As the mountainous regions of Costa Rica change to winter, bringing heavy and light rains in the afternoons, chilly evenings, and a gazillion new insects…
OK I’m going to be real here. I was stuck on this ridiculous introduction for like 10 minutes, staring at the wall, not really knowing how to transition from the Costa Rican climate changes into my own personal life changes (c’mon Tily) when I saw a scorpion on my wall. The thing was big ok? I think I’ve handled the whole insect thing pretty well so far, especially in my new house where the walls and the ceiling don’t even meet but I draw the line at scorpions. I had to go get my host dad to take care of it and my host mom comes in saying “oh Thalia tiene miedo de los escorpiones?” as I’m standing on my bed already far enough away from the situation to not really need to be standing on the bed (you’ve been there). Yes, I’m afraid. Sí, mama, sí.
Anyway, my site.
Today is my third day at my site, my home for the next two years, Fila Naranjo. It’s a very small coffee farming community located in Coto Brus, Puntarenas in the super southern region of Costa Rica about 8 kilometers from the Panama border.
Fila Naranjo is:
- Tucked away in the mountains (about 8-9 hours by bus from San José)
- Beautiful, lush, green and majestic
- Warm during the days and Costa Rican cold during the nights
- Rural and small (did I mention small? ~200 people)
- Full of friendly, outgoing, happy people and kids
- Full of delicious fruit and vegetable plants (I’m in heaven)!
In the community, there is a small church, one tiny market, one school with one classroom with children ages 6-12 in the same class (there’s about 12 kids total) and a soccer field (of course). The majority of people who live here make a living through coffee farming or other agriculture activities.
Minus the scorpion, my first impressions of Fila Naranjo have been wonderful. I spent my first day here working with my partners, a women’s group, cooking and serving lunches at a feria in the city (like a farmer’s market) that they attend every Saturday. As a Community Economic Development Volunteer, I am assigned a counterpart that I will be working with over the next two years. My counterpart is a women’s group that does a lot of different things in addition their main initiative, running a small rural tourism farm in Fila Naranjo.
My host parents are extremely warm and welcoming. My host mother is a grandmother and spends her time taking care of the house and my host father has a coffee finca (farm) and sells coffee and avocados from our tree outside! During the week, they take care of their grandchildren so there’s never a dull or quiet moment around the house (hence the reason I spent my Sunday and Monday playing Uno and relaxing at the house).
While I’m eager to get underway with projects and teaching in the escuela I’m going to use the upcoming days/weeks to get to know my new home and develop a sense of presence for myself in the community.