Costa Rica’s Quaker Village
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Monteverde was founded in 1951 by a group of 44 North American Quakers—most from Fairhope, Alabama—who as a matter of conscience had refused to register for the draft. Led by John Campbell and Wilford “Wolf” Guindon, they chose Costa Rica for a new home because it had done away with its army.
They built roads and cleared much of the virgin forest for dairy farming. They decided to make cheese because it was the only product that could be stored and moved to market without spoiling along a muddy oxcart trail.
Cheese is still a mainstay of the local economy and you can taje a tour of the original cheese factory, is still in operation.
The Quaker organization is still active in Monteverde (it meets every Wednesday morning at the Friends’ Meeting House; visitors are welcome).
Don’t expect to find the Quakers walking down the road dressed like the chap off the oatmeal box. Cuaquerismo (Quakerism) in Monteverde is a low-key affair.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition