DownTime in Costa Rica :)

As you can imagine, we are not working 24/7 and we do get the weekends off, so I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to on my free time here in Costa Rica.

There are a lot of waterfalls in Costa Rica so I got the chance to visit a few of them. We found a tour organization and they took us to see the Nauyaca Waterfall and visit the Domincal Beach in January as well as Isla Tortuga in late February. Both trips were awesome.

We had about an hour and half hike up a mountain to get to the waterfall but it was well worth it and I love hikes (and yes it really looked like that). after swimming around in the waterfall for a bit we head back down and over to Dominical Beach for dinner and for me to see my first ever Costa Rica sunset. pretty damn nice looking if you ask me. For the trip to Isla Tortuga (turtle island) it was pretty good as well. A bit hectic cause it took an hour and a half on a boat to get there but it was also worth it I think. The water was so beautiful (the pic to the right) and I went snorkeling for the first time ever there!!! soo cool. after I stopped freaking out every time I put my face in the water and breathed it got a lot better when I got the hang of it. But it was so cool, for those of you who haven’t tired it, I highly recommend it. The fish pass right under you and its just so amazing, like being in a whole other world. I won’t post any pics of snorkeling cause I don’t have any and I probably also looked ridiculous in the goggles, you’ll just have to imagine it ;). After playing a couple games of volleyball on the beach it was time to call it a day and we headed back.

The University I am working at (ITCR/TEC) hosted an international day for all the international students going there (there were 30 of us) to get to know each other. There were students there from France, Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico, Spain, etc. they were from everywhere. There were even a few from the USA (they weren’t Trump supporters don’t worry). So the school took us on an all expenses paid trip to Jaco Beach and Rain forest Zip lining :). needless to say it was great day. made a lot of new friends, had my first time in a rain forest and zip lining was also preeeettyy dope.

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Following the Jaco trip. and with the friends I made on that trip, we planned another trip together. We spent the weekend at Manual Antonio. For those of you not familiar with Manual Antonio, it is a BEAUTIFUL beach (my favourite in Costa Rica). It has beautiful white sand, and it is right besides a national park with lots of wildlife … MONKEYS for example. haha seeing a monkey was on my list of things to do in Costa Rica so I proudly checked that off the list after this weekend. We stayed in a cheap hostel near the beach spent the day at the beach and the night at the pool. it was a hell of a weekend. These European kids sure can drink ūüėČ haha so it was a great night full of great drinks great music and great friends. anyways I had a blast. We checked out the national park the next day and met some monkeys ūüôā

Other than these, I’ve just been wandering around from adventure to adventure, just yesterday I was at Volcano Irazu National Park with my friends. Instead of just explaining them all, i’ll just post pics ūüôā

So yeah, I think that’s about it. I think I’ve covered everything aha

So I hope your having a awesome day and keep smiling guys.

By: Jason Bridgemohan

Quitirrisi – Huetar Tribe

We all went on a educational trip to Danny’s Quitirrisi Huetar Indigenous community.

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Here is a little information about Costa Rican’s indigenous people: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† The Indigenous peoples make up about 1.7% of the Costa Rican population. Like Canadian indigenous groups, these people also have territories/reserves lands. There are roughly 24 indigenous territories located throughout the country of Costa Rica. The Indigenous people of Costa Rica have a similar story to the Indigenous people who live within Canada, the rest of North America, and Australia . They are the people who first lived on the land, prior to European and African contact. Christopher Columbus arrived in Costa Rica in 1502, around ten thousand years after the indigenous peoples of Costa Rica made the land their own. The contact with European settlers caused many of the indigenous peoples to die of diseases brought to their country by the foreigners.

The Huetar tribe’s territories¬†are in two locations in the Province of San Jos√©. The Quitirrisi Huetar tribe is in San Jos√©, Canton de Mora (Quitirrisi de Mora), and the Zapat√≥n Huetar tribe is in San Jos√©, Canton de Puriscal (Zapat√≥n de Puriscal). Their cultural identity has been somewhat lost, although certain traditions, such as the¬†Fiesta del Ma√≠z, and the use of medicinal plants, have been preserved. The ancient Huetar were very wise people who had an infinity to nature, medicine (to the point that they could do minor surgery). As well as math, science, language, and sports, they were innovators, inventors, and visionary of their time

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I was able to visit the Huetar Tribe in Quitirrisi, Thanks to one of the indigenous students named Danny that I was working with this semester in Costa Rica. Danny took all of us (our group comprised of the TEC indigenous students, and the 3 Centennial College students) on a field trip to see and learn about his tribe and community. Quitirrisi is located just 40 minutes to the west of Santa Ana, the Quitirrisí indigenous territory/reserve is the home to about 2000 Huetar Indigenous people. Quitirrisi Collage 3

The natives’ land is relatively unfertile and a varied of agriculture did not develop. Corn is one of the only products that is grown by Huetares. The Huetar‚Äôs crafts are products based on palm leaf, fodder and vegetable fibers. The Huetares are specialists in natural colors for dyeing clothes, ceramic artifacts, basket weaving, pottery, etc. they are sold at roadsides and at “ferias‚ÄĚ which are the markets to sell their goods.

