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Goodbyes at Camp  Osita

Another week, and another round of goodbyes at Camp Osita. This week we have lost many much-loved members of our jungle family - volunteers and staff alike - and it is hard to deny the deep feeling of loss experienced when we waved them off at the Collectivo bus stop. It feels like saying goodbye to a brother or sister, because these people truly become your family during your stay in the jungle, whether it be for a week or for six months.

These are the people you share every waking moment with, every high and low, each sunrise and sunset, endless games and laughs, and numerous sightings of the wildlife of Carate. Thrown together in such crazy circumstances, you quickly form deep friendships and become a solid team.

Each member of Camp Osita has a profound impact on our way of life. Whether it be an inside joke, a new recipe or game, or an addition to the architecture of camp, every individual leaves their mark. One person constructed a gazebo, which has become our chill out zone, so we are able to invoke some of his calming spirit and remember him whilst we lie there. Another planted a garden, providing us with fresh tomatoes, green beans and basil for our meals. One girl passed on a wooden staff she used for surveys, which was in turn passed on again, with the list of its owners names carved along the handle - representing the continuity of people in the jungle. It is somewhat sad; as once they leave we are constantly reminded of them in our day to day life. However, it is also beautiful, as each and every one of them leaves behind a piece of themselves.

But seeing off members of our jungle family is not all doom and gloom! The run up to their departure is a flurry of bittersweet excitement, reminiscent stories and affectionate sentiments. You watch the leavers try and squeeze in as much of the experience as possible, making sure they go on every survey and every trail one last time. It makes you really appreciate your surroundings, as you watch them take it all in and prepare themselves to leave it behind.

Also, we make sure we have a leaving fiesta and one last ‘warm and fuzzies’ - which is where we write something nice someone has done for us and read it out. This always gets emotional, but makes you realise how much you meant to certain people and how much small acts of kindness can have an impact. Finally, the leaver will write a passage in our ‘camp book’, leaving a snapshot of their experiences and friendships made here, for all of us to read.

Also, there are always fresh volunteers on their way! This keeps camp exciting, as there are always new people to meet, different stories to hear and original perspectives to discover. People leaving changes the dynamics of the camp, and you find yourself becoming closer to people you had previously not spoken to as much, as friendships evolve and reform.

The constantly changing jungle family is part of Camp Osita’s charm. Though it is heart-rending saying goodbye to friends, it means camp is continuously evolving, and there is never a dull moment. As one ARO wrote in his final warm and fuzzy: ‘Camp is like a living being that changes and evolves over time. Newbies arrive and old friends leave, but no matter what, this place and the people that surround you will remain in your heart forever’.

In my time here, I have met a multitude of original and interesting people, many of whom I would have never have crossed paths with in the real world. Each person I have waved off on the Collectivo has changed the camp, and my perspective on life, for the better. And we mustn't forget, for many this isn't goodbye forever. I have made lifelong friends here, with whom I fully intend to meet with again in the future.

Ruby Jarvis – Media & Journalism Intern | Frontier Costa Rica

Frontier runs conservation, community developmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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