Ten days in Costa Rica is not enough. Long live Pura Vida. I had the privilege to travel with a mission group that was there to do dental, medical and construction work, as well as offer programs for the children.
Three things stand out to me about Costa Rica–vibrant colors (frogs, birds, forests, paint…), amazing food, and kind and generous people. Add to that an army that was constitutionally abolished in 1948, and you have the makings of a fine country.
Unfortunately, I lost my camera. I later heard a line of a song that went something like, “They can’t take from you what you’ve already given away.”
The town where we stayed closed it’s only gas station when a petrol leak was discovered. Now the closest station is 1 hr 45 min away at the bottom of the mountain. They bring up cans of gas when they return from the world at large. They’d rather be inconvenienced than pollute their waterway.
I met an Adventist who works in one of the nature reserves, and she is seeing geographical population shifts among animal species that she attributes to global warming. Interesting stories that will likely show up on AEA.
I brought home a t-shirt with the words No Army. Costa Rica abolished its military some 50 years ago. Compare that with Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the South. It’s the Switzerland of Central America, if you will.
Quotes from Wikipedia:
Costa Rica was the first country in the world to constitutionally abolish its army. Among Latin American countries, Costa Rica ranks 4th in terms of the 2007 Human Development Index, and 48th worldwide. Costa Rica is ranked 5th in the world in terms of the 2008 Environmental Performance Index, up from the 15th place in 2006. In 2007 the government of Costa Rica stated that they want to be the first country to become carbon neutral by 2021.
On December 1, 1948, President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa Rica abolished the country’s army after victory in the civil war in that year. In a ceremony in the Cuartel Bellavista, Figueres broke a wall with a mallet symbolizing the end of Costa Rica’s military spirit. In 1949, the abolition of the military was introduced in the Article 12 of the Costa Rican Constitution.
The budget previously dedicated to the military now is dedicated to security, education and culture; the country maintains Police Guard forces.
Unlike its neighbors [Nicaragua & Panama], Costa Rica has not endured a civil war since 1948.
More personal stories and reflections to come…