When the Quakers came to Monteverde, they brought a lot of changes for the land, as well as for the local Ticos. All in all though, I believe their arrival has had a beneficial effect. People like Don Ricardo who run Life Monteverde help bring tourists and students alike to the area. After touring the coffee farm like we did, it is only a short drive to the beautiful Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. There, you can learn about the amazing wildlife and, as we were lucky enough, see such animals as the resplendent quetzal, emerald toucanets and spider monkeys.
The Quakers aren’t the only people who have have influenced Costa Rica, though. Although countries from all over the world have made their mark, coming from the States, it was especially easy to see American influences here — from store chains to seeing Ticos wearing a Lakers or Mets jersey to hearing American music, like the Black Eyed Peas, on the radio.
On a larger scale, the amount of tourists from North America and Europe provide a source of income for places like Life Monteverde and the Cloud Forest Reserve. Where Cafe Monteverde mainly produced coffee, recently the addition of Life Monteverde has added another dimension and helped increase and diversify their customer pool. They now also have partnerships with international universities and companies, such as Michigan State University and the University of Texas at Austin.
Overall, I would say this has been a positive shift for the Quakers and Life Monteverde, because not only are they able to make a profit teaching about their way of life and sharing their knowledge; but, people like us are able to learn about their practices, culture and tradition. To take it a step further, we can then bring that knowledge back to wherever we’re from and apply it to solve problems or make improvements back home.