After arriving at UPEACE, we were given a few minutes of break time (I spent mine jamming to some Florence and the Machine) before our speaker of the day arrived: a French professor named Victoria Fontan who taught at the university. To start her lecture, Fontan described her ideas on the peace process and how development is a key factor in creating stability within a nation. Following this brief introduction, she introduced a case study to us: the story of a woman named Sampat Pal Devi.
|Professor Fontan giving her lecture|
Eventually, Devi decided she could no longer handle the injustice in the world (banks and governments taking advantage of the little people, men abusing their wives, etc.). She decided that women (as well as the underprivileged) needed to stand up for themselves; this inspiration led her to form the Gulabi Gang, a group of mostly women in pink saris who tried to stop injustice whenever they saw it.
Fontan stated that what made the group so successful was that there was only a single ideology holding the women together: help others. This idea caused women to both fight injustice and provide assistance to any who needed it (but only on the condition that they would help someone else in return). This, in effect, created a grassroots movement of individuals helping others, something Fontan described as being the most effective way to develop a nation.
After Professor Fontan's lecture, Professor Paxton brought our lesson back to Costa Rica. We started our discussion by investigating the readings for today (which focused mainly on the conditions which have brought Costa Rica to where it is today). After talking about this brief introduction, the class discussed different things they learned at the market yesterday (some of these being that many worked with their families, that they only did these jobs for the money, etc.). Eventually, our discussion brought us to the topic of the merchandise within Costa Rica. Mainly, we discussed about where it actually came from and why the shop owners were so ambiguous about this fact. We concluded that shop owners want tourists to believe that their goods are locally made because it is better for business, and the goods that these shop owners have reflect the ideas that tourists think of when they imagine Costa Rica.
|The delicious lunch food|
|Francesca jumping into the water|
|(Left to Right) Hans, Joe, Will|
Once we got back, however, we still could not see them. We waited about 15 minutes before our home stay mother told us they were in the next-door apartment (needless to say, I was upset). After we returned their clothes and things to them, we stayed in the apartment until dinner (pizza). Upon finishing the meal, the guys and I went into town where be bought some ice cream from a side shop and then told jokes until it was time to go back. All in all (despite thinking for a good 10 minutes that my friends were dead), it was just another adventurous day in Ciudad Colon.
|The view from were I sat|