Today Huetares speak Spanish (due to the loss of their native language). However, one of their leaders, Juan Sanchez (or “Choto,” his name in Huetar, and also Danny‚Äôs uncle),IMG_20160213_132037

who shared his people’s history, culture, and challenges with our group. He has been making efforts for the last twenty years to bring back the language, customs and traditions of his people.  Juan told us that the Huetares are descendants of the Mayan’s tribe. He took us on a tour telling us the significant of all the native structures as well as their meaning, and purpose, for example the building with a thatch roof. We learned that each palm-wood pillar of the sturdy structure represents a different ancestral spirit, which makes the shelter a sacred and wondrous place.

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Juan also showed us how they make sugar cane juice.  Quitirrisi Collage 1

 

We also met with Danny’s father who makes basket weaving items, and wooden statutes/figurines, etc.,

Quitirrisi Collage 2 20160301_182604then we met with Danny’s uncle who does pottery work. He gave use a demonstration on how he makes his pottery on his spinning wheel, and also by hand.

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Danny’s cousin also had a display of his craft work too. I don’t have to tell you that I bought some stuff, because I did (you would too if you saw it… so cool!).

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All I can say is that I had a great day learning about Danny’s amazing tribal history and culture, they are very humble, care and genuine people, who are very welcome and happy to tell you of their culture and customs. I am very PROUD to call Danny my GOOD friend,IMG_20160213_154532 I will be sad to leave when the time comes to return home. Pura vida!!

By: Abir Hassanien                                                                                                                                     Social Service Worker                                                                                                                               Centennial College (Ashtonbee)                                                                                                           International student placement internship Costa Rica (Instituto Tecnologico de Costa

Talamanca !

So this weekend we went to Talamanca, more specifically to the Bri Bri indigenous community located in Talamanca. Lemme tell you, what an adventure. Lemme tell you first, its like a 5 hour drive to Bri Bri from where we started so this adventure started off pretty lame, waking up at 5am and being crammed in the back of a hot jeep with 7 other students for 5 hours…but not to worry, it defiantly got better.

After we finally arrived at our destination, we met with some elders from the community, who just to happened to be the grandparents of some friends of mine, and they taught us about their culture. We learnt so much from the elders my brain was exploding with information by the time we left. we learnt about their customs and beliefs, how they came to be here, their views on marriage and sooo much more. Did you know that long ago, the Bri Bri people believed that people were born from corn seeds? thats why corn was and still is considered a sacred food by the Bri Bri people. super interesting. I also learnt that many of the elders have been working with an organization to help make a Bri Bri to spanish dictionary and have even converted parts of the bible to Bri Bri, all in an effort to keep their language alive and prevent it from dying out like many of the other indigenous languages in Costa Rica. Their efforts to preserve their way of life are incredible and I really hope their language and amazing ways of life are still around for generations to come. After the learning session they told us some legends and stories of the Bri Bri people (my favorite being “the water tiger”) , I won’t recite any as they are far too long but I implore you to google a few, they are extremely cool.

The next day (sunday) was just as interesting at the first. We met this man (who’s name I dont remember) who I found extremely curious. He grew cocoa beans and produced his own 100 % organic chocolate. Despite being an curious fellow, I also found him to be very wise. He told us (and this is word for word) “Human beings today are confused, we used to be all about togetherness and unity and respected the circle of life and the world but now we are all confused, we are all square. we cannot agree on anything and we live a square life, square houses, square doors, square mind. we no longer respect the circle and that is why we are failing”. A wise man indeed.

After having lunch and discussing the world with the wise chocolate man we went off to have some fun. Cause after all, what’s work without a little fun. So we hiked off to the local waterfall, as all the locals do, and spent some time cooling off in the beautiful mist of the waterfall, while mentally preparing outselves for the 5 hour trip back to Cartago.

A great end to a great weekend, in the beautiful place that is Talamanca !

p.s. we also saw a sloth ūüôā

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  • By Jason Bridgemohan

 

PARA MAM√Ā

PARA MAM√Ā

I have share an insight about an important date, August 15th, 2015.  A time where Costa Rica honours all Mamá.  There was a significant event that guided me to write this post.  Feliz día de la Madre!

By: Sherry Ing, GEO International Internship Costa Rica Summer 2015 participant.

