FC: Costa Rica 2012
1: As the first representatives of Montessori Peace Now visiting Costa Rica, we aim to establish a set of lasting connections with educational and environmental institutions in the region. A solid connection with the UN-sanctioned University for Peace will help us and future generations to discover the fundamental values of peace. Interactions and volunteer work with the Cloud Forest School and Quaker Friends School will allow us to create the framework for a cultural exchange and international network of adolescent peace builders who look to incorporate the roots of peace into educational systems. Performing meaningful service work at the Tropical Science Center at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve will not only tie us to their conservation efforts, but also educate us on the sustainable practices that are in place. We will use the knowledge that we gain on this trip back to our peers by creating an educational model on sustainability and peace that will foster our relationships with these organizations. | Mission
2: UPEACE | While at UPEACE, Peace Now students had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion on the 2012 campaign. We also conducted interviews with UPEACE students and staff to broaden our knowledge base on issues relating to peace, sustainability, and human rights.
3: We also had the opportunity to stay with host families in the nearby town of El Rodeo. While not studying at UPEACE, we took part in activities such as yoga, teaching English at a local school, playing indoor soccer, and attending a procession for St. Joseph's Day. | Topics of Discussion at UPEACE: Food security in Bolivia, service learning, Israel, North Korea, Timor L'este, eco-tourism, Kony 2012 campaign, disarmament, peace and sustainability, Montessori education, human rights in India, youth leadership,
8: Spending time with our host families, mealtime, and hiking to El Mirador
10: We spent one week of our trip in the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Staying at La Calandria Lodge, we spent each day working with a series of non-profit organizations and educational institutions. Our goal in Monteverde was to connect what we had learned about peace with the sustainabilty movement. | Monteverde
13: We stopped in the town of Naranjo to learn about fair trade and the popular coffee cooperatives. In this region of Costa Rica, 90% of the resident's income comes from coffee farming, which exemplifies the importance of buying fair trade goods. Our group used this real life human rights case study to further our understanding of the Costa Rican culture and attitude towards peace and sustainability.
14: Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve
15: At the Preserve, we maintained a large section of the main trail, learning about species interaction and biodiversity along the way. We learned the importance of forest conservation first hand in addition to the advances that are being made in the scientific community. The Cloud Forest is an extremely specialized biome and is an indicator of the effect of climate change on the rest of the world.
18: Cloud Forest School (Centro Educativa Creativa) | As students ourselves, we found it important to create connections with educational organizations in the region. We got to know CFS by doing service work around the campus. Projects included laying a cement sidewalk, doing trail maintenance, and painting tables.
20: It was so interesting to spend time with the people who brought modernity and global recognition to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. We talked with pioneer Wolf Guindon, attended a Sunday Quaker Meeting, ate ice cream at the historic Quaker Cheese Factory, and played frisbee at the Friend's School with some of the students. | The Quaker Community
21: UNED | We practiced English conversation skills with high school students at a public school in Monteverde. The students told us about their major areas of study and also led us on a tour of their extensive property. It was great to meet students our age and to recognize the fact that despite geographical distance, we are all the same.
26: We would like to thank each of you for your contribution to Montessori Peace Now's first trip to Costa Rica. We have learned so much from you and are using this new knowledge to develop a Montessori Institute for Peace and Sustainability that we hope you will be a part of. We hope that the connections we have made are long lasting and that we will be seeing you again in the near future. Thank you again!