Volunteer Abroad - Costa Rica, Volunteer Abroad Programs

The Mystery of El Sapo

by Adra Klopfer, Greenheart Travel High School Group Leader in Costa Rica

Dona Flora’s kitchen in Costa Rica.

So I walk into my bedroom last night and find a huge turd by the door.

Now, I want to make a disclaimer that this Costa Rican host family’s house is one of the cleanest houses I have ever seen – and Dona Flora is constantly sweeping, wiping, washing, etc.  This house is not a house of poo.

I walk into the kitchen where my host father, Gerardo, is washing the dishes from dinner, and I tell him en espanol: ”Gerardo, I think there is un animal en la casa.  I’ve found a bit of excremento.”

Gerardo comes to the bedroom door to inspect the droppings.  He instantly knows what kind of animal is in the house.  ”Es un sapo!” he says with confidence.

Two questions: How does he know his animal scat so well and what the heck is a ‘sapo?‘  I ask.

Gerardo jumps three times to imitate the animal.  Un conejo? A bunny?  No.  Un insecto? A bug?  No way – not with that size of poo.

The mystery is solved…el sapo.

All I can think of is zappos.com.  For the love of God, what is a sapo? We scan the living room floor for the creature and spot a brown blob.  The sapo.

Gerardo grabs the creature in a Kleenex and brings him from the floor, exposing a white belly and webbed feet.  It’s… a toad!  Peace at last with this new word now sealed in my Spanish vocabulary vault.  Our mischievous friend is released into the yard and now I know, the next time I find scat like that, I’ll be sure to be on the lookout for a toad.


About Greenheart Travel

CCI Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders. We achieve this by partnering with organizations and governments overseas that empower their local communities through experiential learning and practical development. We provide others with the same positive travel experiences in which we ourselves engage. Through travel and cultural exchange, we help individuals reach their full potential, leading to a more tolerant, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.



  1. Pingback: The Journey to Costa Rica: Expecting the Unexpected « Greenheart Travel - August 5, 2010

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