A helping hand in times of crisis

15 / Apr / 2020

Ganado is a small pueblo in the jungles of the Osa Peninsula, 15 kilometers from Drake Bay in Costa Rica. The road in the area is often washed out by flooding and erosion, adding to its isolation. Versabe and Polin are an elderly couple living on Don Polin’s $150/month disability pension. They supplement that modest income by selling to local stores whatever lemons or plantains their land can produce. In normal times, it is barely enough to get by. Yet in the time of Corona, with 90% of the people of their town unemployed because of layoffs, life has suddenly become even harder. But help was on the way. 

Mayra is the local Corcovado Foundation liaison. Along with Alex, who set up the food packages, they met up with  Erick, who volunteered his van and his time to distribute the packages. Together, they set off to Ganado to find Versabe and Polin to deliver the food and critical goods that would help get them get though the coming weeks. 

In Los Planes, another pueblo on the Osa, the team sought out Don Clementino, an aging man who has lived alone for years, far from any community center.  Don Clementino greeted them in the doorway of his humble home. Inside, thin shafts of sun light slipped through gaps in the battered tin roof, crisscrossing the packed dirt floor. It was likely that those same gaps would let in the pouring rain during the months of furious monsoons on the Osa Peninsula. Unable to work because of ulcers on his legs and feet, he too has been getting by with a very small disability pension, and the support of a neighbor family. But that family lost all their income during the COVID-19 crisis. Don Clementino had no idea what would happen to them — or to him. Here too, help had arrived, just in time. 

Last Monday and Tuesday, Mayra, Erick, and Alex delivered 49 packages to dozens of vulnerable, elderly people in need, people who imagined they had already been forgotten. Pulling up to their houses in the van, our team was greeted by the joyful faces of grateful people, lit up by big bright smiles. And even through their protective masks, Mayra, Alex, and Erick couldn’t conceal their own equally big smiles.

Each delivery created a moment of gratitude and relief, extending your kindness from wherever you call home, to these Costa Ricans living in one of the most remote places in the country. The food packages made possible through your giving will provide nourishment for at least two weeks. It’s a start. It’s something kind and wonderful. And you made it happen.

In these times when we are surrounded by uncertainty and despair, bringing some relief to those that need it the most has definitely lifted my spirits. Although confined in our houses, being able to help others in this small way has given all of us so much joy. It makes us feel empowered in times when we have so little control over our circumstances. 

Speaking on behalf of the whole team at the Corcovado Foundation, as well as our Board of Directors, I know that while our primary mission is to protect the environment, being able to use our time and platforms to generate some happiness for the humans who share it with the non-human residents of the Osa, raises our spirits and fills our hearts with unspeakable joy.

Our Global Giving Little by Little by Little campaign raised over $6500, with more donations coming. We had staff, consultants, advisors, personal friends and friends of the Foundation all donate to the campaign. We also have friends calling up to ask how they can help. Alex donated his time, Erick donated his van, gas, and time, and Charlotte followed the van, taking pictures and making videos of the people to share with all of us.

This kind of support shows me that in times of trial, humans can rise above circumstances and act with kindness, solidarity, and generosity. Thank you all! We will be delivering more food two weeks from now and will continue for as long as we have the resources. If you feel like helping in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me at alejandra@corcovadofoundation.org or you can donate at Global Giving or visit us directly at https://corcovadofoundation.org/donar/

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