We’ve made huge strides in the past week! On Monday my host parents and I were all over La Zona de Los Santos—We drove into San Pablo, San Marcos and Santa Maria in search of materials for the greenhouse, plants etc. [Hanging with those two is always a riot; I have found that Ticos (Costa Ricans) generally have very good senses of humor. My host family in particular is hilarious & loves to laugh, which is one of the reasons we get along so well. Not to mention during this trip, we were seated shoulder-to-shoulder across the front seat of a pickup truck, and I had to lift myself up for my host dad to put the truck in reverse! It was a silly day.] We ended up going to two coffee cooperatives in the zone to buy materials, as they are great resources for agricultural products. CoopeTarrazú is the largest cooperative in the area, much larger than CoopeLlano Bonito, where I worked last semester. We also went to CoopeDota, which is one of the most well known cooperatives in the area. In addition to the co-ops and a few other stops, we went to a beautiful little plant shop in San Marcos, where it was cool, shady and smelled great. They sold all sorts of flowers, trees, herbs and other plants.
We bought the plants, seeds, hoses, plastic and other materials that we needed, getting ready to do more work in the greenhouse. During this week we re-lined beds that were in bad shape and my host dad brought out his tools to remake a few beds that had started to decay. We added new, fertile soil to the old beds and watered and watered and watered. We also started planting, filling most of the beds with peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, cucumbers, rosemary, etc. A few beds remain unplanted, but we are hoping to add a few more types of plants in the next week or so. All in all things are looking really good! The women of PROAL had their weekly meeting this week, for the first time since before the holidays. I’m looking forward to joining them next week when they make shampoo, one of the products they sell to support the group. I will get to see the process and how they use the herbs that we are planting!
In non-project-related news, the summer fiestas in Llano start this weekend and people are very excited! The soccer field in the center of town is slowing being converted into festival grounds, with a stage, food stands and all. Soon I’ll know what all the fuss is about! Also, this week I paid a visit to CoopeLlano Bonito to see everyone I worked with last semester. I was sweetly surprised to see that the poster I left, with all of the results of my research, was still hanging aside the front door. My mentor at the co-op, Jorge, asked that I come back one afternoon so that I can hangout in the processing plant and see the rest of the process as harvested coffee comes in. It has been truly wonderful to come back to Costa Rica and have everything feel so familiar. This experience is different than the last, but it is so nice to arrive and know people, places, etc. and to have them recognize me.
That’s it for now, but I will keep you all updated. Sending sunshine to all of you in the North!