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Project Chicken (Proyecto Pollito)

Esterillos Oeste is a small coastal community, in the canton of Parrita in the province of Puntarenas. Like most coastal towns in Costa Rica, Esterillos Oeste is a town that depends on agriculture, fishing and mainly tourism. This last activity has perhaps been the most affected by the economic crisis that has unleashed the Covid 19 epidemic.

It is perhaps in the midst of the most critical moments that the best ideas, and in many cases the most altruistic, emerge. And it was here in this small town where a group of people led by Pastor Dennis Leon (who in addition to being a pastor, is an excellent surfer and owner of a micro farm), that this wonderful project began that has not only benefited the community of Esterillos, but has extended to other communities such as Bandera, Playon, La Loma, Jaco and Quepos.

So, what is the Chicken Project? Well, it is a project that seeks to help families that have been affected by the economic crisis that the country has been facing since the beginning of the pandemic. And of course, the big question is how do they help? It is simple but not easy. What they do is provide each family with fast-growing chicks and a chicken coop so that in a few weeks those families have food and can sell or exchange their chickens for other products.

But there is more, according to what Dennis tells us, another of the objectives of this project is that people do not lose their sense of dignity and have an incentive during times of crisis. Moreover, what do some chicks have to do with this? It is not as deep or abstract as it might sound, but for an unemployed person, besides the lack of resources, which is the obvious thing, there can also be worries, stress and psychological factors that affect him, so being able to produce food or a product to sell makes the bad time more tolerable.

Another question is how is the project financed? Which by the way has benefited more than 300 families. Everything has been through donations, both money and materials. This has bought the chickens, the materials to build the chicken houses and food for the first weeks. One of the biggest donors of this project has been the Foundation Stiftung Nord-Süd-Brücken and the BMZ of the German government, which through the non-profit organization VISIONEERS e. V. have donated 5330 euros.

Doña Ana Isabel, in addition to being a community leader in a marginalized neighborhood in the area, has been one of the beneficiaries of this project. She talks about the relief of knowing that if in a couple of weeks the situation does not improve, there is going to be something to "throw in the pot", she also tells us about the wonderful experience of seeing them grow and having a motivation every day.

Others who have enjoyed this project to the fullest are the children, since due to the pandemic they have had to stay at home. Miguel and Luis (fictitious names to protect their status as minors) tell us how much fun they have learned and entertained raising the chickens.

In short, they are projects like this, which in the midst of the troubled world, give us a light of hope.

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