Tuesday, June 8, 2010


            Today's excitement is a peace march. Every week the school focuses on a different value which the school is trying to instill in their students. This week the theme is peace, hence the peace march. There are signs around the school declaring this week the week of peace.
            Costa Rica is an unique country in the Americas in that it does not have a military. The military was abolished in 1948. Costa Rica takes great pride in this and it features prominently in many of there teachings at the school. They do have their military history which they celebrate, notably the defeat of William Walker in 1856, but overall they talk about having more teachers than police officers.
           That last bit may be changing, since a main issue in the recent presidential election was security. The perception of many Costa Ricans is that Costa Rica is becoming more less safe. The two main culprits are increases in drug trafficking or greater inequality, depending on you ask. However, Costa Rica still prides itself on being a country at peace.
           This is particularly noticeable at the school I am teaching at because of the amount of students who are Nicaraguan. For many of them their parents and grandparents lived through the civil wars in Nicaragua. The wars still resonates today even in Costa Rica, where Oscar Arias just finished his second term as president. During his first term, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for working to end the violence in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
           Back to the march at the school. The students all had white balloons with slogans such as "I love peace" in Spanish on them. The entire school then walked around the neighborhood up behind the school where many of the students come from. The students had large banners with slogans about the importance of peace on them. Parents took pictures from the fronts of their houses and everyone enjoyed the sunshine.
         Not the most exciting peace march, but it was still interesting to walk along with the students.  I have trouble imagining something similar happening in the US.

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