We have been busy this month! Hot on the heels of August’s celebration of Chirripó National Park’s 37th anniversary and the Aguas Eternas marathon, we have had two more events so far this month.
September 9th saw the village, and many more visitors from surrounding areas, meeting in the sports hall in San Gerardo to share and demonstrate ideas about recycling. The hall was a mass of colour with gadgets and artwork made from plastic bags, bottles, paper, wire and any and all found objects. Here you could find a beautiful papier mache vase, many lovely hanging planters, a hummingbird feeder, bent spoon hangers and

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The brainchild for this event is Jill Titan (of Casa Mariposa) and her team including Rolando & Lorena. Jill became concerned when our region started experiencing garbage back-up because of the landfill issues. To her it seemed imperative that we reduce our garbage production and find ways to limit our use of plastics, paper and metal, or re-use/recycle items in new ways. As a member of Bandera Azul her business, Casa Mariposa, also maintains environmentally sustainable practices like reducing water and energy use and protecting the forest habitat.

Jill combined the recycling theme with Dia del Niño (Children’s Day) and challenged the schools to come up with recycled projects. At last count there were more than 70 exhibits, many of them by children, who also played games and helped keep the area trash-free.
The event also featured the local farmer’s market, Feria La Union, where you can buy local produce like vegetables, cheeses, breads, chocolate, soaps, sauces and more. The feria takes place every Sunday from 9 am, located outside Café Bambú, but for the Expo moved to the hall to join with other groups like Cloudbridge Reserve concerned about lightening our impact on the planet.
Jill is encouraged by the response and wants to make Expo-Ambiente an annual event. We hope so!

Dia de los FarolesToday is Independence Day in Costa Rica – September 15th. Last night we celebrated again the tradition began in 1821 to parade in the streets with candle-lit torches. The story goes that when independence was declared town criers went from house to house at night with torches to bring the news, and people gathered in the streets with their lanterns to celebrate. Children every year make faroles in remembrance, lanterns depicting homesteads, ox-carts, trapiches and other traditional symbols and lit with candles, recite the story of the country’s independence and then parade the lanterns after dark for all to see.

Last night the schoolchildren from Escuela San Gerardo gathered with their faroles and delighted everyone with their poems, recitations, jokes and dances – as well as their lanterns. It conjured up a warm feeling of pride in Costa Rica and the love people have for their country and its traditions. We all walked home afterwards following our individual lights, but feeling very much part of something bigger.