BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- A teenager from Bronxville recently returned home from the trip of a lifetime.
Chandler Naylon, who attends Loyola School, was in Costa Rica as part of Courts for Kids, a program that participates in cultural exchanges by building courts in underprivileged areas.
Naylon spent seven days in Salitre, an indigenous territory, with the Bribri community.
"The countless interactions we made within and outside the working grounds made this trip truly special," Naylon said.
When he wasn't building a court, Naylon got to interact with the locals and enjoyed getting to meet the children in the community. He said he was able to bond with them, despite his mediocre Spanish.
I became especially tight with Hiro, one of the boys in that group who challenged me to a race," Naylon said. "Even through the simplest of conversations or quick handshakes, our friendship was evident."
He enjoyed playing soccer with 17-year-old twins, Kaylor and Kayben and talked music and girls with three 11-year-old cousins, Franklin, Eric and Brendan. Naylon said he also enjoyed the cuisine of Costa Rica like breakfast empanadas, black bean soup, and fried plantains.
The trip was an eye-opening experience, Naylon said.
"We had the opportunity to learn firsthand about their indigenous culture, including their language, religion, traditions, values, and ancient beliefs," Naylon said. "The Bribri people welcomed us into their community with such hospitality and friendliness that rarely did we feel like outsiders observing them."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.