Great news!... I just had an email from my son, Eben, he has bought his ticket and will be arriving for two weeks on the 22nd of March. HURRAY! It will be the first time that we've seen him in nearly 2 years. I'm very excited.
Yesterday, he also sent me a whole bunch of photos, most of them taken by my father, during his visit last February. I really wanted to show you a couple of these, plus some others, which maybe give you an insight to rural life, here in our village.
A few members of our friends and nieghbors, the Solorzano-Leíton family. They're passing sugar cane through a hand operated cane press to make "agua dulce", a sugar cane drink, which, I have to say, I'm not that fond of, but it's all good country fun! In this photo you can see our friends Cheila (the mom), Irene (the youngest daughter, who has since had a baby boy, infact, that was the day that she told us she was expecting), Juan Carlos (the son-in-law, married to their older daughter Jenny) and Dorian (the youngest son, chewing his nails!)
This is my Dad, Francis Charles, testing the cane. He's usually up for a laugh!
Nilo and Sandy (Alexander), the eldest son of their family, and - besides my husband - my best friend down here. This was the Los Charcos paper aeroplane contest. No doubt, Nilo won, 'coz that's just how it goes around here ;}
Sandy with a "terciopelo" or "Fer-de-Lance" pit viper, which he stumbled upon at our water tank a couple of years ago.
Here, you can just about see it's deadly fangs. Field work here has always come with risks and this particular snake - which is by no means uncommon in this neck of the woods! - is just one of them!
It also has it's special moments too. Like this one, when I got to spoon-feed a baby "tepisquintle" or "agouti", whose mother had probably been killed.
And this one, with brothers Dorian and Sandy, when Dorian graduated. Just about the same age gap exists between them, as does between Nilo and Eben, (of nearly 12 years!)
Children of the village school to which Nilo attends. Those were all of the allumni of 2008. It has about the same number of students this year, ranging from 7 to 12 years old. After that, any child who continues in education (and they are few and far between) will have to travel to the next town to attend college. Most of these kids come from economically poor homes, where families tend to be large. Work around here is tough, mostly done by the menfolk, and limited to the agricultural sector. People either work with cattle, rice or oil palm.
Here I am with the class, Christmas 2008. Rey and I have tried to promote the school's needs to people beyond the Osa Peninsula. With the help of a very generous friend in San Jose - Jacqueline Monocell, who, in turn, round up a group of her family and friends - we have secured small amounts of funding which have helped to improve the school dining facilities and to repaint the school house, and Jacqui has also helped to provide some much-needed basic school supplies.
In addition, for the past two years, Jacqui's group have sent a Christmas present for each child and Rey and I get to be Santa.
This is Ronald. He's 10 years old and has Spina bifida. Most years, he undergoes a series of operations in an attempt to straighten his feet and legs. He's a spirited little chap, and I've never heard him complain. Jacqui's group sent him boots, because he had spent years dragging his poor little broken feet along in rubber boots. However, this is a classic tale of how you can't always help people. The boots were so nice, that Ronald's father decided that they should be kept for best. So Ronald continues to spend all day in rubber boots and has probably outgrown his comfortable boots, having never really benifited from them. Life in this part of the world is a constant battle. Sometimes you win... and sometimes you don't! The important thing is not to give up hope!
Stripping maize kernels to make fresh "chorreadas". The kernels are then put through a hand mincer and the paste is cooked with a little oil on a hot skillet. You can either add a pinch of salt or a pinch of sugar to the minced kernels. I like mine hot and sweet ;7
It's a family thing. Jenny and Irene and their aunt are preparing the maize, and Sandy waiting to pass the kernels through the hand mincer. Now that takes muscle... and after years of working the oil palm, Sandy certainly has some of those!
That's me, over on the left again, in their beautiful hand-made kitchen. Just watching. An important reminder that we all have something to learn from each other!