On Sunday I moved in with a local family for a week.
I’ve stayed with families in the past, but this is the first time I’m paying to do so. I pay the school, the school pays the family. For $125 I get six nights of lodging and two meals a day. This means the family is attentive to my needs but it also means the whole thing feels more like an economic transaction than a real cultural experience. The family hosts a student almost every week of the year, so the novelty has long worn off. The two kids haven’t asked me a question about anything, and the mother is very kind and sits with me at dinner in case I want to ask her something (in Spanish)…but being open to answer my questions is different than a conversation. All in all, though, even if only viewed through an economic lens, it’s still a helluva deal as the meals are hearty and bed comfortable.
Their house basic but livable. This is rural Costa Rica so hot showers, internet, a/c, etc etc rarely are found in homes (and hotels), including mine.
The TV is on all day and night (until they go to bed). They mostly watch cartoons or telenovelas. The kids eat all their meals in front of the TV. I hear this is how it works in most families here — the dominance of a TV in the house is a sign of being poor, I’m guessing, in any country.
The “neighborhood” is a mix of shacks and small houses, with dirt roads and the occasional paved road (which has potholes). Due to the rain, the roads are almost always flooded and more than once I’ve had no choice but to walk through muddy puddles which come up to my calves. In the distance I can see the beach and palm trees; it’s a beautiful sight.
Kids run around without shoes, socks, or shirts.
2 comments on “Staying with a Family in Rural Costa Rica”
I have never been to there but would like to visit at once.
La Gran Vista, located just outside San Isidro de General in South Pacific Costa Rica, is an Environmental Conservation Project where students, volunteers, and visitors can learn how a tropical organic farm functions. We are an Educational Institute where individuals can learn how to milk a cow, harvest a mango tree, or use medicinal herbs. La Gran Vista gives everyone an opportunity to learn about life at its most basic form and exist in a fully sustainable community.
We are happy to receive volunteers, student groups, families, and environmental interns from abroad. In addition, eco-tourism organizations send groups of volunteers to La Gran Vista every year to participate in the project.
We offer opportunities for undergraduate groups, ASB, graduate students, and researchers to pursue specific interests or field work pertaining to sustainability and organic farming. Students looking to pursue a career in sustainability will have the opportunity to have practical experience that will be invaluable to their future endeavors.
We believe that the best way to preserve our Planet is for everyone to be active and lend a helping hand to Mother Nature. The problems are right in front of us, from greenhouse gases to massive landfills, pesticides in our food, and unclean drinking water, making it EVERYONE’S responsibility to wake up and live a more responsible life.
We cannot change the world in a day, but if we all do our part we can change the course of history. So start today and join us in our attempt to create a more sustainable future.
Thanks for your help and please contact us for more information about La Gran Vista. We are looking for partnerships. We are receiving groups.
Ing Agr. Donald Villalobos
La Gran Vista Agroecological Farm
San Isidro del General, Costa Rica
E- Mail: [email protected]
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