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Volunteer Blog: My Experience With Social and Environmental Responsibility in Costa Rica

Life is full of stories, and my story begins in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. The Osa Peninsula is located on the southwest coast of the Pacific Ocean, and it houses the Corcovado National Park. This trip allowed me to live a fantastic human experience.


Why the Osa Peninsula?

  • It is one of the places with the highest density of biodiversity on earth. Also, it is home to 2.5% of all the species living on the planet.

  • The National Geographic magazine highlights the Osa Peninsula as “the most biologically intense place on earth and an example of conservation.”

  • We can find the Corcovado National Park at the Osa Peninsula, a place that attracts many visitors from around the world. It is considered one of the ten best National Parks in the World by Discover Corps.

  • You have great opportunities for making a positive impact while traveling by engaging with rural tourism and ecotourism by visiting family farms and indigenous reserves.

  • It is an example of sustainability in which the community has committed to conservation. They work consciously on taking care of protected areas, and there are various projects focused on social and environmental responsibility with great missions. I felt fully happy about and connected to all these organizational missions that seek to contribute to the world.

The Higuerones Coop

I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Higuerones Coop in Puerto Jiménez. The Higuerones Coop is a center that aims to strengthen social, cultural, economic, and environmental equality. It is committed to re-establish community ties with local producers to enhance their economic well-being. Also, the Higuerones projects collaborate with the economic and environmental reactivation. Furthermore, all activities are performed with respect and love towards the community of the Osa Peninsula.


I loved that they applied rainwater recycling, composting with organic waste, garbage classification, and the least use of plastic was always encouraged. The Higuerones Coop promotes solidarity and encourages people to slow high clothing consumption by having a place for exchanging clothes.

I believe the world would be a better place to live in if we could imitate their principles and implement them in our daily life.

Thanks to my experience with the Higuerones Coop, I started to be more conscious about the food I ate, more aware of the quality of the food, and the social and environmental impact of our food system.

We made purchases directly from the producers, as a result, we helped local producers, and I began to eat healthier. I became more respectful towards our food, aware of what we ate, and more grateful for being able to consume them.



Mercado Verde

Every Saturday the Mercado Verde takes place, a commercial initiative that was created after the pandemic. The Mercado helps local producers on the Peninsula, by creating a space for collaboration and promotion of organic products, local food, pastries, and crafts. It is a place for social gatherings where culture, art, and the exchange of knowledge are promoted. All of these activities take place within the Cooperative´s facilities.


You will always find Producers such as Chiki, Sonia, Olga, Esther, Haydee, Marjorie, Eida, Gerardo, and Elizabeth.





Las Cajas Verdes

Every Monday the solidarity project of ¨Las Cajas Verdes” was brought around. These Abundancy Boxes promote sharing food with people in a state of vulnerability on the Osa Peninsula.


These versions of “Las cajas verdes “contain organic products produced by local farmers and delivered through an organization. A nice initiative of solidarity.



Manos Cambiadas

Every Wednesday the Cooperative organized “Manos Cambiadas”. This is an initiative to create community support, reaching out to local people and organizations to help one another. Generosity, kindness, and love are characteristics of the people who join this voluntary cause, and in this way contribute to a culture of cooperation.


I participated by supporting the farm of Don Lucas by helping him with planting and exchanging seeds to diversify crops. With these cooperative activities, we can all contribute to the regeneration of the beloved Osa and her community.






ReGenerOsa

In March 2022, Glenn Page, one of the founders and design developers of The Story of Place, visited the Osa Peninsula with a group of regenerators from different countries.

During the 3-day tour, Glenn Page and company visited different areas and local communities to learn about the different conditions faced by people who live on the Peninsula, a community dinner was organized at the Cooperative facilities, to create a space where the local community could share their ideas and experiences while connecting with the visitors.


This event was very important in the process of mapping the natural systems of the Osa Peninsula, creating the basis for a new history that can later be shared with the world. Many people and organizations are committed to cooperating with regeneration.



The Higuerones Coop has a great commitment to the revitalization of the entire Osa Peninsula looking at climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and growing social inequity.


My experience was very gratifying, I thank Tricia Stapleton, leader of the Higuerones Project for her generosity and her love for all the people who came to the Peninsula. Mrs. Stapleton’s social leadership is generating a great change in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica and inspiring many more to follow her steps. My love and gratitude forever.



Written by Gabriela Vera Montenegro.



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