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A New Condition: Sustainable Agriculture in Costa Rica

By Jason Park, VI Form

A New Condition: Sustainable Agriculture in Costa Rica

During a summer program last year, I developed a deep, heartfelt connection to Costa Rica – more specifically, an organic farm. Located in Chilamate, the farm is owned and operated by Don Daniel, his wife, and his son. Our group designed, prepared, and built a mandala garden based on permaculture principles. As an ardent supporter of organic farming, Don Daniel showed us how he gathers manure and creates organic fertilizers for his farm. We combined all the necessary ingredients – sawdust, mulch, pig/cow manure, calcium, and microorganisms – in order to use the fertilizer as we built the garden bed. As a symbol of warmth and peace, the sun was our design of choice. Not only has our service to Don Daniel established a mutual bond, but listening to his story also evoked a mixed sensation of poignancy and respect. In fact, my interaction with Don Daniel and his history and wisdom advance beyond the physical parameters.

The Mandala

Following the completed work, Don Daniel and his wife treated us with warm Costa Rican coffee and yuca fries from the yucas we harvested earlier that day. We sat around the tables, facing Don Daniel. He smiled during every moment we shared, but this moment seemed difficult for Don Daniel to cope with as he was about to share his life story. 

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I Go Back to Limón Because of Love

By Sam Lauten, VI Form

I Go Back to Limón Because of Love

unnamed-2“Reading is just not a part of the culture here.” I blinked at the man standing before me, not quite sure how to respond. Five years, thousands of dollars, and dozens of hours on planes, buses, and on foot had been poured into building the “Learning Center” we now stood in. I had spent days drafting and rewriting my application to multiple grants, citing so many hopes and plans of how we were going to change so many lives bringing books and computers to the underprivileged children of Limón, Costa Rica. Now, there I was, standing in the embodiment of all of those dreams, being told that everything I had done was in vain. (more…)