Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Talamanca: Service Project Gold Mine

Looking for community service in Costa Rica? From school improvements and building libraries to water systems and chocolate harvesting, Shawn and Laura found it all.

A common practice of Costa Rica Outward Bound office staff and instructors is to scope out new areas for outdoor challenges, new homestay families, and of course, community service. Last weekend, Community Service Coordinator, Shawn Pendergrass, and Laura Statesir, our Program Director, visited indigenous communities in Talamanca (of the Limón Province in the southeaster part of Costa Rica near the Panamanian border) where they found a large variety of projects for future students.

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The area is home to indigenous populations of the Bribri and Cabécar peoples. Because of limited opportunities and limited support from the government, these areas often lack access to good education, healthcare, water and electricity.

Over the weekend, Shawn and Laura met with Peace Corps Volunteers and community leaders to discuss possible collaborations between the communities and Costa Rica Outward Bound to better the quality of life in a sustainable way, encourage the preservation of their unique culture and traditions, and help them get ahead by opening up windows of opportunities for them.

Some of the projects that are being considered include providing books and other materials for schools that have little or none of these things, painting schools, building recycling centers in the villages, micro-financing projects, working with a local women's group that runs a small cacao/chocolate production business, organic farming projects, and installing a new water system to provide an entire village with safe and reliable water.

We here at Costa Rica Outward Bound and the villages themselves are very excited about working together to bring these projects to fruition. If you're interested in bringing a group down to work on one of these projects specifically, please contact Shawn Pendergrass at custom@crrobs.org.

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