CCI Global Impact – Costa Rica

So I grew up in Pacayitas. There are a lot of pastures, and coffee, and
sugarcane plantations. So all the families work in agriculture. Since we were in the kindergarten we used
to go coffee picking. Mollejones is a small community. It’s located 20 minutes away from where
I grew up. So I know all the people there. What happened too is that there were no job
opportunities because the sugarcane production, the coffee plantations, were not generating
a lot of income. We wanted to develop a business to bring groups
in from all over the world to experience what Mollejones has to offer so that it would be
an additional source of income for the community. So they pay for lodging. They pay for food. There are different activities that they visit
in the community to learn about the local culture. And so this idea came up of developing an
ecotourism program. Like, why don’t we use what we already have
to show it to people? I guess that the project could be called sustainable
economic development of the community. Pedro learned this technique 30 years ago
when he was doing a workshop from the National Learning Institute. So that would be three to four months maybe
for him to be able to get a new tree out of the mother tree. It’s a different way to use his land as
an alternate source of income. So he would produce the guavas, sell them. Then those would be used to produce jelly
and other materials. Then secondly, he would bring groups to show
them the process. That’s what the classes taught him, to use
the tools and the knowledge that he already had to turn them into a business that would
bring income into his family. The idea came from the community and that’s
actually what inspired me. They knew that I was studying ecotourism. They had never run programs. They didn’t know anything about logistics. So they needed someone with a little bit of
knowledge about tourism and about business. So we told the president of the tourism association
that we had this project. We had to put together a list of tours and
excursions that would be part of the program. Then we had to think about, okay, if we bring
visitors in are they going to stay in the community? It was like a list of deliverables that we
could meet. They are going to show us how they make the
traditional handmade bread. We eat it pretty much every day here in our
houses. People normally like this activity because
they get to do all of this with their hands. As part of the CCI Program I took classes
from the Hospitality and Tourism Management program. We did human resources, marketing, facilities
management. So those classes were really helpful to learn
business skills that I hadn’t had the opportunity to study. I also did research of different ecotourism
initiatives that were taking place in Arizona. I can relate it to the experience here. When I came back I had to write a sort of
a proposal so that we could show that to the president of the Tourism Association. And so they get to do what they are used to
doing at their homes but to show it to people from all over the world and they get to connect
with these people that they receive. Kids used to go to the elementary school. Some of them went to the high school after
that, and then they would have no goals. I realized that I wanted to pursue a career
that will be more social. That will allow me to help more people. I went for ecotourism because that would allow
me to work with families and with projects like this one. I’m so proud of this community. You want to take care of the environment and
you want to involve people. So it’s got like the economical, the ecological,
and social part of it. That’s like the main three topics that we
include when we study ecotourism. It’s changed so much!

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