Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Week with the Maleku

Kapi- Kapi!!

Fire of Life inside a typical Rancho
I have spent the past week in Palenque Tonjibe, which is where one of the indigenous groups of Costa Rica live called Maleku. They speak Maleku Haiku (not sure about the spelling) and feel a deep connection to their culture and their forests, but otherwise live as most Costa Ricans do - though a bit more rustic. Very few traditional houses still exist, but the ones that do are really neat. They have palm roofs, dirt floors, and an ever-burning fire that represents aliveness.
My Protective lodgings

My stay was only a week long, and it was filled with hikes through thick and muddy jungles, swimming in rivers, feasting on rice and beans for every meal, and of course sacrificing to the mosquito gods so that they might spare me a few bites.

I must have sour blood. I was hardly bitten at all, which is shocking, given that an enormous cloud of mosquitoes hovers outside of my door every night. This place is buggy with a capital B. My poor students could hardly handle it and spent most of their time emptying cans of bug spray all over their bodies. Each night I have to navigate the centipedes and worms wiggling across the floor of my room in order to make it to the bathroom, only to have several mutant spider-crickets threaten to jump on me as I pee.

The Main Road
Art hanging outside of the homes is very common
Main Housing Row
Breakfast every day
The Red Clay River is the Maleku version of a spa!
I've been transformed.
River time is All the time