Costa Rica 2016

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    Freeman chose this picture as one of her favorites. “You can see the beauty of the country, the coffee plants in the distance and the workers, resting at the end of a long day.”

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    Don Rodrigo, an agro-engineer who works with farmers in Los Santos and a close colleague of Cox, gave the students an in-depth tutorial on best practices in coffee growing and harvesting.

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    Daniel Tassitino, senior, is wearing the “beads of shame” necklace that Dr. Ken Corley takes along on his trips — any stragglers that hold up the group must wear them as a reminder to be on time. The oversized set of rosewood rosary beads are traditionally wrapped around a newly married couple after they complete their vows. Corley said this group was so amazing, no one was ever late. No shame, Daniel! Thanks for modeling.

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    A Guyami Indian family gathers before work. The children stay with their parents throughout the workday, often helping pick the berries.

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    Students ride the zip line on an ecotourism trip in the rainforest. Ecotourism is a major part of Costa Rica’s economy.

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    Megan Finnerty takes a selfie in front of a church in the town square of Santa Maria, Costa Rica.

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    The redder the cherry the better the bean.

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    Students helped the Guyami and Nico migrant workers pick cherries. Only the red cherries are selected.

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    In the “cupping” or grading process the beans are smelled, soaked in water and smelled again.

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    At last – smelling the rich aroma of the steeped bean and tasting for flavor.

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    A coffee plant with roya, a fungus that threatens the entire coffee crop of Costa Rica.

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    Back in the truck! The roads of Costa Rica are often winding and steep. Once, the crew had to get out and walk so the driver could navigate the incline. Here the students are headed to an elevation of about 10,000 feet to visit an adventure park in the virgin rainforest of Providencia, Costa Rica.

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    One of the coffee agents brought the students coffee plants to sow on the last day of their trip. With luck the plants will thrive and the Appalachian experience will live on in Costa Rica.