GPS Trip to China Takes Off

Greetings, all!

Our fearless team of students and chaperones left Culver in the wee hours of the morning to make it to the airport in time to check in and eat our last American meal (it was from McDonald’s, of course!). There is nothing like team bonding by traveling together and, as you can see from our first group picture, students are already having fun! The energy level is through the roof as we anticipate boarding our flight. Once in Shanghai, please expect more pictures and blogs.

Thanks for rooting us on!

Mr. Medard and Jacob Blemaster

Blog 4-7 From Bob

To whom it may concern,

Sorry about having no internet in Mexico. I will send the rest of the four days journal all to you at once. Thanks.

Blog 4


Tuesday, we took a day off to the beach and ocean. We set off to a harbor nearby in the morning, and arrived there by around noon in four vans. After we finished changing our costumes, we went aboard. The vessel has two floors. Some of us went up to the second floors to enjoy a better view of the ocean. The last time I came here I suffered from severe motion sickness, so this time I went on top because it can in some degree relieve my nauseous feeling. Luckily, this time the waves weren’t as turbulent, so I successfully arrived at our island of destination. Since the water around the beach was shallow, some of us jumped into the water and swam, while some others hopped onto a lifeboat and reached there.

As time approached 1 p.m., we quickly finished our lunch, comprised of seafood and local tradition, shrimp and tacos. Then, we played in the water with games like Marco Polo or with toys we brought. After playing of roughly an hour, we gathered to take a group picture. We took the ship back to the harbor, and then we returned to our hotel at night.

Blog 5


Since we returned from the trip relatively late yesterday, we received an extra half an hour rest in the morning. We continued with our construction work, and came back to the restaurant ready to enjoy some great food.

In the afternoon, we went around the town to shop for some pretty candies and dessert. This was a tiny little candy shop, so we were all packed and it literally took minutes to move a step. In the end we bought some candies for both the kid that we are about to meet and for ourselves.

Coming back from shopping we finished our meal and went to one of the most incredible scenes that we could ever observe. Before the trip we were told that there was certain plankton in the water that illuminates itself once encountering disturbance, known as bioluminescence. We were going to witness such miracle. The night was the clearest night I had ever seen. You were able to point out every vein of the constellation and tell where every strand of mysterious star heads to. Arriving at a lake that was half an hour away from our hotel by van, we boarded different boats and sailed to a designated place in the lake. As the steersman slowly turned off the engine, we could not wait to plug our hands into the water and twist. It was unbelievable how creatures and lights were splashing out while disappearing in seconds. We played with the life nature created. We made sweet little wishes, and even drew the names of loved ones in the water in order to wish them good luck and fortune. Somebody even joked that we could stay here all the way till the next morning. But sadly, time is always call you home like your mother does. We returned to the port and wrapped this trip up.

Blog 6


Today is the last day of construction. We were pumped up and excited, but meanwhile a little sad because the countdown have started. Right before we all went up to work, we drove farther to see the worksite of the other teams. We all worked really hard and a rough contour of the house had been formed. Then, we jumped right into work and initiated our daily hardship and challenge. After hours of sweating and puffing of mortar and cement, we finished our work and left the worksite with our proud artwork, constructed by persistence and perseverance.

After devouring some food, we took a break in the afternoon. Some of us went on a shopping trip in late afternoon and bought some interesting merchandiseJ To me, this was one of few afternoons that we have no activity so I got to walk to the top house for a little sightseeing and sunset as well. I was there right on time. The sun was a few inches to me above the horizon. It incredibly moves in a speed that could be told from our naked eyes. However, I dare not to stare at the mysterious center of the living soul and universe. So I switched my eyeballs to some other objects. Suddenly, I heard people next to me talking about divers. I wondered what they are, and looked up. I saw some people coming down from the sky with parachutes! It was such a queer feeling and it was the first time seeing human landing from the sky like out plant creatures! I felt really happy and took several pictures for them and me as wellJ

During dinner, we have some special guests. The mayor of the district came without invitation, since he heard about our loving activity and the things we have done to make people live a better life in a more comfortable environment. Then comes our 06’ Culver Grad, who worked in the government of Oaxaca State. We had some conversation and felt pretty cool!

Blog 7


Today was the last official day of Mexico trip. Time flies and it doesn’t make a call in the middle. I did not feel it when I was appreciating the soul of the sun yesterday night. Naming our friend “Time” Bolt was not difficult at all. He was both a marathon runner and a sprinter when people feel happy. So let’s talk about some more interesting and substantial experience before time crosses the finish line and look back on us and smirk.

