Bright and early (6:45 a.m.) this past Tuesday morning, Eddie drove me to Pacific Edge in Dominicalito where our friends George and Susie live. Susie invited me to come along with her for an overnight trip to Boruca, which is an hour and a half to two hour drive away depending on the route and weather, of course! We wanted to get an early start; we left Pacific Edge around 7:15 or so. We had to make a stop at a hardware store for some last minute bolts that Susie needed to repair the floor loom that she made for the Borucans – specifically Marina and her group, Artesanos Naturales. The main purpose of our “road trip” to Boruca was for Susie to repair the floor loom so that it was in working order for the arrival of Sherri, a master weaver from the U.S. Sherri will be staying with Marina for about a week in July teaching two of Marina’s daughters how to use the floor loom. Traditionally, the Borucans weave on a backstrap loom, which is the width of their hips. A floor loom will make it so much easier for them to weave larger things like bedspreads. Right now, the women have to weave several panels and then sew them together.
Marina’s house and shop in Boruca
Susie working on the loom
There are two main routes to Boruca from the main highway. We took the route that is used during the rainy (wet) season. Along the way, we made note of landmarks, mileage and driving time. This was for the next article in a local magazine. Susie has titled the article, “Follow the Roots – the Road to Boruca.” The article will have specific directions for both routes to Boruca. Hopefully, this will draw more tourists to visit Marina’s home and gift shop.
We arrived at Boruca before 10 a.m. and it was a warm welcome! Marina and her family are so thoughtful, generous and kind. Before we started working on the loom repair, we spent quite a bit of time visiting with Marina, her family and a couple of people who stopped by to visit. Also, Marina had a student staying with her, a lovely young woman (Melissa) who was working on her PhD thesis. It’s always fun to meet new people!
Susie’s floor loom is pretty amazing. I would never have been able to build something like that. Part of the repairs was to replace the brake system, adjust a few other things and to re-dye the strings (can’t remember the proper term for them). It was all very labor intensive and took most of the day and the morning of the next. Both Melissa and I turned out to be good assistants, which made it so that Susie and I only had to stay one night instead of two.
Susie buying masks from Marina
My room in Marina’s home
The yarn dyeing process
Marina and her daughters (she has 8, I think) are wonderful cooks. My favorite dish was the potato empanadas. They were awesome!!! I ate two of them. I should have asked for cooking lessons…maybe the next time.
The next day, after we finished the loom work, Susie and I took a nice walk around Boruca. Even though I had visited Boruca two times before, I had only been to Marina’s home. I hadn’t explored the village. On one side of Marina’s house is the museum with the stone sphere, the other is a small store and above her home is the church. Just down the road is the civic center. It’s a small village where everyone knows everyone.
Outside the museum in Boruca
The local bar in Baruca
This was a wonderful experience for me to get to know Marina and her family better. In addition, they don’t speak English, so I had to speak Spanish, which I did pretty well most of the time. It was exhausting work, though, trying to keep up with the conversation! There were a few times when I had to ask Susie to translate for me.
The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote for the local magazine called Ballena Tales about the indigenous tribes of Costa Rica: Hidden within the beautiful rain forests, amazing wild life and gorgeous beaches of Costa Rica are communities of indigenous people who are descendants of the Mayans and Indians from the Amazonian forests. They were heavily influenced by Mesoamerican tribes of Central America and cultures from northern South America. There are almost 64,000 indigenous (1.7% of the population) living in Costa Rica. They live mostly in the remote mountain zones on reservations implemented by the Costa Rican government. Today, there are eight indigenous tribes living on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Costa Rica. Of all the indigenous tribes, the Borucans live closest to us in the Southern Pacific zone, near Costa Ballena. To this day, the Borucans continue to be in touch with their ancestral roots – legends, dance, and crafts of wooden masks and naturally dyed woven goods. They are especially known for the “Fiesta de los Diablitos,” a three day annual festival that takes place from December 30th to January 2nd. This festival re-enacts the fight between the Boruca Indians (the devils) and the Spanish Conquistadors (the bull).
Marina’s son and his daughter
A beautiful totem pole carved by Marina’s son
The view coming down the mountain from Boruca