On this beautiful day in Costa Rica, we visited a coffee plantation. We walked around for 2 hours and we were led by our wonderful program coordinator, Memo. We saw this huge tree and some of us got the chance to taste coffee beans straight from the plant. Walking up a steep hill wasn’t the greatest but thankfully, everybody was a great sport about all the exercise we did.

We got the chance to see how coffee was made here in Turrialba! First, they hand pick each and every seed making sure that they were ripe. Next, they select the good ones from the bad ones which are used as second hand coffee. The coffee beans are then dried in green houses and cleaned. The coffee beans finally get roasted, and thanks to the company being carbon neutral, they are able to offset the amount of carbon dioxide they produce with over twice as much oxygen for the Earth.

Afterwards, we walked back and got to see monuments of the town. We were able to see a vulture’s nest in a tall rainbow bark tree. Once we returned, we had a little downtime to prepare for the cheese farm tour!

At La Florisita, a local artisanal cheese farm, we were guided by Karla. Her family has owned the farm down generations. She went through the process of how the cows were fed, milked, and taken care of. Karla had us split into two teams for a few activities she had planned. The teams consisted of Team Mako and Team Platano Power. The teams were really competitive. One of the activities were getting the chance to milk a cow, this cow was five months pregnant. Did you know that the gestation period of a cow is nine months? They are just like us humans! We picked one person from each team to represent.

After milking the cow, Karla took the milk and led us outside to show us the next step of the cheese making process. There, we chose another team representative to turn the milk into some cheese. Since cheese takes multiple days to age, Karla gave us samples of cheese she had already had prepared prior. She then explained how taking care of cows, milking the cows, making cheese, etc. can produce a lot of waste, so she built a biogas system that uses water, wheat and cow manure. Through this system, she is able to utilize gas for fertilizer and her home and save more than half of what she would normally pay on electricity without it, not even mentioning the multiple environmental benefits added onto that.

Ultimately, it was time to wrap up, on the ride back home listening to some music and playing some tricky trivia that helped the group cool off before heading back home. We had a delicious dinner where we got to unwind and introduce our next leaders of the day! Being the first 3 Leaders of the Day was difficult. It was difficult because we knew we would have to set the tone for the future leaders. We had to step out of our comfort zone and really put ourselves out there. We had to be able to set an example for others. Leading by example isn’t easy, but it was worth it. We believe we were the best leaders for this day.

¡Misión cumplida!

Handmade bookmarks gifted to us by Karla


Anna with Señorita Vaca!