Wednesday, May 02, 2007

EARTH University students have been visiting our home and farm since Friday. Thirteen smart, exciting, very bright, joyful students have enriched our lives. They gave us demonstrations as to how they make EM and MM as well as evaluating our farm and making recommendations. Then they went hiking to the waterfalls.

I gave them cooking lessons and taught those that were interested how to make hamburger buns, ajote pan, sopa de ajote, Asian pancakes, oatmeal raisin cookies, Thai lentil coconut soup and pizza.

Yesterday they went hiking to different waterfalls on the other side of the Rio Oro. On their way back down the mountain, it started to rain and they discovered how much water comes off of the mountain and down the river as they were now trapped on the other side of the Rio Oro. Cold and shaking from the freezing torrential mountain downpour, they were approached by an old rail thin man wearing a black garbage bag cape. Felipe the caretaker, invited them into his home. His home is the hotel we have been trying to buy for about 3 years. It has no roof, just a few black plastic bags that do nothing to keep the place dry. The entire floor was a puddle of water.

Gunther, the previous property owner of our land who is also visiting with us, called me to tell me the students were stuck on the other side of the Oro. I was wondering how I would tell their teacher Panfilo that they would not return because they were stranded by a now wild river filled with debris, bolders and rocks. This flash flood occurs with every hard rain, but the students were not prepared to see a sweet stream become a raging torrent of furry. Hours went by while they were stranded and Gunther was rescuing them. He tied a rope onto his Galloper and pulled the students across the threatening river. When they arrived back at our home they were swaddled in blankets and bedding from our caretakers house. Their clothing was so muddy that we washed them in the sink before we washed them in the washing machine.

The students told us today that they feel they must come back to help the old man at the hotel who welcomed them to come in out of the cold and to stand in front of his fire. They feel so bad that any human should live in those conditions.

The caretaker, Felipe, was hired to guard the hotel by a man who does not own the hotel. This is a convoluted story of a very dysfunctional family. The truth of what happened may never be known but still to this day the undercurrents of dysfunction continue to bubble up as ugly and deceptive as the vortex that destroyed the relationships within this family. Greed, false surveys, lies, theft, liens, corruption, debauchery, hatred, death, it is all here in one not-so-neat, ugly package that continues to ooze. Felipe has been guarding the structure for about 18 months now, he is about to come into his second rainy season.

Our EARTH students are among the finest group of young, caring people that exist. We were talking at lunch today with Gunther and we think that it does not get any better than these young people, in this age group, and in this year of 2007. We have had many young people stay with us, we were host parents of 16 kids at a time in Florida, and I have my own children who are now adults. To have 13 students, of this caliber, and so well behaved, was a privilege.

I look forward to receiving the student’s stories as told by each of them and when I receive them, I will post them on the blog for your enjoyment. Their adventure is one they will never forget, and one that most of you will never experience. Rural off the grid Costa Rica can be every extreme, and so very beautiful as the mist falls over the fila drenching the forest while giving life back into the rivers.

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