Joanne & Damian do Raleigh

Exploring life from a different perspective

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La Iguana Chocolate Farm

Signs of the town Mastatal

During my week long stay in the community of Mastatal, I had the tough job of visiting a chocolate farm with Damian and his team of volunteers. Seeing the fruits grow in the sunshine, tasting the beans and coming away with organic truffles was brilliant if the truth be told. Let me introduce you to La Iguana.

On a more serious level, La Iguana is an example of just one of the farms local to the Costa Rican area of Mastatal, near La Cangreja National Park, that run their business aimed at sustainability and eco-tourism. The farm has volunteers working and living there as part of their travels and Mastatal has gained its own group of tourists with businesses like this. From Eco Lodges to La Iguana Chocolate Farm, Mastatal is looking to grow the community by encouraging like-minded travellers to take a stay in their town and learn about their sustainable ways of life.

The couple that run the farm were amazingly welcoming, with Cacao drinks and chocolate brownies being served to all of us, along with a tour of how they create those delicious truffles. Why not look them up on Facebook and consider a different kind of holiday.

Joanne x

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Training with a difference

With less than a month to go now, before we land in Costa Rica, the excitement level here at the Withers household is only just containable. Having our leaving party recently had meant that reality had sank in for us  already and our training with Raleigh this last weekend has meant that this is really it now.

This weekend has highlighted to me just how professional, thorough, humble and exciting Raleigh International is as an organisation. The work this team put in across the world is highly impressive and I am looking forward to seeing their activities in-country.

Heading down to Sussex on Thursday evening, Damian and I were wondering what to expect on our training weekend, especially after all the surprises on the assessment weekend, but we had guessed incorrectly. We came away with so much more than imagined and feel totally committed to the projects.

Everything from understanding the vision and mission of Raleigh, to self-reflection, working as part of a team, understanding differing values, cultural identity and inspiring young adults. I personally came away with the confidence that I have chosen an amazing path to venture down.

I won’t go in to detail on the training, so as not to spoil it for anyone who may be undertaking Raleigh in the future, but I can’t praise the trainers enough. There is a reason these people are asked to be in these motivational roles.

I come away with a list of personal qualities, written by those in my peer group that I had only met this weekend, that meant I had to fight back the tears. Thank you everyone who wrote something on that list. I come away with new friends. I come away motivated and inspired. I come away excited that I can share this experience with Damian. I come away knowing that little actions can make a difference. I come away determined to give Raleigh my all.

The countdown is on …..!

Jo x

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