Sampling the Sweet Successes of a Family Run Farm and Giving Back to the Community

Programs for this blog post

Climate Change Mitigation

Authored By:

Chris Jeney

Torrential downpours during lightning storms with high winds are the norm for the Monteverde community. CIEE has done a spectacular job creating safe spaces to wait out the storm, and just as quick as it comes in the storm, wind, and rain subside. Such were then events of the last evening. Students pulled close together at their chosen location for the evening: closely watching a flick in the Rec Room, comfortably enjoying the light and sound show from the deck of the reception area, or simply lounging and laughing back in their cabins. Life was good, or more aptly as is said in Costa Rica, "Pura Vida!"

Boy-oh-BOY! Today was filled with plenty of exercise peppered with sight-seeing, sweet treats, and even more hard work at a community garden. Our morning started with a quick huddle at our classroom to receive an overview of our mission and off we went trekking through the jungle. As we hiked up the mountain to a locally run family farm our heads swiveled and bobbed between searching for wildlife along the way. Once we reached our location, students gathered around to hear the sustainable and resourceful practices used at the Florencia Family Farm. A few of the students even volunteered to help translate so everyone could understand and learn with each other. The final event at the farm included a gracious and grand assortment of sugar cane, sugar cane juice, berries, and bananas that were quickly and happily consumed by the hungry youth. Then back to campus we headed for more refueling and off to our next adventure!

In the afternoon we left campus to head to a community garden setup and in fine Monteverde style were blessed with gorgeous views along the way seeing all the way to the Bay and clear views of the Pacific Ocean. Let's be honest, sometimes school community service hours can be a little bogus, both fulfilling them and what activities are for those hours. But let me tell you this, these kids earned their service hours today. Straight from the mouth of the Community Garden Director, "What you guys did in these two hours would have taken me and my colleague an entire week."

This group of young people is destined for great accomplishments far and beyond their wildest dreams. I am honored to stand beside them as they launch into new experiences and I cannot wait to see how they learn and adapt from struggles and soak up their successes. 

***Note to Caretakers/Parents: Since this is my last blog for the trip i thought I'd come clean... I am a horrible photographer. I apologize for my amateur abilities when it comes to properly capturing your young one's faces. That being said, I do thing I improved somewhat, especially in the group photo category. My style, if you can call it that, is mostly in the candid category. I like to try and capture the moment and the energy within it, but I've found that's even more difficult than organizing a gaggle of youngsters to stand in frame and smile with their eyes open at the same time. Beyond pictures, I value storytelling. It seems to be a quickly dying art amoung young people, not to mention the act of appearing face-to-face. So I hope the moments I've captured merely act as a prompt, a jump-off point to spark a memory that can only be explained through the spoken word. I want your loved one's face to light up when showing their friends these images and yell and scream, or whisper and bring their hand up to cover their mouth to muffle the sound. Photos and phones will eventually turn into dust, but memories and stories told with love are everlasting.