Before heading down to Costa Rica, I had no idea that it would be one of the best trips that I would ever take and that it would impact me so greatly.
Now back in New York City, I have been trying to wrap my arms around why I loved it so much. Three main things come to mind:
1) First and foremost, it was a phenomenal group of people on the trip. Despite the fact that almost none of us had ever met before, we all got along really, really well. No drama, very easy, and everyone was extremely likeable.
Additionally, the individuals from EARTH University who hosted and took us around Costa Rica were beyond gracious. Their warmth and concern for our well-being was just truly amazing.
On my flight back home from San Jose to Miami, I happened to sit next to someone who graduated from EARTH University in 1999. One of the things I told him was that I couldn’t get over how great the service was in Costa Rica, and he totally agreed. It’s a commitment to service that we just don’t have in the U.S., and the people from EARTH University certainly went above and beyond anything that we could have imagined.
2) The trip to Costa Rica was incredibly educational and inspirational. As I mentioned in my video, visiting EARTH University is probably the highlight of my two years doing livingmaxwell. This is an institution that is really changing the world and doing it with impoverished youth in developing countries.
I loved going onto the banana plantation and learning about all aspects of sustainable banana production.
Meeting the women entrepreneurs who receive microloans from the Whole Planet Foundation really moved me.
And it was fascinating to see how EARTH University is deploying biodigesters into poor, local farming communities. Since most farms have animals, the waste ends up in rivers and gets into the water supply.
The biodigester (see video below) is an inexpensive way to convert the waste to methane, which can be used as electricity. In the process, money is saved, less global warming will occur, the water supply won’t be polluted, and trees won’t have to be cut down (as a source of heat).
When we were installing a biodigester on a farmer’s property, he showed us a noni tree. I’ve seen noni juice many, many times before in health food stores but never knew what the actual fruit looked like.
3) Lastly, I loved being back in Latin America. Speaking Spanish is a huge passion of mine, and I am fascinated by all things Latin – the food, the people, the music, the language, the outlook on life, the history.
Despite having spent a lot of time throughout the region, mostly in Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico, this was my first time back in more than a decade. And I guess I realized just how much I missed it.
I hope you enjoyed all of my posts and videos from Costa Rica. It was a very special week.