Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Day with the BriBri

We had a chance to visit an indigenous tribe here in Costa Rica called the BriBri people.  This is the name of their language and their tribe and they have been existing in this part of Costa Rica for a very long time, like since before the conquistadors.  We first visited the house of the local Shaman (medicine man) and his family. He showed us their traditional weapons, how they make them, and we got to try out our skills on their version of a bow and arrow. 

His wife and daughter showed us their primitive processing of the cacao seeds into a form of chocolate.  They use the cacao for medicine, ritual, and food.  The woman stirring the pot is the Shaman's wife, age 50 and mother of 9.  She claims that her secret to a youthful look is daily application, or more like a bodily smothering with raw cacao butter.  The cacao makes a powerful drink!  After I drank it I could feel a clear resurgence of energy.  

He was kind enough to take us through his medicinal plant garden as well. To us it just looked like the jungle that we see every day, but as we walked, he showed us individual trees and plants and their unique properties that they use. You can see pictures of paint that he extracts from tree bark to paint Tessa's nails, seeds that hold pigment that they use to paint their faces for ceremony (pictures of our boys having fun with that), and saps that they use for glue or adhesives in their everyday life. It was extremely fascinating. I honestly didn't know what a nutmeg or cinnamon tree looked like until he pointed them out. It was a wonderful and educational day that we felt very privileged to be a part of. They were very kind to allow us to come inside their home and their village to see their way of life.

Tessa with the baby iguana.
A little creep and very cool.
Our guide told us that this little parrot was just
a baby and would grow into a scarlet macaw.
I didn't know how much of what he said we could
believe after this.  Tessa had done a report on this
kind white topped parrot in November.

Max painted his brothers to match his warrior ways.
Roasting cacao beans.  They used to metal ties from the rail road
to lay their pot on over the flame.  The guide said the native
people didn't like the railroad and so they ripped it up and made
good use of the metal.
Once roasted the beans are crushed,
breaking off the outer crust.
Then someone who knows what they are doing tosses the beans
into the air and the chaff, or outer crust blows away.  
The raw beans are then ground, coming
out as a bitter paste.
This little, emphasis on tiny, girl just
watched us without a sound.
Finally she took the paste and mixed it
with water, ginger, nutmeg, and a little
powdered milk.  Her whisk was a
forked stick.
DELICIOUSNESS! in a gourd cup

Maggie, "We made chocolate.  First the seeds were dried for 27 days.  Then they were placed in a pot over a open fire for 10 minutes.  Then they were ground with a stone and the shell parts removed.  Then they were ground in a metal thing.  Then they made them into coco with cinnamon and nutmeg and ginger from their garden.  Then we went with the shaman and saw a whole bunch of cool, useful plants.  Then we got to shoot the bow and I did really well."  

Max, "First we went to an iguana farm.  There was iguanas in every place and cranny.  Our guide said they could get two meters long.  We got to feed one with hibiscus flowers.  Then we went with the shaman and learned what things are good for.  He made Tessa a necklace and a little dolphin in about 10 seconds.  There was starfruit, crocodile tree, and other weird fruit in the medicinal garden.  We painted our faces with achoite and shot a traditional bow and arrow.  After that we went to there homemade gift shop that featured nothing they hadn't made.  I bought a canteen made from the same word that they make cups and bowls out of.  Then we hiked to get to a great glass clear water fall.  It was full of fish."

Tessa, "Today we went to a village that lives like they did hundreds of years ago.  We got to hold baby iguanas and feed them.  We went and helped make chocolate.  We went to the shaman and he made me a necklace and painted my nails with tree stuff.  We finally went to a waterfall and I jumped off it and belly flopped!"

1 comment:

  1. All I can say is, I want to try that chocolate drink! What a cool experience:)