Along with our students, we move from the EARTH campus in Guácimo, with pervasive greenery from the constant rains of the humid tropics, to the EARTH- La Flor campus in Liberia, Guanacaste, with sepia golden tones painted by the tenacious sun characteristic of the dry tropic in midsummer. It is here where, for seven weeks, EARTH third-year students have the real-world experience of being leaders in sustainable development in Costa Rica’s dry tropics. During this time, they live with a host family in the community, spending two days working in a local business, two days doing community service and one day dedicated to academic activities at the La Flor campus.
Diego Delgado (’14, Costa Rica) and Aloyce Gonzaga (’14, Kenya) are surrounded by children from the Buenavista school in the community that carries the same name, located in Guanacaste. There, at an improvised volleyball court, they celebrate their “Sports Day.”
However, rather than just playing with the children, these EARTH students have decided to share their knowledge.
After having invited, house by house, all members of the community to get involved in a project to make soap out of oil and having no one show up, Diego and Aloyce decided to focus their project on children. In that way, through them, future generations are carrying the message of sustainability to the Buenavista households.
“The children collect 1,000 milliliters of used oil, and they take home 500 grams of soap,” Diego explains.
The soap is produced in a laboratory that belongs to the Buenavista Hotel, as a part of the hotel’s social commitment, where the students work at the beginning of each week.
“It’s a way for children to learn not to throw away oil, which is a huge source of contamination,” Aloyce explains. He also works with fifth and sixth grade students selling lemonade as a way to promote entrepreneurship. “The idea is to encourage the kids to start creating their products, do marketing and learn how to segment the market, as we do at EARTH.” Aloyce adds, “With this they learn to think as entrepreneurs at a young age.”
Under the bright sun of the dry tropics, from the hands of EARTH students, these projects begin to shed new hope in these communities. We thank YOU for your support of our students, which allows this innovative education model to reach communities, such as Buenavista!
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