Two years ago I introduced Jose Rojas from Natural Expeditions and the Symbiotic Cultural Exchange Program, to Jeff Schwartz of the McLean County Diversity Project. I remember telling both that I wasn’t quite sure how they would help each other, but I knew that the meeting would be mutually beneficial since both enjoyed helping students experience cultural diversity.
In June of 2013, four Diversity Project Scholars traveled to Costa Rica to experience 11 days of cultural immersion. This January, both Costa Rican teachers and students came to visit McLean County.
This coming June, the entire McLean County Diversity Project will visit Costa Rica and stay with families in the Venecia agricultural community located on the Caribbean slope of the country.
It is the first out-of-the United States trip for the McLean County Diversity Project.
How awesome is that!
For me, it is made even more awesome by the fact that I get to travel with the group as a volunteer to photograph their journey and record their interactions with their Costa Rican neighbors.
My first journey to Costa Rica was with Jose Rojas and my husband in 2010. It was a nature travel trip customized for us, that we acquired through a donation to a local charity.
Besides seeing and photographing beautiful wildlife and their surroundings, we learned so much about Costa Rica, its history, customs and culture from Jose and one of his guides, Jorge Mungo. It was then that I learned about Jose’s real and sincere interest in helping the youth of Costa Rica.
I am very excited for all of us who will be experiencing this cultural exchange in June. I will be focusing on recording photographically this first travel expedition abroad for the Project.
I know that I, like the Project Scholars and Team Captains, will learn so much more about life in the Venecia community of Costa Rica.
- Deanna Frautschi