The day started like every other day in Costa Rica, a hauntingly beautiful place I will call “home” for 4 weeks: getting up early, having a typical Costa Rican breakfast (gallo pinto with scrumbled eggs), getting ready for school and taking the bus to the university campus.

Mr Milton started his lesson early, and he talked about electricity in Costa Rica, where only one provider has a monopoly on this extremely important source of energy and has – naturally – no intentions to change this situation any time soon. Mr Milton explained to us that electricity in Costa Rica is like „a free tiger fighting against a tied donkey“ (whereas the first was meant to be ICE, the later being other companies). After that discussion we watched “the story of stuff“, a film meant to sensibilize people about issues of consumption! It was very good explanation of the usual chain of production to the end of consumption.

After a short lunch break we went to visit Robert Artavia Loria, the chairman of the Fundacion Latinoamerica Posible in Panama and Costa Rica, Board Member, visiting professor and former long-time Rector of INCAE Business School. On our way to the meeting, we were surprised – like so many times before – by heavy tropical rain. Once arrived Roberto Artavia gave us an overview of the Costa Rican economic problems and solutions. Among other facts he told us that Costa Rica isn’t competitive about labor costs but that the real amount of resources isn’t known yet! After some critical questions from our side (How can we really bring about change?), his answer was not to be too idealistic… but to stick to the Pareto principle and focus on the issues that offer the greatest leverage (such as betterments in transportation).

My day ended in the kitchen of my host family, where we talked about what happened during the day over typical Costa Rician dinner.

by Anne-Marie Lambert

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