Today was a great day to be on the infrastructure and pilot project crew… With much enthusiasm, the 10 of us got up early, in the pouring rain, to get a scientific sample of the community’s trash. We picked up and sorted through the trash of 6 families. The goal was to gain a visual understanding of how many kilograms of trash one family makes, record statistics, observe the level of sorting executed within the home front, determine when the last time they got rid of their garbage and, lastly, if it’s not taken across the river, what do they do with it. Through our interviews we’ve learned that burning trash is a common practice along with a pick up service provided by individuals in the community. However, at the price of 500-1000 Colones for pick up, it can be too expensive for some families, working out to be 84 cents to $1.50USD. Getting a clear analysis of the amounts of different trash enables us to better design a system that matches the communities consumption.
As I said before, we picked apart the trash as a trial run for when we implement recycling strategies in the community that work in unison with the current recycling facility in Quepos. Ideally, once sorted, this could be a source of revenue for the community. This experience made me reflect on the lack of separating I do and gain an appreciation for Toronto’s recycling services and the workers who organize it. I mean, I separate the general plastic, paper and cans, I pile up my compost in the freezer until compost day, but separating my recycling further to ensure that I don’t contaminate and ensure that it’s all actually useable will be something I will start taking more seriously at a personal level. Just to add to the joy of the morning task, did I mention it was pouring rain? We all looked and smelled like wet trash walking back to the hostel.
The afternoon was a delight as we went to a cacao plantation. We were encouraged to consume cacao as it’s good for belly fat. I highly recommend for keto dieters. It was so good, almost too good. After a couple spoonfuls of ground cacao, sips of hot chocolate, coffee, some of us started to feel a bit zainy. This worked in our favor as “Fast” and “Furious”, also known as Mia and Nash, ran in circles using a 120 year old mechanical grinder to make sugar cane pulp. It was a super fun and informative tour of how cacao is grown, fermented, dried, and consumed in many delicious ways. Modeled by our professor, Sarah, we got a good understanding of how much work collecting coffee beans are. It can take a minimum of 45 minutes to collect 2 dollars worth of beans, which seems so wrong when we pay 5 dollars for a cup of coffee that gets consumed in 10-15 minutes for some. Anyways, today was a fun filled day with two equally good experiences which provided further reflection and appreciation for our time in beautiful Costa Rica.