Needing to fill a morning before a dentist appointment we decided to head south from San Isidro del General about two hours to visit the Boruca village. Why did we have to leave the house so many hours prior to the appointment? The long dirt road is being paved but first there are lots of improvements. They close the road from 7 AM to 2 PM and there is no alternate route. There also can be partial closures closer to us where the road is being widened, and the work can go later in the afternoon. It is a huge inconvenience, but we all will appreciate the time saved driving once the project is complete.
We were going to visit the Boruca over New Years when they have a huge festival for several days. This is when they don their masks and chase a bull which is symbolically killed Jan. 2. The bull represents the Spanish explorers. We chose not to go at the last minute as we kept hearing how there is a lot of drinking, drunkenness, and general behavior we would find unpleasant. Fighting can occur and who wants to see that?
Bill and I found today to be a quiet day there. We toured the free one room museum which talked a bit about their culture. The native language is disappearing so it is being taught in the school along with their crafts. We purchased an egg holder made from the gourd of a tree which is lightly carved with toucans and an armadillo. I bought a pair of earrings with seeds from the Guanacaste tree. The mask in the picture below Bill bought later from the artesan. See narrative below.
Hoping to see artesans creating, I asked the attendant if anyone was working. He sent us up the road to see Roy. Roy uses a lot of balsam wood which grows locally. Another guy does the drawing, and Roy and another man do the chiseling and carving. Sometimes they use cedar which is redder and much heavier. He invited us to see his finished products which he kept telling me were less than elsewhere, though not the museum, because he doesn’t have travel expenses. The little ones are ten mil colones, a little less than $20 at today’s rate. He can do those in a few hours. The large one takes all day and costs 60 or 70 mil, about $110. In a souvenir shop the prices could be triple that amount. To see those you will have to view the video. Bill decided to buy one created by the artist who then signed the inside and included his email and phone number. Before leaving I captured a woman, probably his wife, chopping some greens.
Back closer to the museum I had spied some yarn trying so after snapping a photo entered the house as crafts were sold there. While waiting for the saleswoman I got a glimpse into some of the rooms off the veranda. They were small bedrooms, but the one in the back was large and seemed to be a workshop. Two young kids were playing in a hammock.
The craftswoman came and showed me the creations she and many woman have made. There was a tub of belts and bags of various sizes. She apologized for not having many items as being the rainy season it is hard to get the string they dye to dry quickly. They are made from cotton yet there were two natural colors. They get the cotton from trees, and one is growing right next to her! They use plants for dying the cotton. For yellow they use the turmeric root. In the pot are a lot of large pieces of bark they boiled making a reddish color. I ended buying a woven belt with a buckle made from coconut.
A video of the experience.
The drive to and from the Boruca of immunity is certainly beautiful, especially along the dirt road, route 265.