Written by Steven Tichenor, Student
Edited by Mr. Moreland
My experience here in Costa Rica taught me many lessons of its people and its culture. Ever since we got here, there has been a smile on each and every person's face and many strangers have smiled wider and said "Pura Vida" which means, "The good life". It's so shocking that everybody here is not only welcoming to us outsiders, but also caring that we are here to help. This can be seen all throughout the streets of San Jose, but it didn't really hit me until we got to Quebrada Arroyo.
In Quebrada Arroyo, the conditions aren't top notch, but we met some fabulous people who let us into their community as if we were family. We met Don Miguel, Corona, Victor, and Victor Hugo. Don Miguel was the leader of the group, Corona is the wife of Victor and the cook for our group, Victor is a farmer who lives nearby, and Victor Hugo is Victor's son who helps out.
Don Miguel and Corona fed us three meals a day of beans and rice and made sure we had everything we needed. This type of treatment normally would be expected, especially if we were staying at a hotel, but we weren't! We were staying in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest and I wasn't expecting them to treat us as amazingly as they did. They did so, because they care and because they enjoy helping and teaching others about the rainforest and their community. This wasn't just seen by how they treated us, but how well they treated the animals and plants around them.
Quebrada Arroyo is a remote rainforest community that has to build most of their own roads, houses, and schools. For three days we helped move rocks, cinder blocks, and dirt in order to build a house for the local elementary school teacher. Moving these things wasn't easy and the work was in extremely hot and humid conditions . When we were completing these various tasks, however, everybody was pitching in. Whether it was Victor Hugo or teacher Jenny, everybody was willing to lend a helping hand. It was with that collective mentality that helped build their school, the houses that Victor and Miguel live in, the roads that allow people to get around, and help build the community as a whole. They work harder than anybody I've ever known; and they do so with the sweat of their brow and by putting their heart into their work. I have never truly met people who are so genuinely caring and happy to meet and learn from the outside population. It is incredible and I will never forget the open-hearted people of Quebrada Arroyo.