El Fin..

I can hardly believe it, but this morning I left Llano Bonito. My portion of the project has come to an end, but in reality it is just getting going! I worked in the greenhouse this weekend and things are looking really good—It is amazing how much the plants have already grown. Even things that we planted as seeds are already peaking up through the soil. My host sister has promised to keep me updated with photos of the progress, so I will be up-to-date on the status of our plants.

Some of the women of PROAL

Some of the women of PROAL

Greenhouse

Greenhouse

Greenhouse progress

Greenhouse progress
Our plants!

Our plants!

Lettuce looking good

Lettuce looking good

The difference a week makes! New lettuce plants on the right.

The difference a week makes! New lettuce plants on the right.

Cucumber sprouts!

Cucumber sprouts!

Last week, I helped out during PROAL’s shampoo-making process. The women produce shampoos using plant extracts and sell them to support the group. We planted several of the plants used to make the shampoo during the project. The shampoo process is pretty simple, but fairly time consuming, as all of the components have to dissolve together, and must be stirred by hand for quite a while in order for this to happen. Later, when it came time to bottle the shampoo, I was reminded of my inexperience as a shampoo-maker. I managed to get more shampoo outside the bottle than inside…Regardless, it was a learning experience, and really neat to see one of the ways PROAL uses the plants we are growing!

Plants for shampoo

Plants for shampoo

Making plant extract

Making plant extract

Making plant extract

Making plant extract

Shampoo-making

Shampoo-making

PROAL's shampoo

PROAL’s shampoo

Bottling shampoo

Bottling shampoo

Bottling floral essences

Bottling floral essences

Tomorrow I leave Costa Rica and head back to the US; I have a quick turnaround and start classes at Mac on Monday. It was hard to say goodbye to Llano Bonito and my family there, since I never know when I will see them next. Fortunately, I am much more hopeful this time that I will be able to return at some point; when I left the first time, I didn’t know if I’d ever be back, but now that I’ve returned once, I am confident that it will happen again (and again, I hope). The people of Llano Bonito were, once again, fantastic. I truly feel at home there, and that is entirely due to the welcoming nature of the community, and of course of my family. I left with the words of my host dad, that I am “una verdadera hija mia” (like his own daughter). I hope that the work that we did will positively contribute to the community, as I believe it will. The women of PROAL seem pleased with the work that we did, so I am content. I am already looking forward to my next visit, though now I’ve been spoiled and can’t stay for less that three weeks without feeling rushed!

A huge THANK YOU to Macalester College and the IGCSC for this opportunity. It was fantastic!

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