Remote is just one word of many we used to describe the house at the end of the 20km dirt track, where we stayed in the western hills of Costa Rica.
The single amenity nearby was the local primary school, El Roblar. Without a doubt, this was a school with the best teacher to student ratio any of us had encountered. The sole teacher, Santiago, had just one student enrolled.
Santiago and his 9-year-old charge Moises seemed open to having their numbers increased by 400% for a couple of days, as we sent our three girls and their visiting friend Hilary down for a taste of rural Tico education.
The girls’ arrival from the hill on a horse (yes, all on the same one) created quite the stir in Santiago’s and Moises’s otherwise fairly sedate school day.
Moises, well softened up by a packet of Skittles, seemed pretty happy to run around playing hide and seek with the girls. It made a change from sitting on the bridge with his teacher for his break, where we found them one day, reading through Moises’s Spanish comprehension textbook.
Santiago and Moises made a good team; the teacher picked up his student and brought him to school daily as well. Santiago said it wasn’t easy though, trying to find new ways to keep one pupil engaged.
The school at El Roblar is evidence that Costa Rica is serious about education. A country doesn’t acquire a 96% literacy rate by accident.