Spend time engaging with the Bribri indigenous community. Explore active volcanoes. Live in the beautiful, rural setting of Yorkin. Learn about how Bribi's economic status affects the local infrastructure. Practice Spanish and the Bribri language. Support local community efforts to preserve Bribri culture. Relax on a hammock at sunset. Enjoy daily hikes to local waterfalls and rivers. Play soccer with Bribri children.
Issue Focus: Community Empowerment
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 be staying in the Bribri territories in the village of Yorkin, a small river town near the Panama border. They'll be working with a local women's organization, STIBRAWPA, an acronym in Bribri which stands for "women artists." For the last few decades, STIBRAWPA has been focused on maintaining Bribri culture and promoting sustainable local tourism, through cultural preservation efforts, refurbishing visitor lodging, and increasing city infrastructure.