Saturday, May 16, 2009

One day I hopped off a bus in a random area. As I was wandering down a street I chanced upon a hand crafted sign that read "Family Art" with an arrow pointing up a hill. The narrow path led me through a stream and to the greatest family I have ever met. This family strolls through the jungle collecting organic materials such as seeds, plants, shells, coconut, clay, and naturally fallen wood. Jarrel, who carves all the masks and statues, explained each material to me and what kinds of plants and trees they come from. There is only one kind of tree in Costa Rica which can be cut down legally (because it is so plentiful) and it is called Laurel. While Jarrel was explaining to me that they don't use any machines, a man showed up at the door and spoke to him urgently in another language. Not broken English, not Spanish, but Bri Bri. The language of the Indigenous people of Talamanca. The man was telling him that a huge tree had fallen into the river during a recent rain storm. This would be used as material. Dorcus, his beautiful wife, handcrafts all the jewelry. She doesn't speak any English so he would fill her in on parts of our conversation and he always called her "mi amore".

Knowing mom and Angela would love to meet Jarrel, Dorcus, and their adorable toddler girl, I brought them there one day in a rental car. We brought snacks for the family and purchased some of the amazing authentic work for our loved ones back home. I found an awesome mask for Greg and Jarrel reshaped a coconut shell watch I had bought in Cahuita. Now it's the perfect watch for me! Jarrel and Dorcus are incredibly talented and thanks to the tour agencies who have connected with them, they now have a website so people can order their amazing art online. (I'll post that later, it's back at my cottage in Cahuita)
Jarrel told us a great deal about the Indigenous people in Talamanca, including his wife's mother who operates a chocolate house down the road. She is the most adorable little old woman in the world.


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