Pillow embroidery
My host mom’s embroidery stitch work. She had planted beautiful roses and fragrant flowers in her home. She loves flowers.

On August 15th, 2015, Costa Rica celebrates Mother’s Day. ¬†I like to take this time to blog about this important date. ¬†To all the Mothers out there, and members of society who had to take on the Mother role for whatever reason they have. ¬†Feliz d√≠a de la Madre! ¬†¬†When I was in Costa Rica just one week from today, the children at the two elementary schools that I worked at made Mother’s Day card. ¬†I had the duty of helping the children with the upcoming English Festival and Spelling Bee. ¬†For their impromptu speech, the children had to write and talk about their family or favorite things. ¬†This also included their own drawings when they described a family member or their favorite thing. ¬†What I noticed is each child’s drawing. ¬†But one particular one stood out to me. ¬†It was one of the young boy’s family. ¬†He drew two male holding hands together. ¬†I later found out that he had lost his mother and it was only him and his dad. ¬†On this week, for most its a great time to share the joy and celebrate our moms together, but for others its sadness and a reminder and longing for Mom that they shared a short time period together. ¬†When I said goodbye to the children that I worked with, I made sure that they felt loved and cared for. ¬†I hugged each and everyone. ¬†With this said, it is important to hug. ¬†As a Massage Therapy student, hugging is just as important in healing then any other form of treatment. ¬†It is an alternative form of therapeutic touch.¬† If everyone in the world received a hug each day, their health will be up a level. ¬†It is very therapeutic and the Science behind it is that we releases hormones, such as Endorphines. ¬†Which in turns gives us happiness. ¬†During my time in Costa Rica, my host mother role was very important. ¬†She made sure each of her son was feed, kissed each one on their forehead before they went out for their soccer game, and made sure everything is in order in the household. ¬†Para mam√°. ¬†¬†Feliz d√≠a de la Madre!

Hola! Llano: a short Llano Bonito visual essay

HOLA! LLANO: A SHORT LLANO BONITO VISUAL ESSAY

By: Sherry Ing, GEO International Internship Costa Rica Summer 2015 participant

This is a brief summary of a short visual essay of my global experience internship in Llano Bonito, Costa Rica.

a Llano Bonito visual essay

FIVE THINGS TO DO IN LLANO BONITO

FIVE THINGS TO DO IN LLANO BONITO

This is my compiled list of five things to do in Llano Bonito, Costa Rica. As well as, it can be a guide for making the best out of your rural living-condition experience.

By: Sherry Ing, Centennial College Massage Therapy student currently in Costa Rica.

  1. HikingOn your sole, get set, GO! In Llano Bonito, there are routes and passages that you can discover by foot with a hiking companion ofcourse. I personally wouldn‚Äôt go alone, two mind is better then one. I like to hear someone with a different view set as me and can point out things that I might otherwise have not seen with my own eyes. Along the unmarked path, sometimes there are no sidewalks, along the hills, you can get a taste of the edible berries and fruits from trees and bushes. Not sure what they are, but its good to have a local person guide you on what fruits that can be eaten. An unfamiliar fruit I had tasted was a ‚ÄúManzana de agua‚ÄĚ (translated as water apple in Spanish) Everyday the weather is different and you can always guarantee that the same place looks different. Sometimes you can be walking through the mist and fog, or have lightning and thunder in the background.
  1. Fotbol FieldGoal! There is a solo outdoor fótbol (soccer in Spanish) field in Llano Bonito. It is bigger then the indoor soccer field located within the elementary school of Llano Bonito. Every Friday evenings, the female and male soccer players would have a game there. My homestay brothers play a family soccer game every Sunday with their cousins after church in the outdoor field. Sometimes there is a serious soccer game played on a Sunday there. People of all ages would gather to watch it behind the fence or sit on top of their cars.
  1. Play dress up and find the needle in a haystack. There are little shops that you can find and buy used clothing. It is sometimes San Pablocalled ‚Äútiende de ropa americana‚ÄĚ ¬Ę200-¬Ę300. You can find interesting patterns and fabrics from the mountain pile of clothings. It really is a workout and like finding a needle in a haystake as I mostly watch the girls pull clothing out of the pile and help with the pulling and stacking as well.
  1. Its good to get out of the district once in awhile. Take the bus to the nearest canton, such as San Pablo or San Marcos. The cost for a bus ticket is approximately ¬Ę900 Colones.
  1. Attention all Coffee Lover out there, visit a coffee plantation and learn how its processed and how they do it here in Llano Bonito. It’s a 24 hour non stop coffee assembly during November to February and sometimes March. Local family and workers that come from the nearest country such as Nicaragua during this time to help out with the coffee picking and the production. It is also the summer season and time of harvest for the coffee plants.

