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Costa Rica 2019
We envision indigenous communities empowered to have complete agency, self-representation and self-determination in navigating through their ever-changing expanding world.
Meet the field team
Program Director Letter
Meet the team
Support education, healthcare, and preservation projects for indigenous peoples through intercultural and participatory perspectives. We document, learn, and share their way of life to foster cross-cultural awareness, and promote the recognition and protection of indigenous rights and ancestral lands.
Program director letter
Founder and CEO of Marathon Studios and TickCheck. A serial entrepreneur, Jonathan launched TickCheck as a collaboration with East Stroudsburg University's Wildlife DNA Laboratory.
Jonathan is an avid hiker and has traveled to all the continents of the world. He is the board treasurer at the Good Project and is an integral part of the organization's efforts to provide inclusive, bilingual, and inter cultural health care and education to our indigenous brethren.
tHE fIELD TEAM
A biologist and executive director of the Good Project. He studied at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania where he received his undergraduate and master’s degree in biology. His passion is medicine and teaching. He is currently studying for medical school and is an adjunct professor in biology at Northampton Community College of Pennsylvania.
He travels the world to share the knowledge and wisdom of the Yanomami and Cabecar people to raise cross-cultural awareness and advocate for indigenous rights.
is the founder of Proud Development specializing in developing website design and architecture. He also offers consultation on cyber security. He graduated from East Stroudsburg University with a degree in computer science. He serves as the tech advisor for the Good Project.
This expedition to the Cabecar Indigenous Reserve in Costa Rica was one of the most memorable ones I had ever undertaken. We recruited such a dynamic and passionate group of volunteers. We were truly a cohesive team that encouraged each other, helped each other, and inspired each other. Though we started out as friends and acquaintances, we all returned as family.
We completed our objective in finishing the roof of the medical clinic in the Colonia village. The Cabecar are at the intersection sociopolitical engagement, education, and healthcare. They strive to maintain their traditional culture while integrating with the Costa Rican state system. One of those most evident areas of integration is biomedicine, and the biomedical approach, to their healthcare. The Colonia community have been seeking support for a creating a medical outpost for many years.
Roland and Tina Levasseur, missionaries that have lived in Costa Rica for over 4 years, have been on the vanguard for developing this clinic and ensuring that programs and policies are in place to provide the best possible care for the Cabecar people. Informally, the Costa Rican government agreed to provide doctors and nurses once we build this clinic according to their specifications.
Before reaching Colonia, we trekked to a more remote community known as Sinoli to meet with our old friend Arnoldo and his family. The visit was bittersweet. Arnoldo had lost his wife to the dangerous Chirripo river. She always had a heart of gold and treated us with great kindness over the years. We miss her dearly. The fragility of life forces you to pause and dwell on the future. You begin asking, “are we doing the right thing? Are we doing it the right way?” I think about the Cabecar children and what their future holds. We may not have all the answers and much work is to be done to learn their culture, language, and their intimate connection to the environment. The Good Project team, with the short time living among the Cabecar, has gained unique insight on their way of life and a greater appreciation for indigenous peoples and the need to protect their rights and the land they live upon. Though we are worlds apart – we share one planet.
Is an entrepreneur and owns his own business in web development. He graduated from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. Philip enjoys making websites, traveling and helping those in need. His past times include taking naps and playing with dogs.
An Assistant Professor in Counseling at Northampton Area Community College. He studied at Penn State University & Lincoln University where he received his master's of Human Service & Counseling degree. James worked 10 years in K-12 schools in the Lehigh Valley before moving into higher education in 2014. He believes that experiential-learning opportunities that engage students in deeper and more meaningful cross-cultural experiences foster an appreciation for human differences. James travels extensively with students sharing his love of world foods, music, and cultures.
A native from Spain. Susan received her master's degree in human services with a concentration in counseling at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. From the health bureau to colleges, she worked for over 20 years within the Lehigh Valley area assisting the growth and development of various programs. She currently advises the Good Project
A second-year student at Northampton Area Community College with a focus in nursing. From Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania, Paige aspires to become a neonatal nurse practitioner. Her goal is to study at University of Pennsylvania and graduate with a Master of Science in Nursing. Paige enjoys traveling and experiencing other cultures and hopes to continue to see many more parts of the world. She believes it is important to understand other cultures to build deeper connections fostering more fulfilling relationships with people wherever she goes.
A 1st year nursing student at Northampton Area Community College of Pennsylvania. She will eventually specialize in anesthesiology. Emily loves spending time in nature, adventures and trying new things. Her hobbies include hiking, spending time with loved ones, and reading a good book on summer nights. She intends on returning to Chirripo Indigenous Reserve to volunteer as a nurse.
A nursing student with intent of becoming a critical care Nurse Practitioner. She is currently in the nursing program at Northampton Community College and will graduate with her Associates Degree in Nursing in Spring of 2020.
She loves hiking and spending time outdoors especially in the tropical rain forest. Her passion is to use her skills as a nurse and future NP in missions work with indigenous peoples.
