Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Bills are on the House


Imagine a life where almost everything you need to survive is on the house; but in order to afford this luxury you had to stick or go back to basics. This is the case for the Indigenous people in Kekoldi, the “house” I am referring to is the forest and “back to basics” is referring to a time of no electricity, electronics or internet. This is how the Bribri people of Kekoldi live their daily lives. They don’t have to pay for food, medicine etc. They have almost everything they need in the forest, giving to them by their God, “Sibu.” Sibu build this world only for the Bribri people. The forest acts as their supermarket, hardware store, pharmacy and water source. According to the Bribri people, Sibu only put non-Bribri people on this world to provide the people with clothes and shoes. I was intrigued by their way of living and beliefs about the world because everything their actions and belief were very traditional but also very new to me.

We had to hike three hours up a mountain to get to the Bribri community but it was totally worth it when we got to the top. The view and house, our host Sebastian built with two other men also Bribri, were amazing. On our second day we took walk from the forest to learn about many of the plants the Bribri people use medicine and food. We also climbed to the top of a bird watching tower, also built by Sebastian, where we were able to see Panama from one side and the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. We watched the rain come from the city toward where we were, which was pretty cool.

Living in a generation where electricity, internet and phones have become necessities, it was nice to see that people are able to live happy lives without them. Visiting Kekoldi was like going back in time. Even without electricity my group had so much fun hanging out and playing card games. The food there was some of the best food I had in Costa Rica. The Indigenous way of life and mentality of preserving the forest is beneficial to the world. For example, Sebastian and his two partners cut 24 trees in their forest to build the house we stayed in. To make up for cutting the trees, they planted 2400 trees. 100 for each tree they cut. Although they know they will never see the trees actually become adults in their lifetime, they know that they will become huge trees in future generations. The people of the world can learn a lot from Indigenous people. Especially, when worrying about who gets the bill?

Le’Shauna Phinazee

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