Hola Amigos y Familia,
Wow, a lot has happened since our last update! These days have been jam-packed. Let’s see: the last blog left us soaking up some powerful experiences while in the Caribbean-side rainforest of Chilamate. After a beautiful morning rafting we headed to a cooking class at our friends’ Mia and Sergio’s place where they taught us some some tasty “afternoon snack” style dishes made with entirely home-produced ingredients (yucca and cheese pancakes!) we also dared each other to try “Noni” which is probably the world’s most disgusting smelling fruit. Turns out…it doesn’t taste THAT bad 😉
The next day we did a little amateur research on some leaf-cutter ants to unearth some of the secrets of this amazing, mushroom farming insect tribe. But soon we traded out our field scientist attire for some classy apparel because we had a dance lesson/party in another local family’s home! We got all gussied up and blew up the spot with some sweet merengué and salsa moves! Sorry folks, but out respect for the experience no photos were taken…you really had to be there 😉 but rest assured: this group has some serious skill on the dance floor, and nobody put Baby in a corner…
Sadly, we had to leave this incredible community the following morning and it was not easy to say “hasta luego” to such kind-hearted and hospitable hosts. Chilamate is a special place and we all swore we would return! But the journey continues…and we made an epic climb to the center of the country and the highest slopes of cloud forests of Santa Maria de Dota. We found a unique restaurant where we had to fish for our lunch (except for a few conscientious objectors obliged to enjoy eggs or beans) and spent an afternoon touring a beautiful orchard farm useing cutting edge natural fungal and bacterial brews to grow apples, plums, avocados, and more in a healthier, sustainable way.
For two nights we slept in paradise! Literally…we stayed at Paraíso Quetzal “Quetzal Paradise” where we lucked out on a bird tour and found the elusive and magical Quetzals, whose unique long tails and bright feathers draw birders from around the globe. The Quetzal was also revered as sacred by the ancient Maya (and seen as a magical spirit-being…not a bird at all!)
In the afternoon we toured the processing facility of Costa Rica’s largest coffee cooperative and learned about their unique organizational design and efforts to be sustainable. It was interesting since we showed up with a lot of hardball questions questions about their business practice and weren’t always satisfied by their glossy answers…but the experience was great for instigating some critical thinking on what sustainability really means in this massive industry.
Our final morning at Paraíso offered us a mesmerizing hike through primary cloud forest to a waterfall where we shared some moments of silence before walking back slowly, one at a time. It made for a peaceful, contemplative finish to this rich section of our adventure.
And now…..drum roll…..we’re at Rancho Mastatal!! We’ve hit the ground running here at this world class permaculture education center and spent all morning harvesting and processing jackfruit, star fruit, and Aragossa (a strange, sour fruit I’ve never even heard of…like if a lime and a persimmon had a baby 😉
Wow, I’ve written so much and yet feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of our experience here in Costa Rica. In the midst of all these activities we’ve found time to connect as friends yet also explore our emotional intelligence and ability to share vulnerabilities. We’ve allowed the inevitable friction that comes with living side-by-side 24/7 to develop more refined communication skills to give feedback and resolve small conflicts. We also been seeing each student shine as Leader of the Day (or El Capitán, La Capìtana) and impressed by how they’ve each blossomed in that role.
Annnyway, I could go on and on 😉 but I’ll leave you with some photos to give a glimpse of our epic-ness. Thank you ALL for reading up on this adventure and your love and support! We miss you all and we’re excited to come back soon and give you all the juicy details!!
Nos Vemos, Chicos!!
Paz y Luz desde El Bosque Nublado,
Cielito (aka Skyeler)