Authors: Mira, Kade, Ana, Kieran
Fofo was our Costa Rican guide during the trip, and the perfect person to interview. Taking us all over Costa Rica, he regaled us with his intimate knowledge of the region.
Fofo works multiple jobs, including tour and birdwatching guide and the manager of his family’s chocolate farm, Costa Rica’s Best Chocolate. Fofo gave us an excellent tour of his farm. He added that before his farm produced chocolate, he bought chocolate from small farms to support them. Today, he continues to buy the chocolate, because it is important to him that small farms continue to thrive. In addition, Fofo is a mechanic when needed, which came in handy when our van broke down on the way to Monteverde.
He has lived in Costa Rica his whole life, and was better at spotting wildlife than our whole group combined. His neighborhood is home to many Ticos, or Costa Ricans, who work on plantations and in the tourism business. He appreciates that his neighbors are aware of conservation. Lots of Fofo’s family lives in his neighborhood, and he enjoys meeting with them for dinner or celebrations. Although no major events have directly impacted Fofo’s neighborhood, Costa Rica has been impacted by tropical storm Nate, which caused widespread destruction around the small country.
Fofo’s positive outlook and witty jokes accompanied us throughout the trip, and it truly would not have been the same without him. One of our favorite quotes from Fofo was, “This is not a trip, it’s a live experience!”
After interviewing Fofo, the ideal local Costa Rican, we decided we needed some perspective, and that’s where Grace comes in. She’s a kind person who is not native to Costa Rica, but has lived there for over 3 years, more than long enough to get a much better idea of the place then we could over the 9 day span of our trip.
Grace lives at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Costa Rica, and spends her time there as both a student and a teacher, because not only is she studying to earn her degree, she also works there as a naturalist, a tour guide of sorts. She is extremely knowledgeable about wildlife and nature, making her the ideal person to go to if you have any questions about nature.
She, knowing how great a place Costa Rica is, loves her neighborhood, for a variety of reasons. For example, she enjoys a nearby dance class in her neighborhood, an opportunity we also had the chance to experience. She also enjoys the hikes you can go on in her neighborhood, because not only are they very relaxing, but there are also many animals you can see on the hikes.
With all of the great things you can do and see in Costa Rica, we had another question for her: what’s your favorite thing about Costa Rica? This was a question for which she had a very definite answer: “The kind, considerate, and environmentally knowledgeable people,” one thing we noticed and loved about Costa Rica too! That’s one of the biggest things that Americans could learn from Costa Ricans; always keep in mind that climate change and deforestation are very real things to be concerned about. Before we go, one last thing; a quote from Grace, that just about sums up our opinion on Costa Rica: “I love how well everything and everyone works together here!”