It was such a touching and emotional day in general. After breakfast we hopped on the vans and got to the school playground in lightning speed. We met a crowd of kids of 3-4 year old. It was quite impressive how they were level in their heights, and as their teacher called, they responded uniformly. First of all, we went front and each found a kid. We had some conversation and quickly knew whom were we collaborating with. Then, we played several interesting games with them. Then, we initiated the most important part of the Love Without Borders project. Our project director, Dylan, called out names of both Culver students and local kids. The one called will present their gift and candies as well as backpack of utensils and utilities to them. It was really fun! Each of us also took photo with the children. It was lovely to see those kids’ natural, inornate actions. We were so touched. We also participated in the kids’ “fighting piñata”, when the kids walk up front and hit the piñata with a stick. As the piñata collapses, the children crowded around the candies and grabbed as much candies as possible. After that, we drove to some houses that we have built in previous years. It was definitely great memories, especially when you see one of those that you helped build last year. It was deep bond be between you and the house! We met and greeted each other friendly, took some photos, and took off soon.

In the afternoon, we took a break before we went to the culmination part of the trip. We drove all the way to Mr. Giraldi’s house, and took a break there. We met all our families, and each team went up to receive their award, a piece of paper honoring your accomplishment of this trip and helped build one of the five houses in this trip. We took some photos together and departed at six. We gathered for a quick reflection and contemplation before dinner in order to go over what we have done and learned through this trip. After that, we finished our meal and got to bed early because we are leaving tomorrow quite early. What a wonderful Mexico mission trip! I am pretty sure I will be coming back next year.

Thank you for reading the email. Have a good rest of the break.

Best regards,


Day 7 Mexico Trip

Today was a very productive but sad day because it was our last work day of our trip. This morning started with a workout on the beach and a very yummy breakfast. After breakfast we loaded the vans and drove to the worksite. To give our group motivation, we checked out the progress on the other 4 houses before working on ours. We worked extremely hard and put our best effort toward finishing strong and building walls of the house. After work, we had lunch and freshened up for the rest of the day. We played cards in the afternoon and went to the market again before dinner. Dinner was great and we had another ice cream because we only have one more night now left for ice cream. Tomorrow will be a very exciting day because we get to meet our kids and hand them backpacks with goodies in them. Signing off. – Rachael ’18

Blog 2 and 3

Blog 2


Today is a Sunday, however, we started our daily working as if it was Monday. After our favorite breakfast, we traveled to our work site and began our daily workout. This time, it was going to be longer than yesterday. Although the cement was not receiving much affection, we worked diligently with it. With all those steps we took, it was impressive how much progress we have made in these two days.

We enjoyed some great chicken and other type of food for lunch. In later that afternoon, we went to the beach with one purpose only: to let go the little sea turtle. As infants, the turtles are born in eggs and they were laid by mother under the sand. With the minute energy obtained from eating the egg shell, the turtles have to crawl all the way from the nest to the ocean. In all this way, they face potential risk from all kinds of factors. They encounter fierce predators such as dogs and seagulls. Human could be even more dangerous. In short, we acted as parents of the little turtle, and see them run toward freedom and into the future. It was definitely colorful memory. Some turtles made several attempts to crawl back toward us but finally got into the water, while some got picked out by their predators ruthlessly. We experienced the rule of nature, but in some way helped the turtles with their future. The world as well as the society is cruel. It will be either you or me.

It is incredible that our trip in Puerto Escondido has already passed one third. We probably should cherish the time spent here and make our memories lastJ

Blog 3


This is our last day of work before a little break to the beach (¡vamos a la playa!). We worked super hard throughout the day with our best friends, bricks and cement. It was another long day with hot weather. We made it through with excellent appearance and went all the way to our shopping trip in late afternoon, or dusk.

We went on our vans and arrived at the shopping street. It was a popular one with many stores and shops around. They sell pretty homemade gadgets, like bracelet and necklace, as well as clothes that represent Puerto Escondido. Some products were really pretty and interesting. The entire street was around four or five blocks long. We went around and purchased things that we feel favor inJ By the intersection we have a supermarket that offers all kinds of beverage and snacks. There was a restaurant that bakes yummy croissant too! We spent some time there and went back with our gangs for dinner.

Tomorrow we are going to have a wonderful journey on a huge vessel. It was going to be fun and we might even see whales! ¡Hasta mañana!

