From Tyler to Costa Rica (KYTX) - Join us on a trip to foster goodwill and help children get a better education in Part 4 of a 4 part Special Report tonight at 10 after Elementary.
There are several small communities along the way trying to make sure they have a future.
The drive was nothing compared to the hike up to a grassy plateau between the towns of Dos Rios and Quebrada Grande.
Reagan Minefee got here a few days ago. She's studying Spanish at TJC and came here to become fluent.
"Lluvio mucho aqui?" she asked a man working on the land as we watched Wednesday. "Lluvio?"
"Lluvio" means rain, which helps the trees she's been planting and fertilizing take root.
"(We're) just trying to get the forest back in a working condition like it was years ago," Minefee said.
The trees need help because short-sighted farming and de-forestation robbed the land of its nutrients decades ago.
"It's important because this area gets a lot cooler, and it rains more, so there's more opportunity," Isair Araya, who lives in the area, said via translator.
Araya said he needs trees to thrive so he can survive.
"(We have) to be able to grow and live off the land," Araya said.
Araya said help from Tyler students makes it possible, adding that he'll always take the help.
Minefee said she hopes more of her fellow students will give it.
"Everyone needs to go out there and, you know, take chances like this," she said. "It was kind of scary for me to take my first plane ride, get out of the country and leave my family for so many days, but I'm so happy I did it."
There are about 20 students from Tyler Junior College and The University of Texas at Tyler working in the rain forest this summer.