A little bit about Barra....

Barra Del Colorado is a small town of 700 people and is very remote, with the nearest city being 3 hours away.  It is primarily a sports fishing and fishing region. Currently, neither of the elementary schools in Barra del Colorado have English teachers. This alone sets the amount of English education afforded to students in this community well below the national average. The lack of English instruction is further exacerbated by an even more unique and troublesome disadvantage: that students at the high school in Barra del Colorado receive English only half the week despite that fact that instruction in the language, though lacking in almost half of elementary schools in Costa Rica, is almost universal at the secondary level. In Barra del Colorado, the hurdles to developing a foundation in the English language through public school truly limit the economic opportunities available both to students personally and to the community at large. Barra del Colorado is a wildlife refuge and is in the process of becoming an ecological tourism site. Greater knowledge of English among residents could facilitate local objectives to transform this community into a thriving tourist destination with money being distributed more equally among residents.

This site is perceived as problematic due to the presence of narcotrafickers and its drug-route friendly geographical position. It is also a poverty stricken region with high rates of unemployment and little to no options of economic-generating activities. Its "high risk" population resulted in the government categorizing it as an "intervention" community, which basically means it's on high priority of government attention and assistance, through programs, resources, etc. Access wise, this site can only be reached by water or by air but not by land. 

Unlike other very poor communities with a mixed population of peoples from very different backgrounds, citizens in Barra live for the most part harmoniously amongst each other. Many people interviewed described the community as a united one that helps people when they are in need. Solidarity was a common term used to describe people’s attitude within the community. Crime rates are very low- much lower than Guapiles, for example, and in no way comparable to relatively nearby cities like Siquirres. Police claim that the vast majority of people make their modest livelihoods from drug trafficking, although in most cases they do so indirectly (i.e. they depend on the business that they give them by buying their goods, riding their boats, etc.).

Without an exception, everyone mentioned the lack of education and people's "mentalities" as the biggest issues in Barra. People, and especially youth, seem incapable of projecting towards their future, let alone invest in it by studying or doing something else. It’s all about living day by day, which makes it very difficult to motivate people about medium term or long term projects. This is easily seen by the high rates of school dropouts. Last year for example, only one person passed the 11th grade. 4 others failed, yet there is enough youth in town to have a classroom with at least 30 people.