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This day has been sponsored by : Diana Draghici


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Week 1 Day 2 - "Costa Rica"

The main reason I chose to volunteer with Cross Cultural Solutions is because I very much identify with their focus on the following three aspects: cultural exchange, education, and humanitarian work. In addition to the volunteer work, we have activities supporting these factors. e.g. we had a guest speaker, historian Ugalde, introducing us to the geography, history, and politics of Costa Rica. A few of the things I learned, I want to share today...

Costa Rica borders Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, the Atlantic / Carribean Sea to the east and the Pacific to the west. There are mountain ranges in the center of the country, from the north west to the south east with peaks up to 3800 meters. From those mountains in the center, many rivers flow right and left to the Atlantic and Pacific. As a result, Costa Rica has a lot of fresh water and produces approx. 90% of their energy through hydroelectric plants.

Politically, Costa Rica is the Switzerland of Central America: neutral and peaceful. Costa Rica has been a democracy for well over a century with only two smaller upheavals in the 1900s, the last one in 1948 which led to approx. 2000 deaths (compare this with the numbers in your country last century!). Very recently, there have been a couple "scandals" involving corruption of a president by a European cell phone company.

Products you will recognize from Costa Rica are their bananas (Chiquita, Dole) or their coffee which you can drink at Starbucks. As you can see on one of today's pictures, we even have a little coffee plant in the backyard of Casa Maria Cristina. Today, however, tourism is the biggest source of income. Not too long ago, Costa Rica joined a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.A.. Intel is already a big employer here, and more U.S. companies are expected to invest. As a result, for better jobs in the future, English will become more and more important. That is why many volunteer placements involve teaching English; including teaching English to local English teachers.

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For today's sponsor:

Diana, I wish I could write all this in Romanian for you... but no. However, the one thing I can say is: La mulți ani!!!