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.
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 día 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 mamá. Feliz día de la Madre!
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.
On 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’t 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 “Manzana de agua” (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.
Goal! 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.
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 called “tiende de ropa americana” ¢200-¢300. 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.
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 ¢900 Colones.
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
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
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.
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.
We 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.
Hiked up the mountains, came across trails of ants carrying miniature leaf cuttings along the way.
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.
Returned home for dinner. I had choyote, potatoes, fried plantains, white rice, red beans, and a side of aquacate.
In the video I am showing a tortilla kitchen appliance. Tortilla is a traditional flatbread that is eaten in almost all meal here. You can find one of these in the home of a Costa Rica family or the like of it.
In Llano Bonito, the family functions, gatherings, and celebrations varies here. Last night and the night before, my homestay family watched a soccer game together. Whenever a family friend visit with their new-born or a soccer game is on the television, a traditional Costa Rica drink is served, called Ponche. It can be mixed with or without alcohol. The drink is a mixture of eggs, sugar, and milk. Taste and ingredients is almost similar to eggnog, the drink that is made and drank during Christmas season in Toronto. Another traditional food made in Llano Bonito is tortilla. A corn flour and water flatbread that is eaten in almost every meal here, along with your pinto. Pinto is a rice and bean mixture. The tortilla kitchen appliance is made of wood and has a hinge. The dough mixture is placed into the appliance and clamped to flatten it, creating a flatbread called tortilla. What traditional food do you have with your family and for celebrations?
Just the other day I was in my homestay family kitchen. I was shown and taught how to make a snack that consisted of unripe plantains, salt, and oil. The plantains were freshly picked by my homestay family. As the vegetation here provide many bananas, berries, cherry tomatoes, avocado, lime, lemon, rosemary, mint, chamomile, oranges, mangoes, and other fruits as well. Along with flowering hibiscus, roses, coffee bushes, poinsettias, and amaryllis. The “backyards” of the homes in Llano Bonita is literally a field of banana trees, coffee plants, avocado, mangoes, lime, and lemon trees, etc. Along the road you will find the odd tomato plant and black berries bushes. Sometimes, I would help my host family pick them and bring them home for them to make fresh fruit juices or milkshake out of it. What I notice is that Llano Bonito is a biodiversity within. As mentioned in one of my earlier post, Proal believes that nature and humans are in the same circle of life. Would you like to imagine a world where everyone and animals do not have to go hungry? Imagine having a feast of plentiful fruits and vegetables growing naturally and freely for all to enjoy at a shared “backyard”. Well, I believe Llano Bonito is the living proof of this. And if you plant and take care of one living plant to share your harvest, what would it be?
My first video blog and moving images that I had captured while I am here in Llano Bonito. I invite you to listen and see what I am experiencing and be apart of it as well.
Waking Up with the Natural Universe
Every morning I arise to the sound of the Rooster in LLano Bonito. My first morning here, I was woken up by the sound of the Rooster, house cats, the school children, and cars zooming by the house. I live in front of an elementary school, and the students usually starts class at 7am in the morning. I can hear them recite and repeat speeches in unison. This school is also where I will be assisting the students. I had attended a bullying intervention at this school. The activity was an hour long and was facilitated by the University students of Costa Rica. I had visited two other schools as well. One of the school, I will be helping the students with an upcoming English festival, that includes a spelling bee, an impromptu, and a theatrical speech.
Early in the morning around 5 am here, birds are singing and chirping happily. There are many hummingbirds, tiny creatures that flutters their wings in lightning speed while drinking the nectars of the purple butterfly bush. I also wake up to freshly new insect and mosquito bites. What is helpful is wearing light clothing, long pants, shirts and pants helps to deter them from doing this. Living higher in the mountains, it gets cold here at night and early mornings. But the late mornings and afternoons temperature increases. The sounds, sight, taste, and smell while living here is new to me but is very natural. What senses that trigger special moments in your life?
I had a days in at Proal the day after my arrival. I had the chance to observe the ladies at Proal provide a bio-energy assessment. Bio-energy assessment that the ladies at Proal utilized originated in Japan. They use a copper rod to assess the body starting from the head and moving inferiorly. Herbal medicine are used during this assessment as well. I am learning more and more about this throughout my time at Proal.
At the end of my first day at Proal in Llano Bonito, Costa Rica, I had the chance to do an active, passive, and resisted range of motion on a forearm. I was able to eliminate the possible cause produce the pain and what muscle is affected. ¡Exactamente! exclaimed the person, as I pinpoint the area that is affected. The extensor digitorum muscles that extends digits 1-4. During the assessment, digit 1-3 reenacted the pain in the forearm area. What I learned from my Clinical Anatomy and Orthopaedic & Biomechanic program classes were very helpful to help me figure this out. The days are going by quickly, and I am learning more and more of how I can utilize my learning in the Massage Therapy Program at Centennial in Proal in Llano Bonito, Costa Rica. Having to trust myself with independent research, getting feed back from my classmate and another student in the health related program at Centennial, figuring it out and building confidence in myself is a challenge. Have you been in a situation where its up to you to figure things out? How did you feel? What steps did you take?
Proal is a health based association that marriage the idea that nature and people are in the same circle of life. I and a fellow Centennial student are doing our internship here. On the day of arrival in San José, the Capital of Costa Rica, we landed in the Juan Santamaría International Airport. Our pick up ride was awaiting for us with a sign written with Centennial College and our names.
We quickly exchanged our American dollars into Costa Rican Colones at a bank between the ride from San José to Llano Bonito. I soon figured that it is easier to exchange the majority of my American dollars into Colones because I will eliminate the need to calculate the exchange rate when I purchase something here. From there we headed to our homestay family and it was quite the sight through the twist and turns of the mountains among the rain. At one point the hills were so steep that we had to back track and give more gas to drive up the hills that also lead to a sharp turn.
When the rain stops, a misty cloud covers the mountains, but soon clears out and several mountains peak appears again. Would you consider living in a mountain? Why and why not? Comment below and I look forward to hearing what you have to say. 🙂