Blog Questons and Answers 4/27/09

First Name: Don
Submitted Question: After seeing the pictures of the home stay I'm left wondering about what we would call modern conveniences, and what we are used to having here in the US. From the pictures I saw evidence that the farm house had electricity, but what about communicating to the rest of the community. Did they have a telephone, and if so was it a wired phone like we have in our houses? In many 'developing' countries they are by-passing the many years we spent on hanging telephone wires everywhere, and
instead they are going right to wireless cell or wifi phones. Did you see any thing like that?
Hi Don. Interesting that you ask about phones, because I did snap this shot of Fernando to catch his communication. Jason and Scott joked that maybe Fernando was checking his stocks! Actually you're right, most phone service is through cells. Fernando also gave us an email address at Earth that we can write to and the message will be transferred to them. I got the sense that they valued these technologies but used them in a limited way.

Did they have a television in their house? If so, did you see an antenna, or satellite dish, or how did it receive stations. What about the other areas you've been so far, have you seen televisions?
Did they have a radio in the house, and use it to keep up on the news or music? Do the people that you've met there seem to be informed on International new items?
They did have a TV but you and I would probably not be able to watch it, it was so static. Isa told us that people all have TVs , they would almost rather have a TV than eat. I think they are satellite, but I'm not sure. I'll ask and look around for satellites or antennas.The older daughter also had a CD player that was playing rap or hip hop as she did her homework. As far as current events we asked Fernando about Obama and he said they have great hope because of our new president. He also said that our economy really effects their lives. We hear that over and over here - I keep hearing it called the "crisis".

What about any machinery on their farm? Do they use a tractor, or any other items we might see on a standard farm in the US?
I didn't see any heavy machinery but it looked as though the field was fairly freshly plowed. We asked Fernando and I think he had assistance with a tractor or some other heavy machinery from Earth University.

First Name: Barb
Submitted Question: Did you list the birds you saw? I love the fence..does it actually just root in the ground as a cut branch??? That is so cool!
Hi Barb. I haven't been writing down birds names - I wish I had. Some of the other teachers have these fold out laminated brochures or books and they've been checking them off like birders do. I'm going to try and find one in Monteverde today and check some off. As far as the fence, yes these branches just start growing into trees, isn't that great. I think maybe it's partly because the conditions are just right here.

First Name: Mom
Submitted Question: Is Costa Rica a thriving country? By that I mean--do the people seem content and happy? Is there much crime and poverty? Is it a country that beautifies with gardens, clean streams, parks and musical theatre? Is there national health care? Are the values of the people good, cooperative values? Sounds like you're having fun. How lucky you are. Some of my friends say they want to check your blog.
Hey Mom! The people do seem very happy and very proud of the environment that they care for and understand thoroughly. They are a peaceful people and are extremely proud of their history. Julio, our tour guide told us this joke that a Nicaraguan told him (Nicaragua borders Costa Rica). "Once many years ago there was a battle between the two countries and a Costa Rican went to Nicaragua to become involved. Being perceived as cissies, on his way back the Costa Rican ran into the Nicaraguan and was asked about the battle. The Nicaraguan asked him, "You didn't really fight, did you? The Costa Rican replied, " No, but you should have seen the really mean looks that went back and forth!"
There is a lot of crime, theft in particular. We see razor wire everywhere around houses and businesses. It's kind of like what is at the top of a prison fence. Isa tells us that people will just come into your house and steal. They won't hurt you, just take your blender, TV, or other valuables. There is also a good deal of mugging and robbing of tourists in San Jose. We had to be very careful to travel in groups.
As far as gardens, streams, and parks, this country has 25% protected land. That's more than any other country on Earth. I have found Costa Rica to be clean - especially inside the homes and hotels. They don't have a lot, many people make about 300 dollars a month, but they are careful with what they have.
Musical Theater - In San Jose there was a National Theater that we tried to get tickets to, unfortunately because of our tight schedule we didn't get to the box office in time. The ticket prices, for the National Symphony were one or two dollars. The government wants everyone to be able to attend so prices are kept low.
Costa Rican Health Care: They have socialized medicine, so everyone is cared for and people do not pay privately for health care, unless they want something more. Julio told us it is about 9% of their salary, and when he had open heart surgery he paid nothing. He said it is not as comfortable as care you would get maybe in the US system in that he shared a room with others, but it was good care and it was payed for. When so many make so little in pay, having health care is a good thing.

First Name: David
Submitted Question: If you could summarize your insights in one paragraph regarding people and what is really important, what would you say today?
How about one sentence, when people understand and lovingly care for the natural environment that surrounds them, all things fall into their rightful place.



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