Occidental (San Ramón) Affiliate
is the answer to the prayers of thousands of mothers whose children live in
houses with no refuge from the rain or wind. People who live in nice house perceive
having a home like breathing air. My house means more to me because I helped
build it with my own two hands. Habitat is more a family than an institution
because more than constructing houses it is changing lives. Count the number
of family members living in a Habitat house because it is the number of lives
that have been changed by Habitat."
--Saray Sánchez Porras, Habitat house owner in San Ramón, and member of the National Board
The Occidental Affiliate is based out of San Ramón (pop. 60,000), but also serves the communities of Palmares (pop. 25,000), Grecia (pop. 56,000), Alfara Ruiz, and Naranjo (pop. 35,000). San Ramón is known to locals as "The cradle of presidents and poets" because it is said that more presidents and poets have come out of San Ramón than any other town in Costa Rica. These communities are mostly geared toward agriculture production, especially coffee. There are also numerous small businesses in town, and many people from San Ramón commute daily to San José (about 1 hour southeast). After five years, Habitat had completed 142 houses in this region, and was in the process of constructing 24 more.
Average high temperatures in this region range from 81-87 degrees Fahrenheit, and lows from 63-65. December through April are the driest months--with less than 3 inches (70 mm) of rain on average per month (and less than an inch from January to March), with 70% humidity. From May until August expect 10-11 inches (260-280 mm) a month and 85% humidity. September and October generally see about 13 inches (330 mm)of rain, and by November the rain has slowed to slightly less than 6 inches (150 mm).
In a fundraising campaign in February 2001, the Occidental Affiliate sold cement blocks locally to individuals, churches, and businesses for 100 colones (about 30 cents). The campaign was a success, as 300,000 colones of blocks were sold in Palmares, and 200,000 more in San Ramón. "The block campaign, in my eyes, was a success. I could see men, women, and children taking from the little that they have to donate it to the construction of houses for families that don't have a place to live." --Eduardo Blanco, Regional Director
On Saturday, February 16th, the San Ramón affiliate hosted its first ever family activity. Held at Bajo Caliente, a local pool, families paid a discounted 400 colones (about $1.15) entrance for the whole family, and through generous donations Habitat was able to provide a complimentary lunch. More than 150 people showed up for the event.
Johnny Castro (regional partner) and Saray Sánchez (homeowner) serving food
A group that helped plan the event
What to do in San Ramón:
San Ramón is a short busride (about 45 minutes) away from the major cities of San José and Alajuela. The Los Angeles Cloud Forest is a private preserve owned by an ex-president of Costa Rica, and is less than half an hour from the center of town. Other attractions include Las Musas, a natural pool with a nearby waterfall, and numerous ice cream shops scattered throughout the town.
Contact Habitat in San Ramón:
Tel: (506) 445-9071,
Fax (506) 447-2440