Rosa, Felicidad, and Annabelle here. As our stint as ex-phase “travel-agents” comes to a close, here’s what we’ve learned:
-Leaving Spanish school early to make phone calls becomes a Spanish class in and of itself. It isolates communication to Spanish language and that only. Perhaps we rely on body-language more than we realize.
-Once again, the power in group dynamics and efficient decision-making. Having to be the information-relayers between group & organization point-people could be difficult, but it was rewarding to have our plan be made by group consensus.
-Managing a budget for 14 people was definitely a challenge. We found we had to compromise and cut many activities we originally wanted to do in order to accomodate for everyone. However, in the end we found the perfect balance between organized activities and time to spend together debriefing.
-Meeting in person those you’ve gotten to know over phone and e-mail proves quite a neat sensation; one we were able to experience upon landing at IMAP, the Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute we worked with all week.
-Not everything always goes according to plan, so be flexible. We had originally thought of going to San Antonio Palopó to take a pottery class, but after a group check-in we realized there was more interest in climbing El Cerro de Oro, and as a group we managed to coordinate transportation to and from the climb , a group lunch, and a swim at the beach for our free day the day before. Success! =)
-“We’ve done so much, but I feel like I haven’t done anything.”
“That, Felicidad, is how it feels to be part of a team.” 🙂
It never stops being crazy how much a team can accomplish. We saw this many times on our X-Phase, from the work put in re-vitalizing soil and micro-climates to the constructing of a stone wall in a soon-to-be fish pond (water fights in the river where said stones came from never hurt, either).
-It’s okay to rely on group and outside knowledge when figuring out what to do and where to go. How else would we have found a place where things roll up, a secret beach, or Quixayá?
Planning ex-phase was fun, confusing, stressful, and different, and we learned a lot from the experience. It was really nice watching all of our hard work come to fruition and with this, we hand back all the planning responsibility to the instructors. 🙂