Hello! My name is Shaun O'Connor. I am a native of Indiana in the U.S. I have been traveling and surfing in Santa Teresa for the better part of a decade each winter (Costa Rican summer.) This “summer” I had the great opportunity to volunteer with Casa Pampa in their endeavor to create a thriving organic garden at the local school.
Italian, 37, passionate about my Pit bulls, keen on nature and travel, I am always learning and trying to get the most of each experience. My name is Maria and I´ve been volunteering with Casa Pampa for 3 weeks with the project “Santa Teresa Community Garden”.
I left my job as Project Manager to start my personal project: find an alternative way of living, closer to nature with less needs and in a more sustainable way. I was looking for a project in the environment field, and in particular with permaculture. I wanted to contribute to protect the environment, learn how to recycle in a smaller scale as individual, share my thoughts and ideas with people who had the same concerns as me.
At Casa Pampa I found exactly what I was looking for: open-minded people, passionate about their job and eager to share their knowledge. I had the chance to meet other volunteers, make new friends and learn from their experiences too. Each one of us is here for a reason and sometimes you discover you are here for the same reason.
We work at the horticulture site, the so-called “Santa Teresa Community Garden”. The aim is to create a vegetable garden at disposal of the community, where people can learn to grow vegetables in a sustainable way, by using compost and just nature, without pesticides and in a simpler, more natural way.
This site works also as support of the recycling process. We receive organic waste from restaurants and we use it for making the compost. We also do beach cleaning; we separate what we collect and we give it to recycling centers.
I learn something new every day: how to seed, transplant, how to make the compost at home, what can be recycled and be used for new purposes. Creativity is our guide and everyone is free to express her/himself. I also love our brainstorming time. We just sit together and we chat at the shadow of the garden. We try to figure out how we can improve things and do a better job for the community and it's a very powerful moment, where you feel like one team of superheroes ☺
I am very proud of the results we achieved, even if the path is still long and there is a lot to do. But we don't give up, we are dreamers and warriors and we already work to achieve the next step for a better greener future!
My experience during my the trip to Costa Rica has surpassed my expectations. I decided to come on this trip because I saw it as an enjoyable experience, but I am leaving with greater intentions to better the environment around me. As our trip here is coming to an end, I am leaving with a changed mindset about the world and the effects of our careless decisions regarding plastic pollution. At the beginning of our service, I was not too fond of picking up the plastic on the beach, but now I look forward to doing the same thing back in the United States. I have learned a multitude of ways to solve this problem locally and nationally. There are simple solutions such as building compost piles, recycling plastics, and repurposing trash instead of throwing it away. As an upcoming college freshman, I am challenging myself and my generation to put these easy solutions into effect from wherever you are reading this.