Friday, March 18, 2016

Student Reflections: Henri and Sage

Today was the first day we slept in our homestays!!!!!  Last night as we walked back to our homestays, I did my “abuelo routine” when I pretended to be an old man hard of hearing. “Hasta mañana”(see you later), said Mr. Agnor and I responded “¿Hasta manzana?”(See you apple?). We followed those shenanigans by playing a short game of soccer in my homestays backyard. Then we ate a fantastic home-cooked dinner with our homestays. Afterwards some of us played Uno, others had pillowfights, but I drew with Oliver and our homestay brother and cute little sister. We all woke up to the sight of flynets, wooden slats instead of window panes and an absolutely stunning view of the wildlife. We then ate breakfast (Oliver and I had these amaising Costa-Rican type of pancake made with corn that we hand-ground last night along with rice, beans and cheese; it was great!). When we were on the bus and reunited with the rest of the group, we all argued about how each of us must have the best homestay. I think I won ;).  – Henri



As well as being the first full day at our homestays, we also visited an organic farm run by Daniel Vega. On the farm we got to feed a calf, make compost (very, very smelly), do some exploring, and eat a delicious lunch prepared by Don Daniel’s family. On our way, we learned about Costa Rica’s reliance on agriculture and how pesticides and other agricultural chemicals can damage the production of the foods that Costa Rica relies on. Many farms use these dangerous pesticides but what is different about Don Daniel’s farm is that it is completely organic; meaning, he uses no harmful pesticides or herbicides. Daniel showed us his impressive array of vanilla and pepper plants. He also plans to hire for harvest two groups who really need jobs: single mothers and college students who cannot afford tuition. Danile told a very sad yet inspiring story about his previous work for American and Costa Rican companies that actively cut down trees and used dangerous chemicals, which resulted in a drastic decrease in Costa Rican rainforests and health issues for locals. This inspired him to create his organic farm and share his philosophy and methods with other families who have joined his farm. It was a great learning experience for us to see the positive effects of organic farming in Costa Rican communities. Pura vida!         - Sage