Mexico Trip Day 4

Day 4 was another very successful day. To start, I worked out again and ate breakfast with the team. After breakfast, we changed into work clothes and boarded the busses for the worksite. Today was our last day of work before our boat ride and relaxing day tomorrow. We worked extremely hard today and our family brought us coconuts from their trees on their property. Drinking the juice was definitely a cool experience. After work we ate lunch and freshened up. We had free time in the afternoon so my roommate and I took a nice long nap. At 5:30 everyone headed into town to shop at the market. I brought my family some gifts and souvenirs. We just finished an another amazing dinner and ice cream run. Now it’s time to play cards. Signing off! :)
– Rachael ’18

Day 3 Mexico GPS Trip

Day 3 of our trip was busy and fun filled. Once again a large group of us got up to workout this morning and afterwards we had breakfast. Then we were off to work again! Today on the job we unloaded bricks for the house walls and also laid bricks and built the outer walls of the house. There were a large number of others who had heard we were there so they came to help. Everyone is super friendly and hard working! We finished working around 2 and returned to the hotel for lunch. After lunch we only had about 2 hours until our very exciting activity of releasing sea turtles! We arrived at the sea turtle sanctuary on a remote, beautiful beach. It was sooo much fun to release the baby turtles. We then returned to the hotel for dinner and an amazing dance team preformed. We just had another ice cream run and now it is reflection time! :) Signing off.
– Rachael ’18

Blog for 03/25/17

Blog 1


Yesterday we arrived in Puerto Escondido. Long journey tired us all, but once we step inside our hotel Bungalows, we were refreshed and rejuvenatedJ

Today is Saturday, Sabado in Spanish. Since we arrived late yesterday night, we took a little sleep in. A couple of us went for a little jog and morning exercise, which were brilliant head starts for our journey in here. After some delicious and nutritious breakfast, we went on our separate vans for groups, and initiated our construction by going to an opening ceremony. We met our families and went to the working site with them. We learned how to bind mortar with water and sand, producing cement in the end. With delicate measurements, bricks and cement were put together, one on top of one another. Overcoming most problems regarding construction with the help of both past participants and friendly working partners, we finished our first day building in a pleasant meal.

Afternoon activities were impressive as well! After a satisfying lunch, some of us went on for a walk along the beach while others hopped in the pool. Some others played sand volleyball on the beach too! A happy and joyful afternoon passed with laughter.

A trip for yummy ice cream continued after the dinner. It was quite a long lane but we all enjoyed spending time with our friends. I am so looking forward to the next day and the following fun activities!

From Bob

Day 2 Puerto Escondido

Day 2 of the Mexico GPS trip was a success!! To start off the day, a couple of us got up earlier to work out on the beach. It was super beautiful. Everyone in Puerto Escondido is very friendly and the food is fantastic. After our workout we ate a yummy breakfast then we were off to meet our families! After we met our families we immediately went to work. Today I learned how to lay bricks and mix mortar! My whole group felt very accomplished afterwards. We then came back to the hotel and ate another yummy lunch then had some relaxation time. A couple of the girls and I went shopping and walked on the beach. Dinner came at 7 and was followed up by some reflecting time to write in our journals and an ice cream trip. I can not wait for tomorrow because we will be releasing sea turtles at night. The trip is awesome and the weather is hot! Signing off! :)

– Rachael ’18

Last formal meeting

To whom it may concern,

Tonight, we had the last formal meeting for GPS trip to Mexico in the Legion Heritage Room. After Mr. Neer and Mr. Giraldi have gone over some important reminders and shared some deep insights, we were separated into construction teams and started group communication. Happy times always passed quite fast, and this “communion” soon ended. We are all very looking forward to the next gathering!

Btw, I am testing since I will be a blogger in the MEXICO trip. Thanks and have a good night.

Mexico Blog 3/8/17

Hello, my name is Rachael Dodson and I am a junior in Atrium Dormitory. Tonight, the team for the Mexico GPS trip, students and adults, met to discuss our upcoming trip as it is quickly approaching. We learned tonight, in the words of our leader Mr. Neer, “our goals are summed up in three words: serve, represent, and enjoy.” Tonight at our meeting we received an update on the Love Without Boarders program and how excited everyone is to meet us in Puerto Escondido. We met our goal of $2,000 for the program!! We also discussed more about packing and specifically what we need to bring for the all of the activities in Mexico. The “Bon Voyage” ceremony will be on Sunday the 19th where we will all gather and receive our team Mexico shirts we will wear when we travel to Puerto Escondido. We then broke up into our 5 construction groups and discussed team bonding. We also worked on getting to know everyone in our teams. Some of the students who had been on a previous Mexico trip shared their experiences and lots of questions were answered. Attached is a picture of our group gathering during the meeting. More updates to come! J

Thank you!

– Rachael Dodson ‘18