Land of Milk and Coffee

For most of September and October, our home is in Los Ángeles, a small village in the foothills of Costa Rica’s highest peak.

The cooler climate here sees cows grazing on hillsides and coffee growing everywhere.

We’re fortunate enough to be staying with a family who grow a large variety of fruit and vegetables on their land: avocados, bananas, beans, lemons, oranges, plantains, tomatoes and yucas. Not forgetting the main crop, of course, which is coffee.

Our typical day begins with waking up at 6am. It is rainy season here, however the mornings are typically clear with rain arriving in the afternoon. Getting up is made a little easier by the incredible surroundings.

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Los Ángeles has few services, but about 2km down the track in the next village essentials such as bus stop, public phone, corner store, bakery, bar and organic chocolate shop (!) can be found.

We’re volunteering in the area through Proyecto San Gerardo, teaching English and computing at the local school, working with adults on their English conversation skills and helping small businesses improve their IT processes. Spare time is taken with hiking, mountain biking and puncture repairs!

The surrounding scenery is quite stunning, with hills, fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls aplenty.

The flora is also varied and impressive. Fruit and exotic flowers grow in abundance, with almost human-sized leaves in some cases!

We had the additional fortune of our stay coinciding with the celebration of Costa Rica’s independence on the 14th and 15th September. On the evening of the 14th, lanterns are lit in honour of the torches by which the message of freedom spread all the way down from Guatemala 195 years ago.

The following morning, we witnessed street processions – involving much music, traditional dress and dancing – in the nearest city, San Isidro de El General.

We have an overwhelming feeling that we’re really in the right place here. Having committed to seven weeks without knowing exactly what to expect, the experience so far has been far beyond our hopes, especially in terms of the deeper insight we’re now getting into life in the Costa Rican countryside.

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