Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rural tourism gives the visitor a look at the real Costa Rica and it’s natural resources. We are working on our rural tourist project here in Esperanza. Finca Quijote is working with the community to create opportunities for the small town and it’s residents of 44 people, while giving you the opportunity to experience their lifestyle at it’s best.

On our 1,270 acre sustainable organic farm with waterfalls and protected primary forest, our guests will be able to experience the best of Costa Rica. Mountains, streams, natural swimming pools in the river and at the waterfalls, cows, horses, chickens, morpho butterflies and beautiful birds are all part of our daily life.

Our farm is the entrance to the Cabecar Indigenous Reservation and these gentle people traverse with their families through our farm. When you come to visit please help us to help them by bringing gifts of used sweatshirts and raingear, or toothpaste, toothbrushes, crayons, pencils and educational materials such as simple Spanish English dictionaries.

Just this morning a family with two small children were walking back up the mountain with their 3 skinny dogs. The little boy had his favorite little dog in his arms to protect it from our dogs. He obviously loved this dog very much as it was tightly held to his face and chest. It was raining, 64 degrees here at our elevation, and they had only thin short sleeve shirts, no raingear, no warmth. They will travel to about 6,000 feet today, an 8 hour walk through rivers and in the rain, it will become progressively colder as they climb the mountain. They carried no backpacks as they usually do, no food, no clothing. Often they only own what they are wearing.

Visiting rural Costa Rica gives you an affordable vacation opportunity to see the lives of these folks as they live them. If you are fit enough we can arrange for an overnight (2 night) visit to the reservation (hiking is the only way in) and you can participate in a community service project. Few Costa Ricans have ever seen an indigenous person which will make your visit even more special and meaningful.

We have 3 casitas that we are preparing for rental guest housing at this time. We also offer homestays with local Costa Rican families in Esperanza. This enterprise helps add to their income and give the women of the house a chance to participate. Your visit and stay will help raise the educational level of their children as well.

It is important to bring your knowledge and resources, which provide jobs to the rural people. We need rural people to stay in their rural areas, protect the forest and it’s animal inhabitants, while helping them to make a living. They have much rural knowledge and history of the land to share with us.

We hope that you will join Finca Quijote and the people of Esperanza for the most memorable visit of your life.

Visitors have said:
“This place is like going to another country.”
“This visit was the best part of our whole vacation.”

Finca Quijote serves healthy organic vegetables and flowers freshly picked from their gardens. Turmeric, ginger, romain, bok choy, tomatoes, chayamansa, frijoles, string beans, yuca and other root vegetables, pumpkins, plantains, and bananas are garden staples. A wide assortment of fresh exotic fruits are also grown.

Come taste the rural culture that is Esperanza de Turrialba and Finca Quijote.

We bought several little houses that we will renovate into a rural tourism project for our little town of Esperanza.

This sweet chicken, who lays white eggs, has made a home in a paint tray left behind by the old owner. When you get too close she says, “Ohhh no”.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Poverty with dignity, this home has no electricity nor running water, it is immaculately cared for by the woman who lives here. I was parked across the street and was moved to photograph her home. Amazingly, there are sidewalks. I love how she fashioned an elevated portico at the front door.
Who wants to be a part of an intentional, sustainable, organic community? Hit the comment button at the bottom of tis post and tell me what you want to see for your community.

We want to continue towards the goal of an intentional community. A small community of people who bring many skills to the table while protecting the forest and elevating educational opportunities for the local children.

The ability to have, grow, and make most everything you need, is here. Technology can be had via a transceiver satellite. I visited a transceiver that is installed in our area this past weekend and I am impressed sufficiently to purchase my own installation. This will solve many of my communications problems (and that of the intentional community) and give us SKYPE for a phone line.

Felipe was reading Bill Mollison again last night, from his book Permaculture A Designers’ Manual. If you have not read the book, you should, there is wisdom and knowledge within the covers of this book that everyone should indulge in.

An intentional community is or should be a community designed to be sustainable. Unlike the planned communities of our past. I grew up when planned communities were the buzz words. I remember the “all electric house of the future”. None of these communities were sustainable but I suppose they were part of the evolution. Now, some of us know better, and we want a better quality of life for today, the future and for others as well as ourselves.

