Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Day with Rosa

Meet Alex and Rosa.  They live in a small house which Alex built himself in pole building type style. Only the poles were trees that he planted and then cut off  at the various lengths he needed to compensate for the fact that he was building on the side of an extremely steep hill.  The house is open air, has no electricity except for a small solar panel, and is maybe half the size of my living room back home.  Everything in it has a function and there is nothing in it that doesn't.  This only amplifies it's beauty.  Along with the home he also built all the makings of a small farm.  They have several chicken varieties, giant turkeys, guinea fowl, pigs, goats, and even tilapia!  He built all of the structures from wood harvested right there in the jungle and for the most part cut, split and finished with a chain saw.  Along with the food they harvest from their farm, they supplement the rest of their income by caring for a few properties nearby (within walking and horse riding distance) including the home where we were staying.  They graciously invited us to their home so the kids could see their animals and ride their horses.  We had such a wonderful time!  This is the Costa Rica we were hoping to find.  The simplicity with which they live their life is truly inspiring!        
Little Frijolito (Beans) was old and steady, and Eli was
excited to get to ride all by himself.
This sturdy jungle horse, Flora, had no problem getting loaded up.
And Alex was so gracious with his time.  He happily led the kids 
around again, and again, and again.  

A view from the farm looking up towards the house.
Max described Alex and Rosa's house in his journal.  
"Alex and Rosa live in a small cottage.  The first story is a small house dangling off a cliff and supported by pillars.  The second story is the space at the bottom of the cliff, they have a small farm, but they are very kind.  Rosa is even going to do an artist trading card for me."

The next week Rosa invited us back for pizza.  Max was happy to
help in the kitchen.  Here he is stirring fresh lemonade made from
squeezing fresh lemons and mixing with tapa dulce, a raw type sugar.  
That's tapa dulce that I'm holding.  It's a hunk of sugar almost straight
from the cane.   It's similar to brown sugar but not as refined.
It made me think of what you would probably get if you mixed
 brown sugar and molasses.  But it made excellent lemonade.  :)
Tessa grated tomatoes for the pizza sauce.  When
she got it down to the peel she could toss the peel
right outside, it would fly down the cliff to where
the chickens could eat it up.  Like our chicken bucket
only WAY more convenient.  I loved that part, it wouldn't
be worth having all the bugs around, but it was awesome.
The local cheese is very sponge like, full of holes
and with a consistency similar to cheese curd.
Cheddar cheese is like buying a block of gold at
the super market.  Super expensive!  In general all
the groceries are much more expensive with the
exception of rice, beans, and bananas.
While Tessa, Max, and I helped Rosa in the kitchen
Aaron, Maggie, and the boys visited the farm and rode the horses.

Maggie was so happy to be back with her kind of birds!
This is the stove in Rosa's kitchen.  The glow emanating
from below the pots is from the fire that is heating it.
It is completely wood fired, and Max baked as he diligently
stirred the simmering sauce.
Rosa was amazing to let the kids have a free reign of
much of the preparation.  She kindly showed them how
to make dough and roll things out for pizza and cinnamon
rolls.  Her patience and happiness was incredible especially
when you count the fact that she doesn't speak much English,
and we don't speak much Spanish.  
The boys watched with fascination as dinner baked
in her oven located under her home.  They dug the oven
out of the dirt and sealed it with some special concrete.
About a half hour before we wanted to bake, Rosa went
down and lit a fire using old plastic wrappers and a match.
This fire was HOT!  So while Rosa could reach in
there with a couple little rags, when I was left to
care for the crust I could barely manage with a
 stick and my gringo ways.
Max could hardly believe we were making
cinnamon rolls!  In any language - What a treat!
My first wood fired cinnamon rolls!  Absolutely
 (Mrs. Samples I think your hubby could sell more
ovens if he handed out samples like this.)
Tessa - "We went to Rosa's house today and I grated sugar, carrots, tomatoes, and cheese.  We made pizza and cinnamon rolls for lunch and dessert!  And lemonade and choolate milk for beverage!  I also rode the horse and had a wonderful time with Brandy the dog.  I loved it!!!!!"

We were humbled and awed with Rosa and Alex and their lifestyle.  They have done an amazing job of eliminating excess, savoring simplicity, and  graciously and generously interacting with those they come in contact with, even complete strangers (like come from a different world, don't speak the same language strangers).  They inspire me in so many ways.  I want to remember how much we really don't need.  I want to remember the joy and clarity that comes with simplicity.  I feel the need to cling to this memory so that when we get back and our busy lives engulf us once again I can recall the fullness that comes with simplicity.  


  1. Wow! What a great experience. It's a good lesson to remember that so many of our "needs" are actually just "wants"

  2. Rachelle! I have to say, "You are the BEST!" It makes me so happy to see your comments. Warm fuzzies all over, truly! Thanks for checking!

  3. Oh my goodness. I know its wrong to be envious, but I can't help it. I would love such a simple and functional farm over one of our gringo homes any day. I'm so glad your able to experience this lovely simplicity! Life is great. Aldine Figueroa

    1. Aldine! You are simply fabulous! I miss you! You are so right, there was a palatable joy that comes with simplicity. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!

  4. how awesome! what a neat experience to truly see how other people live.