During our stay at the Parador Resort in Costa Rica, we learned a great deal about their commitment to the surrounding area, not only environmentally but also as a member of their community. In addition to being a leader in sustainable tourism they are involved in several civic projects.
We discovered one of them, Pack For a Purpose, from the Parador website as we were preparing for our visit. In a simple and effective way to lend a helping hand to schools, Pack For a Purpose asks that travelers make room in their luggage for needed supplies.
We were moved by the idea and happily stuffed pencils, pens, protractors, and other items listed on their website into our bags.
Upon our arrival at Parador we met one of the managers, Moises, who has taken a special interest in the program. He offered to take us to Anita Primary School, one of the four schools they help out, for a firsthand look at the effect the program can have. The Anita School was built specifically for the children of immigrant workers on one of the sprawling palm plantations in the Quepos area.
Driving several miles down a dusty dirt road through the dense rows of palms, we reached a one-room schoolhouse. Professor Marino welcomed us, gave us a brief overview of the little school and introduced us to his pupils.
The folks at Parador had combined the contributions from many guests to make bags for each of the children, and their eyes really lit up as they dug in. Like kids with Halloween goody bags, they dumped the contents out on their desks and excitedly examined their haul. By far, the most popular item in each bag was the colorful soft rubber, solar-powered calculator.
The donated supplies and suitcases brought real joy to this group of children – we wish you could have been there to see their happy faces.