The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Some time ago I canceled my cable TV subscription and used the money for stronger internet service through which I occasionally watch a documentary or older movie from the Costa Rica version of Netflix (fewer titles than in the U.S.). Tonight (Wednesday) during my dinner of a pulled pork sandwich and cole slaw from Atenas Poco Loco (“To Go” or “Para llevar” here), I watched the BBC/Netflix movie The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, based of course on the book by the same title available from Books. I was so touched by the movie that I felt compelled to recommend it or the book written by the boy himself as a now adult engineer.

Having lived in The Gambia West Africa for three years, I of course related to almost everything in this excellent true story of a 14 year old boy in Malawi who had to drop out of school and help the family farm because they could not afford the school fees. In the midst of a common African drought the boy sneaked into his old school library and learned about windmills and thanks to his old science teacher’s device to generate electricity with the moving bike wheel he adapted it to a homemade windmill that generated enough electricity for a small pump to pump water from the well and irrigate the drought-stricken farm. I saw the life-changing effects of windmills in The Gambia too.

A moving family story with authentic African culture, scenery, and hardships. When I returned from The Gambia I often said that every American should live for 3 years in Africa to see what the real world is like. Well, this movie or book will give you a taste! I highly recommend it.

“Extreme poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere.”

— Kofi Annan

¡Pura Vida!

Pattern of the Crowded

Pattern of the Crowded
Flying out of San Jose Airport in December I snapped this shot of a very crowded neighborhood.
Should I have titled it “Pattern of Poverty?” The roofs don’t say except that they are very close together.
San Jose, Costa Rica 
Photos like this remind me that the world is packed with people and not all live beautiful or happy lives, even in Pura Vida Costa Rica. Though I think poor people do better here than in maybe most other places. The First Baptist Nashville group coming here on mission trip to Hogar de Vida will be serving beautiful children who were removed from their parents because of severe abuse or other problems, maybe from a neighborhood like this one. 
See my photo gallery on San Jose  which includes the prettier sites. 

Poverty in Costa Rica

Photo by Tico Times of the slum Triángulo de la Solidaridad
with small child peeking from her home.

This excellent article, Costa Rica’s first slum tour offers visitors a different perspective on paradise, and tells about an organization, “Boy with a Ball,” that is helping to build community in the slums of San Jose and now offers tours of a major slum for tourists as a fund raiser and educational experience about community among the poor. Don’t miss the excellent video clip in it!

Poverty is everywhere including Costa Rica and like most places it is usually worse in the big city. It is also interesting to note that most of the CR poor are immigrants from Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador who came here for better work opportunities than in their home countries. This is not a Global Poverty, Child Mortality Fall Sharply, According to UN.

paradise for everyone, though most are doing better than they did in those neighbor countries. Many of the low-paid house maids are among these immigrants as are some gardeners. Good news is that

Costa Ricans are mostly better educated and have the better-paying jobs. With universal health care and free education through college, there is little excuse for many Tico citizens to live in deep poverty. Immigrants on the other hand have many reasons for living in poverty. I think the fact that most Costa Ricans are very religious, have high moral standards, party a lot and are the happiest people in the world also helps! 🙂 Yet an article in this same newspaper, Tico Times, said in 2014 that nearly a quarter of Costa Ricans live in poverty.   Another 2014 article said Poverty programs enjoy success but jobs would be better. So – poverty continues to be a problem everywhere and there is no easy solution so far beyond us as individuals following the teachings of Jesus as we relate to the poor. And then, maybe that is the solution. 🙂

Tomorrow, Wednesday, 9 July, I will be on a 12 to 14 hour trip to Nicaragua to renew my visa and may not be doing a post tomorrow night! The last “visa run” trip like this left me beyond exhausted. A local tour driver takes a van load of us on this trip every 3 or 4 months. I can live here now without a visa but cannot drive a car or even get a rent car. Like to keep my options open! Once I’m an official resident, I’ll get a CR Driver License.