

We got off the plane in San Jose and were greeted by the three smiling faces of Chris, Allan, and Brian. Then took a 4-hour bus trip and arrived at the school in Tres y Tres late that night. None of us from KSU really knew what to expect on this journey but as soon as we stepped off the bus we were immediately welcomed and greeted by the community with open-arms and open-hearts. The women performed traditional Costa Rican dances, Jorge, the school’s principal and community leader gave a speech, and we all ate dinner together.  The next day we woke up early and began the first day of working on the court.  This is when our Kent State staff, student-athletes and the members of the community truly began our interactions and learned to communicate through makeshift sign language and the exchange of a few Spanish and English words.  When we were not working on the court, we were able to interact even more with the community. Through playing cards with the children, 30 v 30 matches of futbol every evening, eating meals together, dancing, and constantly sharing laughs- a remarkably strong bond was forming between our group from KSU and the members of the community. Every night our group would sit down with Allan, Brian, and Chris and reflect on the day, sharing stories and new information we learned about the community, and noticing similarities and differences between cultures.

At the end of our journey, everyone involved understood the love of sports and community is and will always be the purpose of the court.  We also believe that our communities were not brought together solely to build a court, but brought together to exchange values and perspectives, to share love, and connect through the embrace of diversity. On behalf of the Kent State group, we will always be indebted to the Tres y Tres community and our group leaders Allan, Brian, and Chris for this enjoyable and eye-opening experience.

With love and appreciation, muchas gracias and PURA VIDA!  – Melanie , Kent State Student Athlete

“What I learned from the community:  -Generous heart  -Open mindset  -Unconditional love  -Joy  -True meaning to life.” – Kealeigh

“I learned that I stress to much about little things instead of enjoying the moment and living in the present rather than the past or future. After a deep reflection, I have decided that I am to change my overall perspective. I am going to try to start living the now and taking the time to love and appreciate those around me.” – Sidney

“The most difficult part or going home is leaving this wonderful community and these wonderful people. Tres y Tres and Costa Rica will forever hold a very special place in my heart.” – Jessica

“Life is not about the majority of things that stress us in the United States and more about human interaction, love and living in the present plus slowing down.”-Melanie

I love the spirit of ‘Pura Vida’, that enjoying the people around you is most important in life. I will always look back on this experience when life becomes frustrating or worrisome.” – Mark

“This trip has inspired me to volunteer and give back to all. I would like to travel and do more trips like this. This trip changed my perspective on how I can give back, to me giving my time and soul is richer than my time and money.” – Jessica