Quality of life means different things for different people. Where is your head? What does quality of life mean to you?

Do you look at things a bit differently today because of the economic collapse, mortgage failures, and the slumping stock market? Has the economy affected your life, or your job?

What is real wealth? The Extremest, Hal O’Boyle, has some interesting thoughts on real wealth. What do you think real wealth is? Or, what is it to you? What Hal thinks or what I think, really does not matter much in your world, although your personal world impacts our world and planet. Perhaps not always in a positive way, but maybe you did not realize that in the past. Our life has certainly evolved to where we are today.

Last night I commented to Felipe that our house was energy efficient. We were eating dinner by candlelight while wearing heavy sweat suits and Felipe was wearing his knit wooly skull cap, it was about 60 degrees or less and wet. He laughed and said our house was energy deficient, the truth is that it is energy frugal.

We have I think about 21 giant window openings with no glass, just screen. We like fresh air, every now and then it is briskly fresh. We make some electricity and plan to make more with a new pelton and generator. Just because you have power does not mean that you need to light yourself up like a Christmas tree. We use less than we make. I have electric candles that I bought many years ago at a 70% off after Christmas sale. My obsessive compulsive self had purchased at least of case of these on several occasions as they were a great bargain. I never used them so they were still boxed up waiting for this time in my life. Good thing I have them now, because they use almost no electricity and I have them placed about the house. Now the wind can not blow out my flame and I only use the wax candle at our romantic dinners every night. I always liked living with night lights and now we do, because we can.

Basically, we live in the non-electric house. I use the hand potato masher, pressure cooker instead of crock pot, methane, and propane for fuel. We need to work on the hot water however. I am cooking water right now so that I can wash my hair. There is no solar hot water system that would give us hot water this week. We are in the back wash of a cold front, or so they say. I can use the methane to heat abundant hot water when I need it. We just need to redirect a few things so it is easy to do. Having a plan is really important but first you must realize the need and sometimes that takes time. I need hot water now, I realize that more than ever at this moment. See how that works?

Friday, November 14, 2008

The clouds are so beautiful as they fall over the mountains.

The new baby horse and his Mom.

Waterfalls on the farm

One of our wild boa's.

The farm view on a really clear morning, the Turrialba volcano is in the distance.

The farm and our home.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My daughter Erika is engaged to a really nice Costa Rican man. Here is the happy couple, Humberto and Erika. We look forward to a fun wedding this coming year. We also look forward to Humberto being a part of our family.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Everywhere I look I see need, and you can help me to help them.

The Cabecar, Costa Rica’s most primitive Indigenous group live on the Chirripo Reservation, part of which borders my farm. They have nothing, and they ask for nothing. It breaks my heart to see their children pass my house and come into my life because I can not look away.

This family came to us on their way down, an 8 hour walk from their home, and today they are returning to the reservation. They picked coffee this week to earn a little money. They just left my house, it is noon and they will walk up to 6,000 foot elevation, to their village, in the rain. It will take 8 hours which puts them there about 8 this evening, in the pitch black, cold dark. So dark, with no light pollution, that I can not see my own hand.

Please look at this typical Cabecar family. The Mother is a beautiful young girl herself, with big dimples and the most beautiful skin. She has the blue colored basket. Do you see the young child, just a baby himself, carrying the other baby tied to his body and head. They are eating a frozen iced fruit treat that Dona Carmen, a local woman makes.

I asked permission to take these photos and the father said yes. I took his photo first and when I showed him his picture he could not believe it was him. He had never seen himself before. He burst out laughing with his hand across his mouth. Really, was this really him? Yes it was.

The Cabecar are tiny people. A medium shirt fits the largest man. My hands (I have large hands for a woman) could fit around this woman’s waist, and she has had at least 5 children that survived child birth. Today I gave them my last 3 sweatshirts.

