Costa Rica is a highly-volcanic country located along the Pacific and Caribbean slopes of the Central American bioregion. It is one of the most established democracies of Latin America and was founded on the core value of environmentalism. The country is the proud home to over 5% of the world’s biodiversity, all present within just 0.035% of the earth’s surface area. Cloud-forests, farmlands, countryside, and even beaches and volcanoes are lined with rain forests. The country has 12 climactic zones and a number of micro-climates, meaning that you can go from tropical beach to cloud-forest in just a few hours. Traditional agriculture exports, such as bananas, coffee, sugar and beef, combined with high value-added goods and services are the backbone of the Costa Rican economy, along with tourism. Family-run businesses and small-scale farming and livelihood projects abound across the country. Administratively, Costa Rica is divided into 7 Provinces, including Alajuela, San Jose, Guancaste, Limon, Cartago, Heredia, and Puntarenas.
Gerardo has six sons, five fishermen and one is a successful businessman. He says that fishing is a family tradition. He notes that he thinks his sons are truly happy to carry on the family tradition because they are all fat and happy, a local sign of a good life.
As in many parts of rural Costa Rica, women's work often focuses on domestic duties. The Colonia Libertad Women's Group was formed in 2010 to create opportunity for women and their families. With all of the knowledge these women have about farming, construction, arts and crafts, and cooking, the group has a lot of potential. The group enjoys hosting travelers in their village to share their stories and learn from others. When there are opportunities to collaborate with other groups in the community, the women's group always does. Also, the group is always selling food or arts and crafts to the community so the relationships are very open.
Xania and Alexis have three children who have all moved to nearby neighborhoods. Their hope is when tourism begins to develop a bit more in Argendora that they will build rustic ranch style cabins and that their daughters will return to help with the family business.
Maritza likes to stay busy. She is the only farmer in the village and manages her farm mostly by herself. She lives with her partner and son. The neighboring community is small with only 4 houses. Maritza finds enthusiasm in planting and watching her plants grow, organically. She's happiest when she's working with her goats, chickens, animals, trees and crops. Her dream is to have a greenhouse and work in hydroponics. She loves to work in something that is natural. She feels that she can set an example for the community. Most people in the community work in factories and construction in neighboring cities. Maritza believes in the work that she does and she hopes that she can help spread the idea and importance of growing and eating organic.
Dona Raquel was born in Nicaragua. She came to Costa Rica with her husband and 4 children. She has always worked in industrial clothes production. Her brother, sister, son and her son's girlfriend all work in the shop together. 2 of her children received scholarships for their studies at the University and high school level. She is proud that everyone who works for her is paid for their work and she is also proud that more family members are showing interest in the work. She works hard to save enough money to be able to buy a house one day.
Maria Cristina is a busy woman! Her house seems to be constantly filled with the cutest kids of Argendora. With eight of her own children living throughout Costa Rica, and six grandchildren in Argendora Maria Cristina shared that her dream for the future was simply to sleep more. All jokes aside, her and her husband do have dreams for a larger and more productive farm in the future. She is extremely passionate about maintaining the traditions of local Guanacasteco dishes, and her grandchildren are more than excited to practice their English with you!
If you are lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the Volcan Poas crater on the way to Don Pancho’s coffee farm. (Check this website for real time update on visibility) For 16 United Nations University for Peace students and I, we were not lucky enough ... read more