This Spring, I enrolled in a course titled Community Conservation and Development in Costa Rica. The class of roughly 20 students (and 2 professors) was a service learning course that traveled to the rural community of Guadalupe, CR for the week of Spring break.
We lived in an ecolodge started by a wonderful man named Merlyn, who we soon learned was a prominent community member and handled everything from organizing annual BBQs to funding local projects. If the town had a mayor, Merlyn would be that person. My group’s final project was to produce a video that captured the various stories of community members in order to preserve the history of Guadalupe, and surely Merlyn was going to be included.
We also volunteered our help to locals and were put to work cleaning up back yards. This allowed us to develop a sense of relaxed rapport with people in the community and soon enough we were invited into homes and if we were lucky offered milk and cookies! We stuck to asking 5 main questions which you will see in the video including the “kid’s question” where we asked the eager youngsters who wanted to be on camera: “What makes Guadalupe special to you?”.
So, pull out the popcorn and enjoy!