Today was day 3 of our trip and the first real day in Rancho Quemado. We started the day by waking up and having breakfast, in which the staff gave us the most amazing cheese empanadas, rice/beans, and fruit. We then visited a community member’s farm just off his property. He showed us all the plants growing there which included pineapples, sugarcane, bananas, yucca, chocolate (cacao), vanilla, coffee, plants that offered medicinal purposes/antioxidants, and even a plant that acted as a natural shampoo! It was so cool seeing and hearing about these plants because we realized how natural everything was, which is a change of pace from food in America which is often artificial. Afterward, he took us to his garden and let us eat a bunch of the food. So we ate coconut, natural hot chocolate, some of the fruits, banana and yuca chips with bean dip, and a banana ice cream composed of pretty much just frozen bananas and cocoa. Overall, it was amazing to try/see the foods and understand where some people got the majority of their food. For lunch, we had chicken or avocados and potatoes with rice/beans. The next part was downtime where I and my cabinmates worked on a puzzle we bought at the airport whilst reading a little bit about the ranch. We realized through reading how much Rancho Quemado depends on ecotourism for the sake of their livelihood and natural environment. This is because the Osa Peninsula, where it’s located, is very impoverished, illiterate, and subject to environmental destruction by big businesses compared to the rest of Costa Rica. So ecotourism brings awareness to these issues. Then we went to the ranch’s library, where we planned out what to paint later on in the week on lampposts in the town and the park in groups. My group decided to stick to a nature theme and I think the project is cool because it allows us to leave our mark on the area. Finally, some of the guys played basketball with local kids before we went to dinner and had soup with rice. Then we celebrated the birthday of a member of the kitchen staff, Johanka, with a cake and it was off to bed. Ultimately, I think it was a great first day and I can’t wait for tomorrow.
23rd of June, 2022
Costa Rica I