Trailblazing for Community

sunset-costa-rica-natureSimilar to a few who find themselves in Costa Ballena, Brian and Carolyn “just came” to the area on vacation and found reason to stay. After having decided that they indeed wanted to move someplace new, Brian and Carolyn went about considering places that would appeal to them. Having been well traveled to many parts of the world like Indonesia, Australia, Europe, Africa, and many parts of the States, Costa Rica stood out among the rest. They simply couldn’t resist the unique landscape and terrain where the mountains met the oceans. Aside from the warm climate year round and abundant wildlife (Brian is also a birdwatcher), which were top key features, they also required a location that was able to offer practicality. It need not be too remote, yet at a distance from city life, which they were looking to leave behind. And so, in 1996 their Costa Rican adventure began. Paving the way for those who live here now, Brian and Carolyn can remember a time when their sole means of communication was by marine radio.

Once settled in the area, Brian set out to find a business venture that would suit his mind set. He was looking for a project where he could encourage the local economy and at the same time have social considerations. Their philosophy is that being guests of a country, and wanting to stay in the area, why not help out and improve everyday life exactly where you are. As Carolyn and Brian noted, “You may not be able to change the world, but you can have a local impact.” With that attitude at the forefront, Brian built “Pueblo Del Rio” in 2001, a small commercial centre located towards the entrance of Dominical and next to the Baru river. He intended to create a space where the offices of essential services were located, many of which were not readily available in the area; such as a doctor, dentist, pharmacy, and he hoped for a bank. With persistence and time, Brian was able to fill all the spaces with various services. After many years, and the general economy having recovered, “Pueblo Del Rio” is now home to a pharmacy, an information centre, a restaurant, and a real estate office, and Brian is proud that he once had a hand in the creation of such a space. He has also set new goals!

Both Brian and Carolyn’s current endeavours are all about community. Whether it’s Carolyn donating time and rallying for funds for scholarships for local “colegio” level students, she quotes, “the only way out of poverty is education”; or Brian working with the Lifeguard Association to help ensure that the association of lifeguards stays in operation and our beaches stay safe; they are kept busy by involving themselves with the local community. With a need to contribute to society and a history of entrepreneurship (read: many stories to tell about success and failure), they both feel that they are encouraged by, and have learned through, each one of their experiences. Now they are in a position to give back. It was not even a lifetime ago that they can also remember a time when they were nearly broke, with two kids in tow, and only a meagre savings in the bank for a rainy day.

A little wiser, a little older, Brian now knows himself better and realizes he enjoys taking on projects where he gets to build and venture into new territories; and he has learned when it is time to move on. Not one for staying in the same place too long, and with Costa Rica providing a unique backdrop for which entrepreneurs can be at play, he feels ready for change once again and has a few ideas that he has been entertaining. Brian in his most recent years has worked towards creating a community centre in Uvita, the “Rincon de Uvita”, where over 20 games of football happen every week. Being home to a local school, the Uvita Christian Academy; and the Saturday meeting place of the locals at the Farmer’s Market, it is among many things an epicentre in Uvita. Brian says the initial groundwork is laid out and his role in the project has reached fruition. It’s time for the project to be seen with fresh eyes. Looking forward to the next few years, both Brian and Carolyn feel this area has a lot of undiscovered potential and are proud to know that they contributed to paving the way for those who also call Costa Ballena their home.

About the Contributing Writer Carolyn and Brian Nice

Carolyn, born in Scotland, and Brian, born in England, met in Edinburgh in 1962. At that time Brian was a geologist and Carolyn a teacher. It was the tale of a lifetime adventure that had begun. Having lived abroad in diverse places from Africa to Canada, and having raised two kids, now fully grown, they are able to devote time and energy to philanthropic causes that help our local community of Costa Ballena in big ways!

Are you a sports aficionado who is looking to give back to a community? Uvita may hold the right opportunity for you. Rincon de Uvita, the sports complex and commercial center is for sale. For more information contact Brian directly by phone at (506) 8981 4500 or 2200 5125, or via email at fincanice@gmail.com.