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Cartago y Caribe: Let The Project Begin!

Primero que todo…

¡Conoce al Staff del programa Cartago y Caribe! Nuestra directora Fiona, la coordinadora de Salud y bienestar Liz y nuestros coordinadores de proyecto Emma y Kevin. Han trabajado arduamente en la planificación de todo el programa creando aventuras y experiencias increíbles para los estudiantes. Estamos iniciando ahora mismo, Sesión A está aquí!


Meet the Cartago y Caribe Staff! Our Director Fiona, Health and Wellness Coordinator Liz, and our Project Coordinators Emma and Kevin. We have been hard at work planning the entire program and creating amazing adventures and experiences for the students. We are starting right now…Session A is here!


Cartago y Caribe Session A, Week 1 – Journal Entry

We’ve had a great journey these past few days, in our Spanish classes and a lot of volunteer work among the green hills of Turrialba! We were also able to take a night walk through the Botanical Garden area, where with our flashlights we were able to observe different species of frogs around us, a great adventure full of adrenaline! We are very excited about this great adventure. We have also been able to do outdoor activities, like walks near the lake or Zumba with our project coordinator Kevin! It was incredible.


After waking up to a delicious breakfast from the Catie staff, we could hardly contain our anticipation for all the exciting activities that were to come.
On the bus ride to the remote 1,000-person town of Monumento Guayabo, we all were in awe of the raging rivers, stray dogs, and smiling people waving at us. Doña Rosa was one of the many women entrepreneurs who gave us a history lesson on how job opportunities are available even if one does not live in a big city. Unfortunately, none of these fun experiences come for free, but rather are earned through hard work such as preparing the ground for a new bodega and scrubbing at fence posts. Though it may sound terrible, I personally couldn’t complain since I was asking about the ages of the month-old cows in front of me and admiring the mountains shrouded in morning mist.

Traveling to another business made up of women (specifically a mother-daughter duo), we thankfully ate a delicious meal containing all organic food from their backyard (literally). The afternoon got even better when we were rewarded for our hard work with petting cows and milking them ourselves. Using the milk that we had gathered, we went through a long process of cutting, draining, and finally eating artisanal cheese. My favorite of the many women entrepreneurs was the woman who owned and ran the farm with her family, most commonly referred to as “la mujer de queso”.

The most recent excursion brought us to a small cacao farm where there is a strong focus on sustainability and producing high quality, rich chocolate. The couple owning the farm were very kind and happy to answer all of our questions about the process for harvesting, fermenting, drying, and grinding the cacao to make the paste that is molded into chocolate. We were lucky enough to try our hand at making some chocolate ourselves. After peeling the husks off of the cacao beans, we ground them and added whatever flavors, spices, and sugar or milk that we wanted to make our own personal flavor of chocolate. Some turned out better than others… but we all really enjoyed the experience. 

Additionally, we were able to tour the farm and gained valuable insight on how bigger companies mass produce cacao in a way that is often very harmful to the local environment and unfair to the workers. Our new understanding of the importance of checking the sources of the goods that we purchase involves considering sustainability and whether the methods used are ethical. This opportunity was both extremely fun and educational, making it my personal favorite so far!




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