How a Costa Rican Farmer Taught Me an Important Life Lesson
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Friday, September 21st, is the International Day of Peace. Traveling has the power to bring together people who otherwise wouldn’t interact. It has the power to connect people and create more awareness in the world. Traveling can bridge gaps and promote peace. I recently went to visit an organic farm in Costa Rica and met the farmer, Daniel. I was struck by the man’s passion for what he does. He doesn’t just farm.
He takes care of the land, and the animals who live on the land, so they can thrive together. For him, farming was almost like a meditation or philosophy of the way to live one’s life. He stressed the importance of loving the earth, and when you love the earth, it gives you even more love back. I thought this was a powerful philosophy to take back and to keep in mind for my own life.
When I travel to developing countries, I like to try to bring donations for families in need. For my recent trip to Costa Rica, I emailed our hotel, and asked if they knew of any non-profit groups in the area. She suggested that I sign-up for a half day trip to a local organic farm for an organic lunch and a tour of the farm. I asked if there were any specific donations they needed, and she said that anything I could bring would really be appreciated.
So, thanks to Southwest Airlines’ generous baggage policy, I packed 3 suitcases full (~49 pounds each!). Donations don’t have to cost a lot. You can bring toiletries from hotels and kids’ toys and clothes.
During our visit, we learned about the farmer’s life. He raises chickens and pigs, and cultivates pepper and vanilla. Everything is organic. Daniel spoke with pride that he did not use any chemicals. He talked a lot about the love he has for the farm. When he shows love to his earth, it produces more and gives back to him.
The farmer showed us his pepper plants. He sells the pepper to local restaurants and hotels across Costa Rica. I learned what the ripe pepper looks like and collected some for drying and processing.
He has pigs, and they help produce waste for compost that provides nutrients for the plants. I really had fun feeding the hungry pigs.
He loved that he didn’t have buy expensive fertilizer with chemicals and instead can use something organic (and free!) from the farm.
After we worked around the farm for a bit, we transferred all of donations. The little boy on the farm helped unload everything and got to choose a toy in exchange for his help. I could have taken him back home with me!
Volunteering at a farm in Costa Rica was transformative for me because I feel like I got to know the locals on another level. They taught me important life lessons for which I am very grateful! I hope that I can return to this farm again soon and help out more.
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