Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Maury Place Innkeeper Travel Diary | Arbolitos Costa Rica

This week, I am sharing my experiences traveling with friends Janet and Sharon in Costa Rica. We are visiting SIGA Ministries, a nonprofit organization serving an area in the north of that country.  Having enjoyed a relaxing day in San Jose, yesterday we traveled to the village of Arbolitors, where SIGA does its work.

Costa Rica is a country known for its luxury vacation resorts and spas, but it also has remote areas with extreme poverty.  Arbolitos is a village near the Nicaraguan border, so remote that we traveled there by boat.  SIGA, a ministry run by Ruth and her husband Carlos, serve a number of communities in the area, including one village in Nicaragua.

Rural areas of Costa Rica and Latin America often have only rudimentary educational opportunities.  Some students go through school without ever seeing a textbook, and most students drop out before finishing high school.  SIGA works with local schools by providing textbooks, teaching classes, and providing support to teachers.  SIGA also works to support local pastors, and plans to begin a program of pastoral education.

Today we traveled by boat to a school in Baca del Toro, at the mouth (baca) of the Toro River.  Janet did a crafts project with the students, and the students practiced their English. Following lunch, Janet and Sharon visited a local woman who is starting her own business, supported by SIGA.  Janet is pastor at Richmond's Gayton Kirk Presbyterian Church and a board member of SIGA.

This area of Costa Rica is beautiful, and we are enjoying our time here, this being the first time any of has visited the country.  We will see more of the area tomorrow, and then fly back Richmond VA on Friday.

Mac Pence
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeeper at Maury Place at Monument