Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.

Last Day in Costa Rica – February 24th

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Last night Mario and Aurea took me to a place I had seen as Mario was driving me to their home on our first night.  I wanted to take a photo because I was so confused about what this place was.  Mario knew that there was a man who taught what he thought was Old Testament lessons but was not sure.

It is actually one big sign.  .

This sign says that there are free bible classes on Wednesday at 6:30


I sent a copy of the Hebrew words to a cousin of mine and she translated them to say, “Hear O Israel, Hashem is our G-d Hashem is the One and Only.”  What is confusing to me is that I don’t think there are any Jewish people living in this area.  I think Mario would know if there were.  So if there is anybody out there reading my blog who knows about this place, please let me know.

I took my last Costa Rican sunset photo from the back porch.

We had tortilla de queso for breakfast, mandarin juice, guacamole, beans and coffee for my last breakfast with Mario and Aurea.  I drank coffee in the morning for the last 4 days because it was Mario’s organic coffee. He is sending me home with 2 small bags of coffee beans.  I am determined not to develop a coffee habit so these are for one of my daughters and my son.

I had a fantastic last morning with Mario and Aurea.  First Mario took me for a walk all around his property which is about .5 hectare (over 1 acre).  He is the only one in his family who has planted such an extensive garden from his portion of the 4+hectare tobacco farm his family owned when he was younger. There are concrete paths all through the garden.

The mandarins grow in abundance and Mario grows 5 varieties of mandarins.

Mario was so enthusiastic about showing everything to me and making small cuttings of leaves for me to smell.

This is a Pitanga.  It is the dark one that is ripe.  After I took my photo, Mario picked it for me to taste.

The yucca flower is growing high up in this Yucca.  I have no idea how Mario is able to get up that high to pick it.

I took a close up photo of this beautiful flower and I did learn that the Yucca flower is edible.

This little pineapple needs more time to grow.

I know we saw a Guanabana tree  but I can’t remember which photo it is.  I wish Mario was with me to identify the photos.

This may be a Nance tree which produces little yellow fruit.  It is strongly aromatic and the leaves are spychedelic.  It belongs to the family of Solanaceae which is actually the same night shade family as tomatoes, tobacco, and chili.

I now think I  know the name of this flower – a Heliconia.

This rolled up leave will unfurl.

Mario picked a leaf and told me that they use this leave to roll around a tamale.  It is called a Bijagua.  They served small tamales like that at the party last night.

Mario’s and Aurea’s cat and dog went with us on the whole walk.  ‘the love to play with each other.

Mario picked up this fruit from the ground.  He said it is called a Zapote and he loves them but Aurea does not like them at all.

He will have to wait for these to mature.

There are drain ditches all over the garden to prevent the water in the wet season from flooding the plants.

When we passed this water running off from the washing machine, Mario had to divert its path so it waters the correct plant.

This was such a fabulous way to start my day today.  I know that Mario loves to work in his plantation and I am so happy that he shared it with me.  I took a couple more phots on the way back up to the house…

The corn Aurea uses to make fresh corn tortillas, Mandarins for our juice and squash.

Plants are growing all over the land and Aurea also has potted plants everywhere.

I love the chairs on the front porch.  These are my favorites.

After our walk Mario and Aurea took me to the elementary school.  Since we didn’t get in the other day they wanted to make sure I was able to go today.

I was able to visit with the principal and with Mario’s help ask many questions.  We were here in time to see the 4 year olds through 3 grade. They go from 7:00 am until 11:30.  4th through 6th grade comes in the afternoon and stays until 7:00 pm.  Teachers teach both sessions.  What a job.

Yet it is quite obvious that the facilities in the schools are not equal.  This school is so equipped with supplies, etc than the one where Sergio teaches all of the grades 45 minutes from Liberia.

4  and 5 year olds have their own playground space.

Children are taught to brush their teeth at school.

If I understood correctly, special education children are almost all integrated into the regular classrooms.

  • They have PE twice a week.
  • Lunch is served at school for all children either after classes for the pre-school to 3rd grade or before class for the 4 -6 grades.  There was a lunch schedule and this woman makes all the lunches.

There is a teacher who comes twice per week and teaches all the students what Mario calls, “religion.” but is not a specific religion.  Todays lesson seemed to be about accepting all people – pointing out that we accept everybody no matter what their interests are, what color they are, what religion they follow, whether they are handicapped in any way.

I did not see it, but this school has a computer lab.

Several of the children knew Mario and Aurea.

I jumped over the rope with these children.

Visiting the school was quite the treat for me.  Making the time on my last day is another example of how Mario and Aurea cared about me.

Before Mario and I left to pick-up Barbara, Aurea showed me the tiny flowers growing from the arbor.

And she wrapped up tortillas de quesa for me to take to the bus so Barbara, Sue, Janice and I would have lunch.

When Mario brought my suitcase downstairs for me, he asked me if I had purchased many stones.  Mario and I picked up Barbara and drove to Grecia.  We said good-bye to the Ticos at the church.  There were only 4 of us.  Lee went on to visit Tico friends she had made in the past and Ann left last night for the hotel and a flight out this morning. William drove us to Hotel Brilla la Sol which was about a 45 minute ride.  Ir is owned by Luis and Flor.

The first thing I noticed was …

… and I really wanted a massage.

Barbara and Sue went swimming.

There were two lounge areas to relax.  The man in this photo is Luis.

Barbara and I each had wonderful hour long massages this afternoon.

We had a very delicious dinner together.  I had a fish (Covino) that I had never eaten before with two different salads and wonderfully smooth chocolate ice cream for dessert.

I am siting in one of the lounge areas and completing my last blog post by 11:15 this evening. This was truely a lovely place to spend the end of the wonderful experience in Costa Rica.   I am looking forward to when the Ticos visit us in Oregon at the end of September.  I hope I get to see some of the people I met on this trip again. We have a lot of planning to do to make their visit to us as wonderful as ours has been.

Author: Nancy Panitch

Traveling has been a passion of Nancy Panitch's life and she loves seeing how people in other cultures live. Her travels have taken her to many places within the United States, Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa. Being around people inspires her and she has much gratitude for the kindred Souls that are joining together with her in body, mind, and heart. She moved from Chicago to Portland, Oregon in 1982. It was one of the best decisions of her life. While in Portland she stays very, VERY busy. She volunteers (Inter-Religious Action Network, Human Rights Council, & ushering for various theaters); attends a Unitarian Universalist church; goes hiking with groups (Cascade Prime Timers & Trails Club of Oregon) and also with individual friends. Book groups, movie group, and bridge groups occupy her time as well. Her quiet activities include yoga, knitting, Sudoku, and reading. She enjoys all of these activities, but making time to see her wonderful 4 grandchildren takes priority over it all. She is happy to share this blog and hopes to encourage others to travel.

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