• Tico Travel Surfing
  • Costa Rica Coffee Guide
  • Squaremouth travel insurance button 468x106
  • Costa Rica Real Estate

This week in the Peace Corps: Lessons from indigenous communities in Limón province

October 22, 2018

After four years with Peace Corps Costa Rica, I am reflective about living and working in indigenous communities throughout Limón Province. As a youth development volunteer for my first two years, I was living and working in Bribri indigenous territory.

The last two years, I have continued to live in the Southern Caribbean as a regional leader. I’ve supported Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV) throughout the region in indigenous communities and collaborated with regional counterparts throughout the Bribri and Kabekar indigenous territories of the province.

What touches me most about these communities is their ceremonial and sacred approach to daily life, seen in many aspects of the society. I will share three main examples of how this is manifested: through visits, connection to society and connection to nature.

Especially in Bribri culture, an unannounced visit to someone’s home is welcomed with open arms. You are offered something to drink, and often a meal with a bag of tropical fruits to take with you. They may or may not converse with you during the visit, but the sheer act that you went to their house is tremendously valued. They will feel a deeper connection to you from then on.

Another important aspect to indigenous culture is the way you interact with society. Everything, from the way you say hello to the fellow people on the bus or boat to the exchanges you have on the street, are representative of the cultural values. It is always important to acknowledge those around you as a sign of respect. Additionally, the trade system is used, with a constant attitude that “God will provide” and endless generosity.

Finally, you will find sustainability and connection to nature manifested organically throughout communities and in people’s homes. Traditional houses are made of all natural materials tied together, not requiring a single nail to hold them together. Natural medicines, remedies and tropical fruits are abundant.

Like all societies, there are always challenges. Of course, nothing is perfect and it has been an honor learning about both the beauties and challenges of indigenous communities of Limón Province. Indigenous community members have demonstrated a level of mindfulness that is truly connected to a higher power. The humility and glow in the eyes of the people are a seed of hope for humanity, and greatly inspires me to be a better person.


The Peace Corps photo series in The Tico Times Costa Rica Changemakers section is sponsored by the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), a proud financial supporter of Peace Corps Volunteer projects nationwide. Learn more here. To donate to support the Peace Corps Costa Rica, visit the official donation page. Volunteers’ last names and community names are withheld from these publications, per Peace Corps policy.

Connect with the Peace Corps Costa Rica on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

Brought to you by the Costa Rica USA Foundation (CRUSA). Brought to you by the Costa Rica USA Foundation (CRUSA). Courtesy of CRUSA

You may be interested

Costa Rica adds 19 more coronavirus cases; 16 total patients have recovered
Costa Rica
9546 views
Costa Rica
9546 views

Costa Rica adds 19 more coronavirus cases; 16 total patients have recovered

The Tico Times - April 5, 2020

Costa Rica has confirmed 454 total cases of the novel coronavirus, the Health Ministry announced Sunday afternoon. The figure marks…

News briefs: Google data shows effects of Costa Rica’s social distancing
Costa Rica
2645 views
Costa Rica
2645 views

News briefs: Google data shows effects of Costa Rica’s social distancing

Alejandro Zúñiga - April 5, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted daily life in Costa Rica, which has declared a State of Emergency and enacted sweeping…

Slothy Sunday: Save a sloth; go solar
Sloth Sundays
758 views
Sloth Sundays
758 views

Slothy Sunday: Save a sloth; go solar

Zara Palmer / Toucan Rescue Ranch - April 5, 2020

Toucan Rescue Ranch has made a huge sustainable improvement moving into 2020: going solar! The Toucan Rescue Ranch has been…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!