A GLANCE INTO A DAY AT WORK IN SAN RAFAEL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

A GLANCE INTO A DAY AT WORK IN SAN RAFAEL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

I have documented and shown a day into my life as an intern in Llano Bonito at an elementary school called San Rafael and what my Monday looks like last week.

By Sherry Ing, Centennial College Massage Therapy student currently in Costa Rica

5:30am

Woken up to the sound of my brothers leaving for work. The Mother Hen is always busy in the kitchen early in the morning to prepare us breakfast.  I ate a traditional breakfast called pinto: fried eggs, rice with beans, and sour cream on the side.

8:30am

Started work at the San Rafael elementary school and ended at 11:30 am. The children just returned from a 2 week vocation. We helped the English teacher with the kids by reviewing potential topics for their upcoming test. We utilized active learning. I had the children play a mini competition between each other when they reviewed their shapes. I drew a robot and a house and gave instructions to the children to construct the same drawings by dictating in English to them a shape to draw.

12:30pm

Coffee PlantationWe visited and toured Coope Llano Bonito coffee plantation. This is a fair trade certified coffee plantation in Llano Bonito. Fair trade certification is a set of guidance that the plantation follow so their workers are treated fairly in terms of work payment and working condition along with how the coffee process is done. Our tour guide is an Engineer and showed the group around the plantation. He talked about the grading of coffee and the stock exchange in New York, U.S regarding coffee prices. During their busy season, mid November to February, sometimes into March, the plantation runs 24 hours. They have machines that reduces the number of manual labours in the process. There is a hot and humidity control systems that the coffee go through.

1:00pm

Hiked up the mountains, came across trails of ants carrying miniature leaf cuttings along the way.

5:00 pm

Visited a friend and their friendly Iguana. We did some cardio workout as well and lyrical dance with her daughter to her favourite songs by her favourite pop idol.

8:00pm

Returned home for dinner. I had choyote, potatoes, fried plantains, white rice, red beans, and a side of aquacate.

Balie Tipico de Costa Rica by Llano Bonito Elementary School

First rehearsal of Costa Rican traditional dance, Balie Tipico, proudly presented by Grade 3 students from Llano Bonito Elementary School. Enjoy ūüôā

Created July 2015
Beidi Zong

Music “This is my song” by Mindy Gledhill

SIDE OF AQUACATE

Aquacate

SIDE OF AQUACATE

By Sherry Ing, currently in Costa Rica

My home-stay brother asked me if I wanted to harvest aquacate, while he was happily trimming part of the stem off an aquacate. Aguacate is avocado in English. He just harvested the bins full of avocado at the back of the truck in the morning with the other male family members. His clothing were soiled and his hands muscle were very developed probably from many years of manual labour. While my other brother was taking a rest at an outdoor chair beside us. It was a moment that I will never forget. There were pictures being taken, but I opted not to be in a photo. The would-had-been photo would had consisted of me and my fellow Centennial student at either side of the truck with smiles on our faces between the bins of avocados. The reason I did not model in the photo was because I felt that I did not put in the work and my brothers had laboured in harvesting those avocados. ¬†They should had been the models. ¬†Many times at my home-stay they would leave the house early and return with similar characteristics in the afternoon. Soiled clothing, sweat pouring from their faces, and catching their breath. They would always be very proud, happy, of their work and shared the joy. These were a certain avocado cultivar made and harvested from Costa Rica. It is a fruit that is pear-shaped and is native to Central America. Every meal I have with my family had a side of avocado. They were nicely green, buttery, and tasted good. Each one that I had was savoured and I was thankful for. I appreciate how much love and care that my brothers takes in harvesting them and how important it is to them and their family. ¬†If you love avocado,¬†how much do you buy them for? ¬†Where do¬†they come from if they are not grown in your country? ¬†What cultivar/variety is it? ¬†Usually you will be buying the variety ‘Hass’. ¬† What do you make with the avocado?

Llano Bonito, Costa Rica

I have been in Costa Rica for more than a month now, and still have three more weeks left. How time flies! I’ve done some hiking, tons of walking, and some crazy rides so far. The views are absolutely breathtaking from 360 degree. Since it’s the wet season now, fogs and drizzles will always stream in late in the afternoon. You’ll find yourself literally walking on clouds. How magical! My favourite pastime is having a cup of freshly brewed coffee, quilting at the studio, and looking at the fog engulfing the mountains, kissing my skin, tasting the cooling vapour, and inhaling the fresh air rushing through my lungs. Ah, happiness! It’s my first time making a “video” video not a photo video.

Hope you’ll enjoy!

Created July 2015

Beidi Zong

Music “Now We Are Free” by Kelly Sweet