“My husband can carry that bag for you.”

“It’s not heavy. I am used to it. For three months I walk up the mountain to pick beans and carry them down.”

Daisy is the grandmother-in-law of our landlord who lives close by. As we began a morning walk down the dirt road into the village we spied Daisy outside JuanCa’s house admiring one of her twin grandchildren who was nestled in her papi’s arms soaking up the warm sun’s rays after her morning bath. At seven months of age Violet was enjoying the moment with a smile as enticing as the love filling her father’s soul.

As we took a moment to discuss a few property matters with JuanCa, Daisy took Violet and disappeared into the house. When she returned she walked across the road and began filling a plastic mesh sack with freshly picked corn. By the time we finished our conversation with JuanCa she was trudging on down the road with a mighty heavy bag. Worried, I caught up with her and offered to have my husband relieve her of her seemingly back breaking burden. She was insistent it wasn’t heavy and that she was accustomed to the task. She set the bag down to show me the corn, and when she hoisted it back over her shoulder I swear it took all her strength to do so, yet it is what she does.

Mind you, this is a very petit woman who, I later found out, is almost eighty years old! Eight decades! Good grief! She then walked with us down the hill to her house about a half kilometer away and never once needed to rest or shift the weight. Doesn’t she look relaxed?

I am five feet seven, and this tiny woman can carry more than I any day.

When we arrived at her house she invited us in for a taste treat of what she makes from the corn. Here in Costa Rica a favorite is a thick corn pancake called a chorreada. She had us sit in her large rustic kitchen and gave us a delicious sample before warming one in her dreaded microwave.

As we sat and enjoyed our second breakfast Daisy explained to us that she loves her wood stove. The two burner gas stove is tolerated, and her microwave is tolerated even less. She then explained her husband was having trouble with his lungs which the doctor said was due to the wood stove. That was a lie, Daisy exclaimed! They had to buy an electric range with an oven, which is sitting silently in the next room covered with a cloth and two house plants making it seem useful. I wonder if she uses the oven for storage??
Needing to head on down the road we got up to leave with full bellies. She kindly showed us the other common areas in the house and the seat covers that the local woman make with their vintage looking sewing machines. Generously she held out two and asked which one I would like. After choosing one she started to put the other back in the drawer. She changed her mind and offered my husband the other one saying to put them on the car seats.
As can be seen there are numerous family photos, even one of her and her husband almost fifty years ago.

As we meandered outside we stopped to examine the very dry coffee beans that will soon be ground for their daily cup of joe. We were surprised at how light weight they were! She retrieved a canister of her own roasted ground coffee so that we could enjoy the aroma. ¡Que rico!

She and her family are basically self-sustaining with the coffee, beans, corn, squash, eggs, yucca, etc. that they harvest. She has flowers galore that all need tending as well. Despite all the demands of surviving she has time to stroll on into town for an evening of bingo!
Photos by Bill Green