Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mas Que-Que

Mujeres de San Cristobal Norte for the Independence Day Game

For Independence Day our soccer team was invited to play at the school as one of the community activities. We played 5 v 5 until a storm had everyone slipping and the Director called it off. Despite the rain it was a big success- our next soccer practice had over 20 women on the run-down synthetic field.

September 15 is celebrated in a variety of ways. San Cristobal Norte had a parade, a bingo and various games to mark the 189 years of Independence. Since Independence Day the celebrations have continued as Saturday marked my 24th Birthday, and quite possibly one of my best birthdays of all time. This is probably because my birthday included not one, not two but three birthday cakes. And perhaps a fourth at the end of this week…

Doña Blanca, Roxana and Birthday cake #1

I returned from spending the morning with my training host family, and passing by the Ferria of Asseri where I could once be found selling eggs, to party hop. The first birthday party was roasting marshmallows, cake, a beautiful sign and lots of chips and beans and rice…I was rushed from party #1 to party #2 where a group of our group of jovenes serenaded me and my "cousin" Karen. We had a bar-b-que (my host mom bar-b-qued pineapple, bell peppers and onion for me while everyone else enjoyed a recently killed pig), danced and ate MORE cake.

Birthday girls with the band at party #2.

Sunday was the election of the ADI or development association's board of directors. I was excited because 52 of the youth from the youth group I have been working with participated, and three were elected to the new junta. I got a chance to read results, count votes and give a quick pitch of the document I have put together with profiles of all the different community groups etc.

And Monday brought birthday cake #3 at SACRIN, the ECC that makes small loans to the community members (and where I spend most of my time).

Doña Mayela, Emilice and Birthday cake #3

The exercise group continues, although rain has the numbers down. But this week we had one free-style song where the group taught me a dance. I have also continued teaching Yoga to the senior citizens, and Friday they invited me along to a competition against 11 other adultos mayores groups for "the queen" of the senior citizens- Doña Blanca who threw me Birthday party #1 was the reina.

A few weeks ago I ran the Tamarindo half-marathon with some other Peace Corps Volunteers, and my host dad claims he caught me on the news waving… This coming week we have AVC, or All Volunteer Conference, where we will get the chance to meet all the volunteers in country, share stories and learn new things.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Things are good. Things are home-made hummus, fresh grown beets, hydroponic lettuce and home grown tomatoes good. And with whole wheat bread good. Better yet is sharing hummus with my tico family who has never before tried hummus. Let alone eaten carrots raw...My host mother is converted and wants to take the dip around town, having everyone try and guess the ingredients.

Plus in three months we will have chile dulce (bell peppers) to eat with the hummus, which I planted today along with onions. As my host dad says, "De semilla a plato" or "from seed to plate".HUMMUS

2 cups garbanzo beans
4 cloves garlic
lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup Tahini (a tough find in Costa Rica, but picked some up in the capital)
Salt to taste

Mix it all together in a blender, adding water to get the correct consitency. Go easy on the lemon as it can easily overpower the other flavors. Share and enjoy!

As this is my first update in awhile I will just give the highlights-

On Sunday August 1,2010 I walked more than 26 km from San Cristobal Norte to the Virgen de Los Angeles, Cartago. La Romeria is a pilgramige to La Basilica, that around 2,500,000 people from all over Costa Rica participate in. The final portion of the pilgramage is entering the church on your knees or rodillas to pay tribute to La Negrita. I walked with my host brother Juan Carlos, and we met up along the way with our extended family (we left last so we could run part of the way, and catch up with the others).

I have been working with Lies, a widow and mother of three children with her coffee jewelry business, Arte y Aroma de Cafe. We had our first success story as another group of 10 International Student Volunteers visited San Cristobal Norte to work on a road. She not only sold many pieces of her jewelry to volunteers from Scotland, England and the United States, but she also taught the volunteers how to make the jewerly. She admited that her confidence is building and she is excited to try and sell her goods to local tourist shops. We have been working on developing the product, basic accounting and marketing.
So along with working with the ISV volunteers, starting up English classes, starting a committee to build a gym and making delicious meals...I have started a garden! You will get to witness the growth over the months, and finally get a taste of a recipe but below is the first photo of my onions! YUM!