July 12th, 2014 |    mangotree

Progress of Rural Tourism in Tres Rios de Coronado

Interdependency is a partnership of shared responsibility and rewards…We are smarter together than apart.

We started a rural tourism project here in Tres Rios. Please read my blog article entitled “STUDENTS FOR SUSTAINABLE RURAL TOURISM AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AT THE MANGO TREE SPA”. This is a follow-up to that initial seedling.

Our first meeting was conducted at the local School in Tres Rios. Seven locals showed up and if one could say, “small is better”, this was the case. The Tres Rios primary teacher, Suzanna, Vincent Delgado, Scott Yoder and I worked for 6 hours on various questions and goals with those seven people.

Following this meeting, extensive talk and flyers were handed out to the community of 39 homes in the Tres Rios area. Several days later as word got around on how productive our first meeting was, 27 came to the second meeting. At this meeting enthusiasm for the possibilities for Rural Tourism was generated and an association was formed of 7 community members.

A third meeting was then generated. The teacher, Suzanna and Vincent Delgado wrote up a report of the first meeting. We also had a report from Dr. Francisco Corrales, archeologist for the National Museum who sent his Archeological findings and recommendations.

We departed from this third meeting with specific assignments for discovery, and for raising $300 for the documentation for the association. We are to meet Monday evening, the 28th of June for a re-grouping with Vincent and Scott, even more members of the community and hopefully Dr. Corrales and the new mayoral candidate, Luis Centera from Palmar Norte. We plan to present to the rest of the community the possibilities for development, including findings from Vincent about Acutura and the German Peace Corp.

Our Monday night meeting was attended by close to 40 Ticos. Vincent Delgado started the meeting by outlining the errors and problems that had been encountered in Guanacaste province and warned the community to avoid making the same mistakes. He also encouraged us to start with one project and when that was working and was successful then move on to add other projects.

Juan Pablo, the president of our association is a great motivator and leader. He keep digging and asking if people really wanted to do this and if so, they were going to have to step to the plate with ideas and some energy/enthusiasm. We finally decided on an aforementioned plant project with many tangents. The following ideas were agreed upon:

1. Each household would pot up cuttings from their own yard and put them inside their fences near the road. We would advertise a monthly plant sale with signage on the Costanera.

2. Each household would pick a special medicinal plant to grown in their own yard and call their house by that same name. We would make signs to enhance this suggestion.

3. Create a tour of the local plants with pictures and a booklet to understand some of the medical plants and their uses.

4. Develop the school archeological site with the petroglyphic stones and a medicinal garden for the kids to attend to.

5. Start having a weekly “feria” (organic market) at the school on Saturdays. There is nothing currently between Dominical and Palmar Norte.

6. Find a plot of land to start growing certain crops, medicial and organic.

7. Hold classes on organic crops, natural pesticides, medicinal plants, etc.

8. Start teaching an English class each Tues and Saturday at 4:00 pm.

The Students who were with Vincent and Scott have been staying at various locations in Costa Rica. I asked each what they did, what was the best part of the trip for them and did they make any gross mistakes and learn from these.

The internship for their rural tourism experience extended from June 5 – 25.

Kate O’Conner and Meredith Brown were the first to be quizzed. They both worked with the community of El Due trail building and developing a technological infrastructure.

• Kate said she learned that “instant gratification does not exist”. (What a novel thing to learn in Costa Rica…I chuckled) El Due has been waiting for tourists for 14 years now and is not sure how to make their little community known to tourists. Kate and Meredith designed and set up a free web page for the community but it is not connected to Google and is thus out in the etherland of websites.

• Meredith said she was learning that humility in a woman dealing with a man in authority might be a good thing. She and Kate were returning from Panama with their host and Meredith had neglected to bring her flight information with her. When she was asked for it she realized she did not have it and was told she could not re-enter Costa Rica. She panicked and started to challenge the immigration official. It finally got resolved but only by allowing the Immigration official his due. Ultimately, Meredith “learned that she can do “it” (anything) just by putting herself out there.

Cherie Bryant and Jeannie McCarthy worked in San Pueblo.

• Cherie says her best experience was hiking from 2ndary to Primary forest and crossing the river. Her most difficult times came from trying to communicate and she felt she was not entirely comfortable and feeling accepted. She said the Ticos have a way of saying what you want to your face but then talking about you a little differently behind your back.

• Jeannie McCarthy said her most pleasurable experience was painting the mural she painted on a hotel/lodge wall. Her worst was eating a soup given to her the contained soft pig-skin. She found this most distasteful.

Zoe Fine and Fiona Smith worked in a rural community called Cedral…about 2 hours out of Miramar south of Monteverde. They said this area had no tourism as of yet. They worked on a farm making cheese and giving the community feedback on how to bring in tourism. They also labored to beautify the organic gardens and main park and taught some English classes. They found that in this community they needed to engage the younger community members to build the community so the kids would not leave once they matured.

• Zoe found that playing with the kids was the best part for her. Her most embarrassing moment was not showing the proper respect for the family she stayed with when she was finished eating. She was used to just getting up to go do her own thing. Instead she found the word “compromiso” gave her permission to leave the table.

• I did not get a chance to interview Fiona as she had the stomach flu for most of her visit. Maybe she will send me her information.

For me it has been a wonderful experience getting to know this whole rural tourism group, their ambitions, engagement and inspiration. We are hoping for a student to work with us this next year and for our own ideas to be seeded and nurtured along having had this inspiring group to help us get started and become excited about the possibilities.

Thank you Vincent, Scott and all the girls. You are an inspiration!

Rosamary MacGregor


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