Video #20 – WWOOF (Costa Rica)

Dictophone #21 – Costa Rica

Costa Rica by Itervitae on Mixcloud

Costa Rica – the ‘rest and work’ in eco farm in the rainforest

We have been traveling a year now. It’s been a massive adventure, but truth to say it’s been tough as well. So at the end of the year we finally told ourselves, we need to have a rest, too. We wanted some routine: some daily work, the same living space, the same people for a longer time. So after having found a farm on WWOOF website (about it later) we have bought rubber boots and were ready for a life on the farm.

Finca Quijote de Esperanza ecological farm

Vaizdas is fermos. | A view from the farm.

Felipe and Ginnee has a 1500 acres organic farm. It is located far away from towns or villages, in the valley surrounded by the mountains covered in rain forests. Some time ago this farm was called the most profitable cacao tree plantation, but the secret lied underneath the narcobusssiness. So the farm was confiscated by the government and resold. Eventually Ginnee and Felipe bought it. They left their life in South Florida and came to start their new life down here. Now they grow bamboos (a superb wood alternative), have cows and horses, and have lots of new ideas in mind. Their energy is surprising. In USA they had landscape design company, and used to be hired even by film industries, and now they brought the knowledge of seeding and growing plants into Costa Rica too.

In the farm there are horses, cows, and chicken, and each and everyone of them have got and excellent life we thought. The cows are being fed the grass that has been purposly seeded and replanted for them. The chicken not only have their termites and banana feast, but they also have their weekly runs, where their favorite amarinth been planted specially for them. No wonder why they produce the superb quality eggs.

Mūsų vaikeliai - ridikai, salotos, gėlės, kopūstai ir pan. | Our growing babies - radish, salads, flowers etc.

We also have a chance to see and participate in the process of putting horseshoes and even the ride the horses. After all, the views are just mesmerising, and to sit on back of the horse is one long meditation as well as sports.

So their farm belong to WWOOF - worldwide opportunites of organic farms. The funny thing is that in Lithuania this type of farming used to be a normal lifestyle less than a 100 years, but now it seems like some sort of a novelty aimed at people who are trying to get beack to this healthier option. So is that hundreds of years progress with GMOs and herbicides was worth anything after all?

Our day to day life on the farm

‘You will in a sruffy house’ the message on the website announce. Can it be any more sruffier than life under bridge, in the neglected stables or shabby shelters, or even our tent? In reality, it was a perfect location to come back after the day’s work, a cozy and lovely one, with hundreds of books, happy coloured walls, a kitchen. And we even had a hot shower every day.


Our housemates from Sierra Leone found compost toilets a true challenge. Well, it’s the bucket udner the wooden top. When you finish your toilet stuff, you cover it with sawdust. When the bucket is filled you need to take it out and bury the content in the compost heap covered with a plastic sheet. Ok, its a smelly business, but it’s a way you give back to the nature, even enriching the soil. After all, we have been used to all sorts of holes in the ground and forest bussiness, so the compost toilet was not a burden for us at all.

The views through the windows were stupendous. Our room looked at the banana plants and the rainforesty mountains. We didn’t own it and we couldn’t afford to get used to it, so we admired it daily. Every day after the work we went to have a dip in the mountain river. We adjusted just a few rocks to make our natural jacuzzi perfect.

Žaidimai su moliu, kurio poveikis odai nuostabus. | Playing with clay that acts wonderfully for the skin.

The work was not hard at all. We looked after the garden, watered it, from time to time looked after chicken and horses. We got to know lots from Felipe and Ginnee, seems they have already accumulated a vast amount of knowledge about the permaculture, how to imporove the gardening, try agroforestry opportunities like growing bambooos, and their nearest project is to build the hotel using earth bag construction method. Unfortunteally we couldn’t participate in that project as we have already left to continue our journey. But if anyone is interested what is all about, check the site It’s seems like a really affordable way to build your own property. Simple and cheap.

Characters on the farm

Felipe is a real cowboy. His parents ownded a famr, and so eventyally he got back to what his ancestors were involved in. You can see how he is eager to experiment, to run a new project of hydroenergy, to have an optical internet for local community. Their arrival to this community was as positive as it could be. Giving employment to the local people, educating them of possibilies of better farming.

Ginnee is a real magician in the kitchen. Pumpkin or banana soup is soft like a silk, and with the just baked home bread with a bit of olive oil and garlic give shivers of pleasure. Every day we experienced something enturely new and mouthwatering in this food sanctuary. Cooking without meat you can be as inventive and perhaps even more. Fresh veggies and legumes daily felt like bringing our organims back to real life.

Phil, Andreas.

Marco, the right hand of Felipe, is a happy and hardworking man. Man orchestra, know/learn-it-al. But what really struck was his goodness. Good man.

Sallu and Umar – two students from Sierra Leone currently studying at Earth University. So they had lots of theoretical knowledge about farming, and were keen to have hands on everything. Like real students permanent coffee drinkers, but very funny characters.

