Costa Rica, majestically extended from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, is arguably one of the most beautiful countries on earth. Its forests, mountains and beaches offer a seemingly unending variety of scenery. The team will be working in Cartago province, located in a valley enclosed by lush and fertile mountains. This trip is a great opportunity for participants to meet and work with the friendly local people of Cartago province and experience their culture. No previous construction skill or experience is required—just an inclination to learn, an open mind and an attitude of team work.
About Costa Rica
Costa Rica (Spanish for “Rich Coast”) is situated in Central America, where a variety of historic cultures have blended over the centuries. One of the more progressive democracies in the Americas, Costa Rica still has its share of housing needs—with nearly 500,000 new or improved housing units needed. Though Costa Rica has a fairly stable economy, large government deficits have also undermined efforts to maintain the quality of social services.
Costa Rica’s neighbors include Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east.
About Habitat for Humanity Costa Rica
Habitat Costa Rica began building in 1988, but ceased operations in 1991 with the introduction of an ambitious government-housing program that gave houses to the poor. However, with large cutbacks in the government program and an estimated 35 percent of the country’s population still living in substandard housing, in 1996, Costa Rica invited Habitat for Humanity to help once again.
Since then, Habitat Costa Rica has built hundreds of homes with partner families. Today, the program is focusing on ways to reach those families that have even fewer resources—through initiatives like “progressive” housing, or houses built in stages; repair; improvement and completion of half-built houses. Habitat for Humanity International also has its area office for the entire Latin America and Caribbean region based in Costa Rica.
For more information on the Costa Rica program, visit www.habitatcostarica.org.
Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers may assist with improvements, full-house builds or home repairs. Most Habitat houses in Costa Rica are built using cinderblock walls, tin roofs and cement floors.
Day 1 (Arrival day, typically Saturday): Greeted at the Alajuela airport by Habitat Costa Rica staff; shuttles to location if it can be reached before dark; dinner.
Day 2 (Sunday): Breakfast; travel to location (if necessary); orientation with Habitat Costa Rica staff member; tour of town; free time; dinner.
Days 3–7 (Workdays, Monday–Friday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; daily transportation to site if needed; introduction to families, foreman and community; work site orientation; work from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (Workdays will start earlier during hot or rainy seasons.); lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; supper of typical Costa Rican food; free time for team activities and community exploration.
Day 8 (Saturday): Breakfast; departure.
Note: Cultural experiences with host staff during the trip may include traditional dances, market tours, recreational activities, school visits and other dining options. There will also be a farewell ceremony with the partner family on the final build day.
HFH Costa Rica will choose the team’s lodging, taking into consideration group size. Teams usually stay in basic, safe hotels, with team members staying 2–4 people per room.
Breakfast and dinner will likely be served at the hotel or a nearby restaurant. Lunch will be eaten at the work site, where snacks and water will also be provided. There will be ample opportunities to enjoy traditional Costa Rican meals such as gallo pinto and casado.
Trip cost includes: donation to the Habitat host program and HFHI; meals; accommodations; transport (excluding trip participant air fare); medical emergency evacuation and trip cancellation insurance; some local cultural activities and team coordination and orientation materials. The team leader’s trip cost and estimated air fare may be included in the trip budget. The trip cost does not include trip participant air fare, R&R activities or visa and exit fees (not applicable for all destinations).
Enzo Repola will lead this GV trip. A retired New York City banker who lives in Rye, New York, Enzo has been volunteering with Habitat since 2001. This will be the 14th Global Village team that he will have led. Previous overseas destinations include countries in Africa, Asia and South Pacific. Enzo is looking forward to putting together a dynamic team of individuals of different backgrounds interested in helping other people to achieve the goal of owning a simple, decent home.
If interested in this GV trip to Costa Rica or for more information, contact Enzo at email@example.com. Prospective team members are encouraged to let him know a little about themselves.