Way beyond the end of the road on southwestern Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, on a picture-perfect beach backed by thick rain forest and fronted by the blue Pacific, lies the Caletas elementary school. The parents of the kids in this school mostly work in ecotourism or artisan fishing. Some of these families are part-time hunter-gatherers. The lively kids and their families live a lifestyle disconnected from the rest Costa Rica.
Living off the road in this rugged area means that all supplies are brought in by boat, horse, kayak or foot. Electricity reached here recently but bypassed the school. The lines run above the school, without a connection, to a nearby large eco-lodge. So this school is really off the grid, no stores nearby, no Internet, no telephone, no cell service and no lights.
When YachtAid Global, an international volunteer organization that uses luxury yachts to move donated goods to locations and facilities that need help, heard about this idyllic but isolated seaside school, they decided to lend a hand. With the help of my organization, Costa Cetacea, Sea Masters of Guanacaste and an anonymous superyacht, a heap of school supplies, clothes and sports gear was delivered right to the doorstep of this remote school.
The kids sprinted down to the water’s edge as a boat laden with supplies arrived through the breaking surf of the little village’s only boat access. In the shade of the tiny one-room schoolhouse’s porch, big trash bags full of stuff were emptied into the hands of some very eager and happy kids.
Sure, the young ones where happy when they each got a backpack stuffed with the entire year’s required school supplies: paper, pens, pencils, scissors and much more. But the real smiles and shining faces appeared when the footballs, flutes, masks, fins, snorkels and games appeared. One young boy stood staring at his new dive gear, held at arm’s length, unable to speak, an ear-to-ear smile of disbelief plastered on his face.
YachtAid Global does this sort of thing all over the world, enlisting superyachts to bring needed supplies to hard-to-reach locations. The organization’s website, www.yachtaidglobal.org, chronicles some of its missions and provides an opportunity to make donations. You can also contact them through the website with ideas for other needy areas.