During our visit to Costa Rica in March of 2017, we had the opportunity to visit an indigenous community called Boruca. Legend has it that the Boruca people were the only ones to withstand the Spanish attacks. They are also known for their art - colorful carved masks, jicara carvings and intricate textiles.
Our friend Mike introduced us to a young lady named Fressy who would be our tour guide for the day. Fressy spoke virtually no English and we spoke only a little Spanish. We struggled through the day as Fressy took us to a beautiful waterfall, an artist offering jewelry and carvings and back to her family's house for lunch.
The meal that Fressy's mom made us for lunch was one the best we had in Costa Rica - suckling pig, heart of palm, fried plantain and rice. I can still taste it a year later!
After lunch, Fressy took us on a trek through the jungle. We had no idea where she was taking us - we stopped by a beautiful river that had been carved out of stone and we were thinking that was it. Then we started going off trail and through knee-high vegetation. Of course, we're thinking "what about snakes???" Eventually, we stopped at a tree. And not just any tree, but one of the biggest we've ever seen. In fact it's so big, you can see it from satellite maps!!!
We really liked Fressy and were grateful for the tour, the fantastic lunch and just how warm and friendly she and her family were. The one thing that we felt could help her support her family was if she was able to speak just a little bit of English. She would be able to lead tours and communicate better with the participants.
So, we returned this year with a Lenovo laptop with Rosetta Stone English installed. We were really excited to deliver our present and once again, our friend Mike helped set up the meeting. We showed up at her house and found out that she was pregnant! Now, learning English would also help another new member of the family.
Her whole family was there, mom, dad and little brothers. We presented her with the new computer and she was excited and happy! Using Google Translate, we were able to explain how to use the software, but it's really intuitive, and before you know it, both she and her little brothers were talking about boys and girls drinking water - in English! I was especially happy that her brothers were taking advantage as well.
I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be able to help this wonderful family. I look forward to returning next year to have a conversation - with better Spanish on our part and better English on theirs!