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Do you know what a MacGyver in Costa Rica means? TicoNuevo wrote a blog about hardware stores in Costa Rica this week. I would like to go a bit deeper into the matter. He said: “be prepared to substitute or make do with something other than the perfect solution”.
If you live in a third-world country, you don’t have access to a lot of things that are readily available in the first world. If you can’t buy it ready-made, you create a MacGyver.
When I moved to Costa Rica over 30 years ago, there was only one hardware store in Santa Ana. It wasn’t even a real hardware store.
It was a 15 X 15 feet corner in the back of the only supermarket in town. Anything you had a quick fix at home, you had to do with all you could find in those 15 X 15 feet.
At the time, there was this TV series MacGyver. That’s how the Ticos learned how to quick-fix anything with anything at hand. The way of quick fixing was called a MacGyver. MacGyvering is quite normal in Costa Rica.
I’ve used photos from “Solo in Costa Rica” before because they show third-world moments so well. You will never find the kind of MacGyver solutions where you come from.
In Costa Rica, for example, we don’t have these “ U-haul rentals” so you can move your household cheaper when you do it yourself.
Here, you need to find a truck for hire, which can generally be found at the hardware stores. But many cannot afford a truck for hire and they have their own “cheap solution”, a MacGyver solution.
MacGyver’s in Costa Rica
If you have lived in Costa Rica for a while, you will understand that most of these solutions shown in the photos don’t have anything to do with the availability of the materials. Some of these quick-fix solutions take an amazing amount of imagination. The imagination of a MacGyver.
Most of these quick fixes are found for a lack of financial possibilities, other than a lack of availability of materials. Many locals just cannot afford a better solution and the system allows them to be inventive and save money, or what we call “Hacer un MacGyver”.
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