Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Unexpected Friendship...

We knew there would be construction workers on our property while we were going to be there this trip. Our Architect, Antonio, wanted to have them leave while we're there, but we didn't want to slow anything down so we told them to stay. They sleep in our garage and have a little shack up with spare metal sheets where they have a bathroom, stove and sink. (Ticos are very resourceful).

What we didn't realize is that the main construction worker, Oscar's wife, Carmen, would be there living with them. It was harder for me to know that a woman was sleeping in our garage, then just men. I tried offering them to at least sleep in our house, but they refused and said they were fine.

Carmen speaks absolutely no English and I speak preschool Spanish. It was an acquaintance that I didn't think was ever going to go past sharing snacks throughout the day and smiling. That is until she saw me walking around everyday taking pictures of spiders. ...She came up to me and pointed at herself, then held an "air" camera, and then pointed down into the jungle and took fake pictures with her hands. I first thought she was offering to take my camera down into the jungle herself and bring me back pictures. Then she pointed at me to go with her. My first reaction was "yeah, let's do it!" ...but, it started to pour so we decided to wait until the next day.

That night, Paul and I had dinner with Antonio and his family. I mentioned how Carmen was going to take me into the jungle tomorrow to take pictures. His first reaction was quite different than mine. He said "Sarah, it is very tropical here, everything bites, spiders bite, snakes bite, animals bite, trees bite, things you can't see bite." Then he asked me if I had the proper clothing. I didn't pack anything but dresses and flip-flops, so I had to answer no. He then went on to say that if I didn't have boots, two pairs of socks, jeans, long sleeves and a hat then I definitely could not go into "the tropical".

The next morning when I woke up, I took Carmen and we headed south to the closest biggest town. I bought her and I the "proper" clothing, since I have only seen her walking around in flip-flops as well. I picked up a machete to match hers and had Oscar sharpen it for me.

Ticos are very "green" about everything and I didn't want Carmen to see me spray myself down with OFF! Deep Woods. I literally covered every square inch of myself, including my hands, face and hair. I popped over to the garage to grab Carmen and then we were off into the JUNGLE!

A view of the jungle from our balcony.

...and we're ready, minus our machetes, gun and bamboo walking sticks!

I loved the contrast of delicate little flowers in the midst of wildness.

Do you see the roof of our house in the top of the picture?!

It was so hot and we were so thirsty from hiking, so Carmen stopped to drink some water from the river. The only problem was that I doused myself with OFF! and couldn't drink from my hands. I tried confessing what I had done but when I told her I had poison on my hands and couldn't drink the water, I think she thought, that I thought, the water was poisonous. So, she kept showing me how it was ok to drink by drinking it herself. Ugh.

It was so much harder going back up the mountain after hiking for so long.

It's hard to tell you how far we went, but here's a zoomed in picture of the large mango tree with two palm trees to the left of it. We went a little past this mango tree.

I never experienced a friendship that has the amount of respect that Carmen and I share. We can't communicate with our words, but we know we're there for each other every step of the way. She would jump over drop offs and then hold out her bamboo stick for me to jump and then grab onto. We went up rivers and always had an outreached hand for each other during slippery parts, I would push her to go farther with fewer rest breaks, and she would show me animals and plants and say their name. Once we had been hiking awhile she said that I was an expert, then on the way back she said that I was the teacher and she was the student. I know I wouldn't of had the confidence I had in each step, if it wasn't for her.

I'm forever grateful that she took me off my porch and into Costa Rica.

Love, Sarah


Thelonius Funk said...

Wow Sarah I really like your blog. feels like I'm hanging out with you. Looks likes you have a lot of beautiful things goin on. :)

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