GCELE – So Cagru

The Global Citizenship and Equity Learning Experience group arrived yesterday and the first person I saw was Tetiana, an Event Management student assigned to me by STAMP (Student Transition and Mentor Program) which made it hard for me to hold back my emotions. The group’s arrival for this significant project was long anticipated and it’s a big reminder of home to have fellow students here in Boruca, even if it’s just for 5 days. More to come…

At the community museum

Lourdes’ welcome

Pranay, Steven and Lloyd making the hike up to the rancho

Annisa giving her safety speech before work began

Me and Tetiana

L to R: Lloyd, Wen, Tetiana and Pranay

Rancho Build

It’s a very exciting day because 7 Centennial students on their Global Citizenship and Equity Learning Experience (GCELE) trip are arriving to help build a traditional rancho that will be the new Cultural Centre in Boruca. Here are pictures of all the work in preparation for the construction from this past week. I will post more of the GCELE group as the build progresses.

A rope is tied around the top of the tree to make sure it doesn’t fall the wrong way

Harol and Chico carrying a tree down the mountain to the truck


Unloading everything back at So Cagru

All the bark is cut off with a machete to prevent bugs from eating the wood.



The method to check if things are level is nivel con agua

Tejido de algodon (cotton weaving)

In the past, weaving was the means for women to make their own but now bags for cellphones and other small items are used by everyone in the community. There are also belts and even cute backpacks. These are the steps to a very special and traditional art here in Boruca.

cotton tree

Step 1: Pick the cotton from the trees. There are two natural colours, white and brown.

Step 2: Clean the cotton then spin it into yarn using a tool called hilar. The trick is to always keep the hilar “dancing”.

Step 3: Dye the cotton with all natural colours from plants, trees and snails.
cotton colours

Step 4: Create the desired pattern with a loom called urdidor.

Step 5: Begin the process of weaving.

On top of the display case is the headband/armband I made. I just got the hang of it as I finished. It reminds me of my mom sewing and wish I could do more of it. Visitors to Boruca can get a demonstration from Marciana or try weaving themselves.

Priscilla and Chico’s baby shower


In my last post, I mentioned Harol’s good friend Chico and the big event was his parents wedding. This time, it was a baby shower for Chico and Priscilla who are expecting a little girl very soon. There were a few familiar games like bingo, pin the tail on the donkey and using toilet paper to guess how big the expectant mom’s belly is but the rest were all new to me including putting lipstick on the father-to-be if the gift giver was not correctly guessed in 3 attempts.

It was a successful surprise and the food was great as always. All the very best to the sweet couple and their bundle of joy on the way!

Matrimonio Bruncajc

It has been such a privilege to just be here in Boruca (Bruncajc) but I was even more privileged to get the chance to attend a wedding over the weekend. The couple is Harol’s good friend Chico’s parents who decided to tie the knot after 30 years and 3 grown children. It was like any other Catholic wedding but the difference was the reception which was held outside the couple’s home under a full moon.

Trying to get a picture of Chico and his mom, the bride, dancing together (far left)

IMG_8416 Me and Harol

IMG_8392 Me and my groom 🙂

Traditional Boruca dinner

Traditional Boruca dinner

From left to right, starting at the top: beans, palmito (heart of palm), sweet fried plaintains, rice and carne (usually pork that has been smoked) wrapped in bijagua leaves, yucca and plaintains prepared like a ceviche salad.


This meal is eaten with hands, no plates or forks or knives, as a sign of respect to nature by only putting back into Earth what it naturally produced. As a pescatarian, I absolutely love the Bruncajc food (could eat it everyday) but it is only prepared for special times.


The palmito


My first Boruca blog

Buenas tardes from Boruca, Costa Rica.  Mi nombre es Victoria.  Today is my second full day here for my program (Cultural & Heritage Tourism)’s field placement.  Below is what I wrote on the plane for my first blog:

Flying with 3 other ladies was such a relief to not have to go it alone and the cancellation due to the weather in the States gave me a chance to rest without feeling rushed.  It still doesn’t seem real that I will be living in an indigenous community for three months.  So many of my dreams have become and are becoming reality all thanks to Centennial.  I keep thinking what a great decision it was just a year and five months ago when I spontaneously applied on OCAS.  Although the past year has been difficult with all the transitions and feeling overwhelmed/somewhat lost with all the new challenges, I can truly say that every experience has made me a better person.  Everything happens for a reason and it has led me to this journey that I am destined to be on.

At the moment, I’m currently going through the excitement of travelling but I am also very realistic about the lows to come like homesickness and culture shock.  For example, having the (extremely fast, might I add) Spanish language coming from all directions on the connecting flight from Miami to San Jose was already quite a difference from what I’m used to in my life in Scarborough.  That is the reality of the next 90 days for me and hopefully, I will be able to cope with possible miscommunications in a somewhat secluded community (that is my assumption since I have to admit I’ve only ever visited major cities and never any of the First Nations communities in Ontario).  Another major obstacle is the fact that this is my first time being away from home for this length of time.  With that in mind, one thing for sure is how much I’m looking forward to meeting the woman who started the organization I will be working for and her family.  So many wonderful once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and more to come…