I had an eye opening, enriching experience last week as I traveled to Costa Rica. Preparing weeks in advance as part of a class, I went with a community development perspective in mind. Everywhere I went I saw or heard the phrase “pura vida”, or pure life. When asked how they were doing, people would respond with “pura vida!” I thought at first this was some motto crafted for visitors and that the locals working in tourism were annoyingly obligated to say. However as we toured a three-generation family farm, I started to catch the vision of the pure life as the current farm manager described how growing organically was best for his family. As I processed what he was saying about not having a huge coffee bean harvest this year and having no regrets about not using chemicals, I thought about the learning and growing experiences his family has probably had over the years. Later on during the week I found myself sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of another farm, taking in the ambiance of farm life. As fire flies came out in the evening air, I smiled and said to myself, this is la pura vida.
Even though I only experienced a small part of it, Costa Rica was beautiful in so many ways. From cloud forests to coffee farms, from women’s co-ops to humble villagers, from zip-lining through forest canopies to long drives on dirt roads, and so much more that I hope to experience in the future, Costa Rica is the perfect embodiment of the pure life! Check out the utarica15 hashtag on Instagram for pictures!
Day 1: Slight flight delay due to a volcano eruption!
Day 2: Monteverde Cloud Forest, CASEM Women’s Arts and Craft’s Co-op
Day 3: Ecobambu paper-making microenterprise, Vargas Family Farm and soap-making microenterprise
Day 4: Cafetal Coffee Farm, Canopy zipline tour
Day 5-7: Service in Los Tornos surveying different members of the community to determine the possibility of developing a community garden project.