I've been in Costa Rica with my family for the past week. It's our last full day and as you might imagine, I have some observations about this country and ours, as do some of the people I've met during our stay. I can tell you they have proven some of the undeniable truths of life I often talk about on the radio show.
The national saying is 'Pura Vida' or pure life. Loosely it means they are living a pure, unadulterated life that brings true happiness. There is no doubt that the people here are very happy. They appreciate what they have, even though I suspect many in the U.S. and other first world countries might wonder what they have to be happy about. It's not about material wealth or accumulation, it's about what you NEED and appreciating when you have it.
The staff at our resort are so friendly; it's a friendliness that is probably 'required' by the management, but believe me, it is genuine. Everyone says hello or good morning. Everyone rushes to wait on the guests and ensure they are having a good time. I was walking early one morning and heard a group of people talking and laughing. It was about 6:30 a.m. so just a bit too early to see a group of partiers. It turned out to be the night shift crew waiting for the bus to take them home. They were really happy and upbeat; not like night shift crews we often see in the U.S. You could tell they enjoyed what they did. ¡Pura Vida!
The resort developer came to a very rural area with little infrastructure and some very poor villages/towns. They had to build everything, including electrical infrastructure; water treatment plants and system; sewage treatment and system. They not only took care of their needs, but they did the same for the village of EL Jobo and city of La Cruz. They also built a fire station and expanded the dilapidated fire hydrant system to include the very rural areas of Guanicasta, the province. Companies do care about people and want to be good citizens.
They are very proud of their country, and they admire the U.S. The U.S. flag is the only international flag that is flown at this resort and other hotels or tourist destinations that we've visited. Many I talk to here are curious as to why we are so divided and hateful towards each other. I respond by telling them to look at their own experience with U.S. citizens; we don't hate each other, in fact just the opposite. Whether we're on a van, a plane, or sitting near each other in a restaurant, we talk. We enjoy each other. There is no racism, distrust, or hatred. It's the politicians, media, and special interest groups that promote division for personal gain.
The people from El Jobo, a small fishing village attracts those from La Cruz or Liberia. The employees working at this resort come from those towns while El Jobo is 2 KM away but hardly anyone from there works at the resort. Many say it's because the fishermen have been their own bosses for so long, they don't want to be told what to do. Some I spoke to called them "lazy" because they spend so much time sitting around and drinking. But this is usually after they spend 2-3 weeks on the ocean fishing, often in boats that have no cabin. They work hard and they enjoy their time off. ¡Pura Vida!
It's been a fantastic trip. The rain forest is amazing and beautiful. The food is very good. The resort is amazing, and the activities are fantastic. But it's been the chance to talk to other people, both Costa Ricans and guests, that has reminded me of what's important and that we are all pretty much the same, no matter our demographic background. We want a pure life and we want others to have a pure life, too.