Celebrations of Life and Death in Costa Rica
At times, the cultural immersion process that volunteers face abroad is not always the celebration of life, but also of death. Samuel, a current WorldTeach Costa Rica volunteer, has been fortunate enough to be welcomed into his community, so much so that he took part in a traditional funeral. As many Latin cultures do, the community came together to honor the life that was lost, and in doing so showed Samuel a different definition of death, as understood in Costa Rica. And with a new definition of death, comes a redefined version of life.
Death is not something I would ever consider a welcome event; however, it did allow for me to experience one of the more interesting cultural events since I have been in Costa Rica. La Lucha lost one if its more admired souls, Don Cristobal, just over a week ago. I was only able to get to know him through the passing conversations on the street and the few lengthier ones we had over dinner at his house, but that was more than enough to experience the gentleness and love with which he approached this world and lived his life.
We had a long weekend this week because Friday was Mothers’ Day (Shout out to Lila and Momma Luz); so, I decided to make a trip to the beach. It was very last minute, and it ended up being a solo adventure. I had heard quite a bit about Playa Zancudo from various amigos and decided to check it out, and I was glad I did. Getting there was pretty interesting. On the bus I saw a girl mouth feeding and nursing a parakeet back to health, met a lady that had picked coffee on the same farm as my host dad, and was dropped off a little more than 10k short of my final destination (I was told the bus went all the way to where I needed to go). I tried to hitchhike from where I was dropped off, but the only people that drove by were three Germans on a fourwheeler. Do to the lack of space and language barrier, I thought it best just to hoof it. Plus, I had just finished reading The Hobbit, and I was feeling adventurous. The walk was worth it. Zancudo was a little slice of heaven. Being unaffected by the surfer take over of Pacific Costa Rica, I had miles of beaches to myself. Currents did not exist in the water, and I had my own private cabina right on the beach FO CHEEEAAAAP. I will most definitely be returning.