Coffee and health

At the Costa Rica- Panama open border, I visited a coffee plantation and health service delivery system today with my job. Coffee pickers from Panama come stay on the Costa Rican farms from September to February. The Costa Rican health system comes out to the fields at night, when the pickers are available and gives vaccinations, medicine, toothbrushes, soap, health education, prenatal visits, weighs the children: primary health care. All for free and to non-citizens. Many of the Panamanians get their health care exclusively in Costa Rica during picking season. And they’re paid a fair wage, about $60 a day. It was amazing to visit and see.

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  1. Thanks for that Rachel – it’s good to know that Costa Rica is so practical in its hospitality and treatment of guest workers. It’s a great shame that Panama can’t provide universal healthcare for its own citizens – I read on Wikipedia, after seeing your post – that doctors stay in Panama City and so it’s hard to get medical help out in the countryside. Thank goodness for the coffee harvest. Is the free health care only a factor at fairtrade type coffee plantations, or does it take place everywhere coffee is grown in Costa Rica. I’ll start looking for their coffee, if it’s a general thing.

    Enjoy the rest of your stay.



    1. Hi Elaine, they actually have the same problem in Costa Rica (and America) that rural areas cannot attract the doctors and specialists. Because of their commitment to universal health care though, Costa Rica will pay your travel expenses to get needed care- even plane tickets to another country!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I looked for Costa Rican coffee in the supermarket this evening, but no luck sadly. I’ll keep looking. Very impressed by everything you’re telling me about the country.

        By the way – what do the Panamanian coffee pickers do for the rest of the year, once the harvest’s in? Do they earn enough in Costa Rica to last them through the other 6 months of the year?


      2. A lot of common brands have costa rican beans without it even saying. Good question, im not sure about other work, but my guess it that they do other wirk in Panama. Also, they could be paid the same yo pick coffee in Panama, but since the darms are right at open border and CR provides healthcare, education and food, they come here. Going home today actually ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Found some! My local Waitrose has started selling their own brand Terrazu Valley Costa Rican coffee ‘produced by small farming cooperatives that have been cultivating since 1812’. Hurrah. I’ll raise a glass to the coffee farmers of Costa Rica and another to you for bringing their generous healthcare of their neighbours to my attention. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. To be clear, my job informed me of the trip and sipported me going- but didnt pay my way. Lucky still! And sometimes you gotta know when to say yes to working vacations- its an amazing way to visit another country!


  2. Thanks for sharing this, Rachel. It’s refreshing to know of places where people like these coffee pickers are treated decently. I will look up for the origin of coffee and surely will try the ones from Costa Rica.


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