A student at Northampton Community College majoring in communication. Vincezio (Vinny) was raisedin the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania. Through adolescence he struggled with drug addiction and homelessness. He has overcome his tribuilations and is proudly sober. He is an honors student determined to change the world into a better place. He aspire to continue his education in foreign policy and international relations. His ambition is to work for the United Nations and create a sense of global community striving to reduce international conflict.
A nursing student at Northampton Community College of Pennsylvania. She aspires to be a critical care nurse. A proud mother of one son, she is an avid outdoors woman and leads charity hikes raising awareness for mental health. Her ambition is take part in mission trips around the world to volunteer and gain knowledge and cross cultural experiences
Chirripo River del Atlantico
A traditional Cabecar dwelling
For many years, the Colonia and Sinoli communities have been urging the Costa Rican goverment, missionaries, and other volunteers to build a medical clinic in order to gain access to basic medicines and medical care. Upper respiratory infections, severe fungal skin infections, and diarrhea are some examples of common ailments that afflict the Cabecar. While some infections generally run its course and can be cured using traditional methods, there are instances when medical intervention is needed. Oftentimes, they hike the long and arduous journey through the mountains to the nearest medical dispensary.
Additionally, having trained health professionals and telecommunications at the clinics will decrease the lag time in recognizing emergency medical situations and intervention. To date, the clinics in Colonia and Sinoli are under construction. The sooner we can complete the infrastructure, the sooner the Costa Rican government can staff them with medical personnel.
Looking inside oral cavity for any signs of infetion or inflammation
Examining the foot of a Cabecar woman with serious fungal infection
Assessing progress of a medical clinic in Sinoli
The Cabecar people are an indigenous group residing in protected territories in Costa Rica. With a population of over 11,000 distributed among over 80 communities, or villages. The communities in which we have established strong rapport and collaboration are called Colinia and Sinoli. At an elevation of about 2,000 feet it is nestled in the mountainsides of the protected Chirripo indigenous territory. Not far is the Rio Chirripo del Atlantico. This river begins in the hillside of the Chirripo mountain and runs through almost 90,000 hectars covering the indigenous reserve. The nearby Pacuare river runs parallel to the Chirripo.
They are arguably known as one of Costa Rica's most remote and isolated indigenous group. Derivative of the Chibchan language family, they are unique in that the majority of the population (at least 95%) speak their native tongue. This is a testament to their strong cultural identity in the face of increased integration into the Costa Rican dominant culture. Of course, such change brings about unforeseen challenges and obstacles all too familiar among indigenes living with a foot two worlds. They often feel marginalized and "forgotten" as they cope with finding their respective place in their ever increasing globalized and changing world.
1To learn more visit the links in the Appendix
Good Project team is grabbing lunch at a restaurant in Turrialba. Soon after, they went to gather food, supplies, and medicines for the upcoming expedition
The team arrived in the village of Colonia. Here they assisted in finishing the roof of the medical clinic.
The trail started out with steep muddy slopes and captivating views of the mountainside
Getting to the Chirripo Indigenous Reserve is no easy task. After arriving to the capital city of San Jose, we must take a 2 hour car ride to Turrialba and then another 2 hour ride deeper into the Talamanca mountain range. When the road ends we must disembark and trek through mountainous terrain, hike muddy slopes, zip-line across rivers, traverse cane forests, hack through the jungles, and endure rocky river beds. This expedition is truly an outdoor adventure.
05/23 - Colonia village arrival
05/21 - Sinoli village arrival
05/21 Chirripo River del Atlantico
The team is unloading and organizing their gear in a small town called Quetzal. This is where the road ends and the trail to the Sinoli community begins
05/21 - Trail to Sinoli
At the base of the mountain, the team had to cross the river via zip-line. While it was a taste adventure for us, it was humbling to learn that this was daily life for the Cabecar people as they move from village to village
05/19 - Turrialba, Costa Rica
05/21 - Quetzal
05/23 - Colonia Village
Click here to view Google Earth
After a long and arduous journey the team finally made it to the Sinoli village where we met with our great friend Arnoldo and his family. Hungry, tired, and exhasuted, we rested and settled into the quite village and engaged with commuinity. While the hike from Colonia is only a couple of miles away, the rough can be a limiting factor resources reaching that area.
This expedition could have not been possible without the support of volunteers, family, collaborators, students, Good Project staff, donations, and sponsors. We would like to pay a special thanks to the following for their instrumental role in making this project a success:
Center for Civic and Community Center at Northampton Community College.
James and Lynn Williams
Northampton Community College
Tina and Roland Levesseur
The Cabecar people. We extend our gratitude to the villagers of Colonia and Sinoli who worked side by side with the team. We are grateful for Ricardo and Arnoldo for guiding us through the hard journey. The Cabecar continue to teach us their way of life and we are truly grateful for being part of their legacy and history.
We would like to acknowledge you! The Good Project supporter and all of your contributions. Your continued support allows to grow and learn more and more about the culture of our indigenous friends and family and how to best work with them, and protect their lands and way of life
To read a news article from amcostarica.com click on link the below:
To download the 2011 Indigenous Territory Census click on the link below
To view the map on Google Earth click on the button below:
To view more photos visit our photo album by clicking on the link below
The Good Project
3835 Green Pond Road
College Center 236
Bethlehem, Pa 18020