Andreas – German who came to the fam for the second time. The time for work and thinking he says. Truth to say, the farm was really a good place to collect yourself, to have a good think of your life and get back to the reality. Was a farm not reality? Well, for us come-and-go people, the reality I guess was back to noise and chaos. But mentally we always have a place to come back and calm ourselves down.

Mes ir batai. Plaukiame neapeinamu upeliu ieškoti krioklio. | We and the rubber boots. Swimming through the river to look for the promised waterfall.

The weekends

The sundays belonged to us. One rainy sunday we spent indoors just listeling to the heavy pour. Believe it, we were so happy: just listening the sound to the crown of drops on the tin roof from a cozy inside whilst having a cuppa and a good book. For us it was a treat.

But the following ones we were about to launch our adventurous spirit back in shape. We always up for exploration. It makes us feel more of explorers rather than just followers. So we got the machetes from our hosts and went up where no path was carved. It was wet and slippery, very steep indeed, and on the way back we actually sled down in quite a few occasions. The work up was not rewarded by beautiful sights as you would get climbing a usual mountain. But the jungle feeling is somewhat mystical. You always feel the life there. The plants are abundant, and so is the animal life. But locals say you need to stay put and let the life start living around you instead of keeping fauna silent out of fear.

Vaizdas is musu namelio. | View from our little house.

The next weekend the hike along the river was as rewarding as the final destination we were heading to. 4 people and a dog went to search for waterfalls in the mid of jungles. The hike at first looked like an easy stroll but was getting harder and harder to pass the slipery rocks. Our host Felipe and the dog decided to stay and do not proceed anymore, but we two and Andreas (a volunteer from Germany) had hopes to meet what we searched for. We finally hit the spot where we only had to take our clothes off and continue swimming. Deep down we felt that the final destination should be close. Another corner, and the waterfalls revealed themselved in a full beauty. The sunshine was reflected in the water, the gigantic blue butterflies fluttering around, the showers from the cascades, and the tranquillity. It felt like we could stay there for ages.

Local people

Supjauname ir apibarstome druska ant specialiai karvėms auginamos maistingos žolės. Chuanas ir Umar. | Cutting some very nutritious grass for the cows. Chuan and Umar.

The people of the village were shy despite the fact they were burning from the curiosity to see yet another volunteers coming. They live a simple life. Their household is minimal, the food is basic, mainly rice and beans. But the local inhabintants are still mixed, or as they would like to be taken for – of spanish origin. And as in every North or South America country, Costa Rica has native people. And as a rule, they do not have a good life for the government or their own choice.

In every country we have visited so far, indigenous had drug or alcohol problems. In Costa Rica they live in reserves, maybe somewhere up high in the mountains. They don’t have property, everything they have is shared. So they normally sleep together, eat what they can find as they do not have a culture of growing anything.

Į langą atsitrenkęs ir apsvaigęs kolibris. | A humming bird hit the window.

Juan, the worker on the farm, is a native too. But it seems to be a different case. He is hardworking so he got job at Ginnees and Felipe’s farm, everntually has built a simple house and has a small family. He is a rare case. How comes that people whose land it was now are the ones that suffer most. Mostly from not knowing what to do with themselves.

We could have had a chance to walk up the hills and maybe observe the life. But do we really need to go and see how others suffer without being able to help? Not wanting to be voyaeurs of someone’s misfortune we choose to write about it today without a certain clue how the problem should be sold after all.

Cartago - the place attracting the pilgrims.

Cartago bazilika. | Cartago basilica.

After a month of tranquility and serenity, it was a hard time to get out to chaos, street noise. You find yourself being so sensitive to every single sound, and finally you feel you are going to explode from it. The mind and body wants to go back to the peace.

But our intro into chaos was eased up. Sometimes when hitchhiking you just look into each other eyes, and the agreement is there. Alejandra was the case. So soon we are in the car, and not even planning to visit Cartago, we find ourselves near the university seeing how students invent new mashines, or visiting perhaps the most beautiful basilica of Our Lady of the Angels attracting millions of pilgrims yearly.

Laužas, akustinė Kernagio muzika iš mūsų kompiuterio ir pašnekesiai apie gyvenimą, mūsų liubiliatui pasirodė puikus derinys gimtadienio praleidimui. | Bonfire, Lithuanian artist Kernagis songs and talks about life and meaning was at the core of the evening.

But such a successful day didnt finish just with that. We soon hitched a car of happy bakers who are going to celebrate one of their friends birthday to their finca up in the jungle. So once again we are part of someones birthday celebration unexpectedly. We end up talking about simplicity, life under the dark sky – being rich having the entire universe above your head but not money.

Enroute to Panama

The month passed incredibly quickly. The Christmas together with locals, the tranquil New Year eve with volunteers playing table games. We needed that home environment. Costa Rica felt like a paradise for us. It was.

So we finally approaching our last Central America country without a clear idea of what we are going to do with the Darian Gap – the gap between Northen and Southern continents. No chance to pass by land as there are no road. How we are going to do that we leave it for the Panama story.

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