Week 2 – into the jungle step 2

Flew back to San Jose, the capital, Saturday afternoon – very sad to say goodbye to my new friends – team Yoga, as Jen said, ” like being on a honeymoon with 11 strangers….”

Same tiny lightweight Sansa Air plane as before, 2 pilots but this time about 10 people were flying, a huge pile of bags, so funny seeing it all being packed under the tiny body of the plane into luggage space similar to a bus, with similar Very simple hatch covers (do these ever unexpectedly popoff in midflight and distribute luggage to needy rural areas on the flightpath?!). 

Guess this is how flight used to be …. straightforward, you’re on the plane and taxiing out 10 minutes after it arrives, and when you land the pilot drops you at the entrance  door of the terminal and your bags are waiting within seconds.. felt very luxurious.

Was collected at the San Jose airport by the chatty Francisco,  a close friend of Joshua who is the Verdenergia tribe leader.  Frnacisco already befriended all the staff at the Sansa Airport by the time I arrived,  both a bus driver and policeman so every person we passed, on our 1hour drive to Puriscal, whether that personwas driving a bus, car or pedestrian, greeted him! We had a great chat – my yoga friend Sheila imtroduced us,  warning him about me with my 1% spanish but we managed well, Francisco with his 4% English, and a ton of signlanguage and gesticulating inbetween.

We stopped enroute after an hour, in Puriscal  to pick up some of the Tribe Verdenergia, including the very charismatic Joshua Peaceseeker – who were shopping for groceries, peanuts, beer and chocolate in whatis the nearest town. To prepare for my entry into the jungle, I was directed to an authentic old hardware store with a bunch of super helpful clerks and a separate Cashier window ( like fabric shops in India) to get botes de hule- rubber boots – as these help to keep your feet from the ants on the farm.

The farm itself is an hour from Puriscal, 3 hours driving from the coast, down a simple track that is not terribly steep in the dry and quite well graded, but in places is missing half the road which has fallen down the mountain.  The winding route involved plenty up and down, until we turned into a simple farm gate at a half wood/half concrete farmhouse.  The main building is an old farmhouse which has been redeveloped, there are 3 bedrooms here, 1 of which is a small box with 2 huge mostly paneless windows looking out over the jungle, and a half wall. That’s my room!

There is a huge eat-in kitchen dining area,  lovely strangely modern looking natural spring water swimming pool with benches and a fountain, a beautiful yoga/dance hall,  further 4 dorm rooms and anarray of other rooms behind and above, scattered around the property. On the next hillside (there are two creeks and a river, the land is pretty undulating) they are building 4 houses for some of the core tribe members, and grow some of the food and flowers, the rest of the gardens are scattered in dells and glades all over. Permaculture is also about beauty, so the finca is very beautiful.

We get up before 5:30 and the breakfast team serve fruit and coffee.

Tasks are assigned and teams selected, and the workers go off to build, dig, plant or clean. 

As I am doing the Permaculture course with Douwe, Lauren and Amanda, I get to do my blog for an hour and class starts at 7.  At 8:30 the breakfast brigade serve the real breakfast (yesterday amazing organic dosa – pancakes – made with yukka rice and bean flower slightly fermented- and something delicious with cheeze and various veg on top – I recognised cabbage but it was incredibly tasty).

All the food is made from scratch – flour is ground from carefully grated and dried yukka, after the starch is  collected from soaking it, yoghurt is made from scratch, turmuric spice is grown here but needs to be grated, dried and ground, chocolate is from the cacao bean, ginger from a root – everything as far as possible is seed to soil to sink to table….

And then there’s the compost loo, so I guess even from the table there’s another level of procesing… they compost human waste for non-edible plants (they’re re-treeing the estate with local trees as it used to be a pig farm and the soil was heavily eroded and nutrient  degraded when Josh bought it.)

Lunch at 12:30 is the end of my morning classes and dinner is at 5:30 – its pretty  stifling hot during the afternoon so most people chill out next to the fresh water pool,  play games in the house, or hang out in their room. I think some building work goes on in the afternoon, if people can work under roof.  They make absolutely  everything they can, by hand, so the work on two houses under construction right now is all about sanding raw trunks and planing wood for the floor, long and arduous tasks we’ve all forgotten how to do, as we just buy finished wood (or the whole house!!!!)

Its amazingly back to nature and back to original tools and ways of doing things. 

We are in the middle of mapping one of the new buildings surrounds, in fact that of our teacher Douwe, a dutch guy with an amazing history in permaculture, worked in honduras, kenya, here in costa rica. I’ll put up more photos next time!!  Of everything including the compost loo with the amazing view.

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