The splendid light that filled my room this morning invited me to awaken in
gratitude for the prospect of living a new day of inner calm. The fruit and
omelet presented to me today by my husband was accompanied by the sweet
whistled songs of the birds outside the window. I take none of these marvelous
gifts for granted, knowing myself a fortunate creature on this earth. I invite you
to assess your own surroundings recognizing the many endowments which Nature
bestows on you on a daily basis.
Today is World Tourism Day, a day that seeks to focus our awareness on the
inherent value of tourism in promoting social, cultural, political and economic
exchange in the world. This year’s theme “1 Billion Tourists, 1 Billion
Opportunities” emphasizes the impact of tourism on economic growth, job
creation and development. Costa Rica’s position as a leader in tourism in
Central America has encouraged a tourism revolution in the region providing
much needed opportunities for our neighbors. I am surprised by how many of
us don’t appreciate how fortunate we are until someone visits us and we get to
see the wonders of our country through someone else’s eyes.
On Friday, I attended the funeral mass for doña Emerita Arce Ramirez, an
extraordinary human being I met when we moved to Atenas more than 13
years ago. She will forever be remembered by me for the unshakeable sincerity
and faith with which she lived her life. It was not unusual to see doña Emer
walking the streets of Atenas or taking a long bus ride on her way to comfort
a sick person or deliver food from her own modest pantry. I enjoyed watching
her at work: scolding or praising the familiar passerby but always, always with
a smile and heartfelt affection. She will be missed by all who knew her but she
left a permanent mark on us and a legacy of service carried on by her children.
After the funeral mass, I attended the graduation of a group of people in Santa
Eulalia who had just completed an arduous, four-month workshop on “Design
for the Elaboration of Crafts” which focused on the sustainable use of natural
and repurposable resources. I was very impressed with the quality and beauty
of the finished products. It is my hope that the graduates’ goal of creating a
successful business will become a reality in the near future. The Development
Association of Santa Eulalia founded in 1968 (the first in the country) and its
board deserve recognition for the support provided to the community, in this and
other projects, so that its inhabitants can build vibrant, enduring enterprises that
will create the economic and cultural climate which will foster the growth of rural
tourism in the area.
I wish you a wonderful day and a week filled with many opportunities for
discovery and reflection.