Please collect sweatshirts for them, it is cold at 6,000 ft. There are between 10,000 and 14,000 people living on the reservation. I only see the young ones as the others are not capable of making the journey. The girls and woman need skirts, they love skirts. They all need rain gear, sweatshirts, back packs, and tote bags.

I need small clothes for the children. Look at these little faces, these are Costa Rica’s first people. They were here before Columbus, before the Spanish, and their life has been downhill ever since as they fled to the high country to avoid extinction. The Cabecar are direct descendants of the Guayabo people. You can visit the Guayabo National Park in Turrialba to learn more about their historic life.

They are human beings, sweet, passive people, who will drucken rather than confront you. I reach out to them every chance I get. I want to know where they came from, why they are here, and I want them to know that I am their friend, to whom they can come for help. The difficulty of their life breaks my heart.

As American’s we are so concerned about our children’s childhoods. We want the best for our children. I have a bow tie sitting on my desk that I made for my son to wear when he was a very little boy. And now I see these little elfin children and I don’t even have enough shirts to keep them warm. As many a 25 people will sleep laying on the reeds of a huts floor, huddled together for warmth. They have the clothing on their backs and maybe one other outfit. Look at them, this is their life, and I am the one who is having difficulty with it.

Okay, I know I must let them be Indigenous, but we must also allow them to be proud of their heritage. Why should they be cold, sick, live with internal parasites, have dysentery, fever and become delusional? They should not, and this is where we can help. When the parents are picking coffee the oldest child is babysitting the other children on the side of the road. (It takes me 40 minutes to drive this distance, they walk) Why can’t the children be at the local school receiving early or primary education? Imagine what all of the children could learn from this relationship, tolerance, understanding, and Cabecar history. We can do this, Steven’s Mom cares for her young child, it would be wonderful if we could find a little money to pay her and start a preschool program. What would this cost? No more than $50.00 a week including lunch and breakfast, all of the children in the village could go. I am sure that Angie would help after school and we could find a few dollars for this intelligent young woman in our little budget. How many children are we talking about? It would vary from about 8 to as many as 20 or more depending on how many Indigenous were here that week. Wow, we could change a lot of lives for less than $7.00 a day. Imagine, these children could enter school knowing how to read. That is a big deal as many of their parents can only make their thumb print. Can you help me to make this come true? Will you commit to help finance this program?

Please facilitate me, they need crayons, pencils, skirts, and sweatshirts, size medium and smaller. They need children’s clothes, practical wash and wear clothing. Last week there was a young girl half naked in her rags, and my husband was deeply disturbed. We should all be deeply disturbed, as human being we have an obligation to care for these poor and beautiful people, Costa Rica’s first people. If you are coming to Costa Rica or know someone who is, please send an old suitcase of clothing and supplies for the Cabecar. You can put the suitcase in a cab and for a small amount of money a cab driver will deliver the gift to the Pura Vida Hotel just 15 minutes from the airport. Please go to their website and print out the directions and phone number for the cab driver. Please put my name on the suitcase and Bernie will call me for a pickup. I will then ask the Mission to pickup the gift when they are in San Jose and bring it to us . Thank you.

People often ask me is we can meet them at the airport. It is simply not possible. We live 3 hours from San Jose and I go near there maybe once a year, by bus, if I have to. Logistically it does not work for us not to mention the $40.00 in gas added to a day’s journey, if your plane arrives on time. I hope you understand. We are farmers, and our 1,270 acres requires every minute of every day.

Yesterday and today we are building gabbions, boxes of rocks in steel cages, to keep the flooded streams from washing away the road that is currently in peril. The men will spend the rest of the day starting to plant 4,000 trees, or at least relocating them to the nursery. I rarely get a day off and if I do, we only get as far as Turrialba to do our banking and shopping. Felipe treats me to a dinner date while we are in town. The big city (San Jose) is not for me. Sorry, I just can not cross the mountain range and drive there. This is where we need to be. As you can see from my posts, we have important work to do.

I need your help!!! The indigenous children need clothing. Small sizes and sweatshirt. I gave my last 3 sweatshirts to this family with 5 children. They left my farm and walked in the rain to 6,000 feet elevation for 8 hours. They are cold, and this is all they own.