Pura Vida means pure life, and in Costa Rica, you hear the phrase over and over again. It is a greeting, it is a motto, it is a way of life. The people here are proud of their simple, pure, beautiful lifestyle. In general, Costa Ricans are harmonious with their environment, they are well educated, and they are happy. It’s a wonderful way to be, and an incredible place to live.
In the Frontier teaching house in the little town of Puerto Jimenez, on the Southern Pacific side of Costa Rica, pura vida is alive and well. The casa is centrally located, and you can easily walk anywhere in town that you might need to go (including the beach!). Inside the casa is an interesting mix of cultures—bookshelves full of books in both English and Spanish, Frontier and UK flags on the wall, a traditional Costa Rican coffee drip on the kitchen counter. Outside, laundry dries and papayas ripen in the sun, underscored by a clutter of sandals at the front entrance.
There are several schools in Puerto Jimenez, but we are lucky enough that the one we primarily volunteer with is just a couple short blocks from the casa. The classroom is neat and friendly, with colorful wooden letters decorating the walls. They spell out spanish words like amistad (friendship) and paciencia (patience), two values which are certainly important when volunteer teaching.
The students are generally excited and happy, as are the teachers. The classroom manner is laid-back and fun, just as the country’s pura vida slogan might lead you to believe. Volunteering in Puerto Jimenez is more than just teaching English. There is much to be learned here from the easygoing gratitude of the Costa Rican people, from the wild and beautiful nature, and from living la pura vida.
By Alexa Donahe, Field Communications Officer
Find out more about the Costa Rica Teaching project.
Check out what volunteers in Costa Rica are up to right now!