In Costa Rica, community is everything. The pura vida way is built around the idea that friends, family, and neighbors are all united and care for each other both in times of happiness and hardship. During the pandemic, this way of life may seem hard to live up to. With stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and friends and family falling ill, the best way to protect the community is by staying apart from one another.
But even with these challenges, the people of Costa Rica have managed to come together and care for each other. Whether it’s sport fishing companies donating food baskets, or individuals working to help a friend or family member, ticos are showing the world how to unify a community even when everyone is physically apart.
First Grader Gabriel Solís Sells Succulents to Buy His Schoolmate a Computer
When Gabriel Solís returned to first grade online, he was surprised to see that his best friend wasn’t present. Gabri had been so excited to see his friend after a long separation, but his schoolmate didn’t have a computer at home. Gabri knew he couldn’t let his friend fall behind and miss out on classes and the chance to visit with friends, and he was determined to help. He decided to raise money to buy his classmate a computer.
Gabri had already been selling succulents online as a hobby. Now, knowing that his classmate was in need, Gabri reached out to his customers and supporters. In a Facebook video, he announced: “If you want to help me, you can make a donation and I will give you a suculenta.”
Gabri was delighted to find that not only did his community gladly donate money to the fund, but many others offered their own used equipment to families in need.
On May 9th, Gabri reached his goal and distributed all 200 of his succulents.
But the generosity did not end there. Several companies reached out, offering to supply Gabri with more succulents, and both Gallo and Grupo Monge offered equipment to the community for children without computers. All told, Gabri raised ₡ 800 thousand, or $1,388.50, which he and his family are donating to Monterrey School, in San Pedro de Montes de Oca.
National Learning Institute Supplies Medical Workers with PPE
With health care equipment running short everywhere, the National Learning Institute of Costa Rica (INA) has come up with a plan to supply 13,000 face shields to health care workers across the country.
In Costa Rica, private and public companies have come together to support their community. The Technological Institute of Costa Rica (TEC) designed the shields, while the INA’s 3D Modeling and Printing Laboratory produces the shields.
This collaboration allows INA and TEC to both be a part of the Coronavirus solution and show their front-line health care workers that they support them. It also allows these companies to work with the local community. The local health board has approved the TEC face shield designs, meaning that, once work resumes, local businesses and workers could take part in this industry to help revive the Costa Rican economy.
Through this effort, INA and TEC have aligned themselves with the Local Supply Initiative for Personal Protective Equipment (ALEPP), a program that strikes at the Coronavirus using local efforts to aid communities across the country.
Costa Rica’s Sport Fishing Association Donates Food Baskets
With the pandemic keeping tourists in their home countries and cutting down on the market for fish, many areas of Costa Rica are struggling to stay afloat. Restrictions on daily activity may help slow the Coronavirus outbreak, but they aren’t helping the livelihoods of many fishermen on the coasts of the country.
In the face of this hardship, the country’s national sport fishing federation (FECOP) has taken initiative to fill the gap. FECOP normally uses its influence to support sustainable sport-fishing, conservation, and the development of fishing regulations, but with members of its community in such dire circumstances, FECOP re-routed its funding to distribute food baskets to hard-hit communities on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.
FECOP filled its baskets with staple foods like rice, beans, and cooking oil to support families in need. In May, FECOP ran a second food drive, sending out more parcels to areas all around the country with help from their regional councils in Guanacaste, Quepos, Golfo Dulce, and Limón. The Brujas del Mar (Witches of the Sea) co-op in Puntarenas delivered baskets in their area. While the Amigos de Turismo Costero y Pesca (Friends of Coastal Tourism and Fishing) distributed supplies in the southern zone of Costa Rica.
The Pura Vida Spirit Endures
Even as the Coronavirus strikes at communities across the globe, Costa Rica maintains its spirit of cooperation and community. It may be hard to say Buenas! to neighbors in isolation, but the compassion that runs through the heart of the country makes an impact both online and in person, through the unity and solidarity of its people.