When Costa Rica was first colonized by the Spaniards in 1524, the tropical rainforest on the Caribbean coast was seen as an impenetrable land filled with poisonous plants and dangerous animals, so the Bribri, Cabecar, Naso, and Nobe Bugle peoples who lived there were never conquered. Instead, they were pushed deeper and deeper into the rainforest, but left to preserve their indigenous culture. Today, the Bribri territories, although part of Costa Rica, are semi-autonomous, with a government elected by the Bribri people, their own language, and an economy focused primarily on farming and organic agriculture.
Mitzvah Corps Costa Rica participants will pass through the provinces of Heredia and Alajuela during their travel to the Bribri village. The majority of their time will be spent in province of Limon, where the village and the majority of the tribe is located. The community is accessible only by boat or dirt road, which makes access to markets and basic services challenging. Residents rely primarily on cacao, banana and plantain harvests to meet basic needs and many live at or below the poverty line. We have partnered with the Yorkin primary and secondary schools, the Yorkin Water Committee, and Aventuras Naturales, a local enterprise designed to provide education and income generation opportunities for residents, and participants will work on community development projects with these organizations.