Peace Corps Volunteers Organize 233 Mile Bike Ride across Costa Rica

Volunteers educate community members on healthy lifestyle choices

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 13, 2012 Peace Corps volunteers Marissa Strniste of North Scituate, R.I., and Julia Lockamy of Asheville, N.C., recently organized a 375 kilometer (233 mile) bike ride across Costa Rica, spanning from the border of Nicaragua to the border of Panama. Community members and other Peace Corps volunteers and staff members accompanied Strniste and Lockamy throughout various legs of the ride, often participating in exhibits on healthy lifestyle choices along the way.

Magnifying glass iconPeace Corps/Costa Rica volunteers and staff pose at the Nicaraguan border.Participants of the lifestyle discussions were asked to examine their own diets and brainstorm ways to improve their eating habits by using the information we presented. They were also asked to create daily exercise plans. said Strniste, a graduate of Boston University. I hope that the participants learned something new about healthy lifestyles, and will implement this information into their daily routines.

The discussions covered topics on healthy eating habits, exercise, and the effects lifestyle choices can have on families and communities. Participants were also asked questions about their daily life choices and given educational materials on the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Magnifying glass iconPeace Corps/Costa Rica volunteer Julia Lockamy leads a group of bikers during the 233 mile ride through Costa Rica.This trip really was the ride of a lifetime. It was an amazing opportunity to see the country and to share our enthusiasm about biking and healthy living with the Costa Rican people, continued Strniste.

Strniste and Lockamy traveled through five different villages during the ride, which took place from Jan. 6 to Jan. 10, 2012. Peace Corps staff members provided snacks and refreshments along the route and helped the riders transport their belongings.

Magnifying glass iconPeace Corps/Costa Rica volunteers Julia Lockamy, Kristen Lucas, Nicole Budzious and Marissa Strniste pose at the Panamanian border after completing the 233 mile bike ride.An elementary school chef attended one of our discussions and plans to use the information she learned on healthy diet choices in her daily work at the school. Additionally, some of the older participants are now interested in starting a yoga class in their community, said Lockamy, a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This bike ride was a huge accomplishment for the riders and the Costa Rican participants.

About Peace Corps/Costa Rica: More than 3,370 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Costa Rica since the program was established in 1963. Currently, 128 volunteers serve in Costa Rica. Volunteers work in the areas of youth development, community development, business and English education. Volunteers are trained and work in Spanish.

About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agencys mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit for more information.

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