San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Photos celebrate Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary

The Peace Corps continued celebrating its 50th anniversary with the Sept. 20 opening of a photo exhibit, “Costa Rica Through the Eyes of Volunteers,” at the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center in eastern San José’s Barrio Dent.

“These captivating photos of Costa Rica aren’t just a wonderful opportunity for us to see a different part of Costa Rica but also for us to have a look into the lives of the Peace Corps volunteers,” U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica Anne Slaughter Andrew said at the exhibit’s inauguration event.

Some 131 Peace Corps volunteers currently work in Costa Rica, most of them specializing in community and rural development. The exhibit’s first-place photo was taken by Allen Sin and shows the weathered face of a man butchering a pig at dusk.

“Costa Rica’s history was very much based in agriculture and people like the man in this photo. He took it upon himself to learn how to support himself; thus he has been supporting his family and the livelihood of Costa Rica for many years,” Sin said.

The ceremony also welcomed past volunteers including John Helwig, who arrived in January 1963 with the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to work in Costa Rica.

“Then, in Guanacaste, we got messages by telegraph and only had five hours a day of electricity. The whole situation has changed in these last 50 years. Costa Ricans know a lot of about the world; they have their eye on everything happening in the world,” Helwig said.

“Costa Rica Through the Eyes of Volunteers” will be on display until Oct. 6. Admission is free.

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