Isla Chira- The Women of the Island
We spent the last 5 days on an island called Isla Chira where we learned about sustainability and economic development projects that are lead by the women of the island. It's an island that runs on girls power. We apologize for the lack of posts but the signal was not strong enough. Here's a recap of what we did. Saturday- We arrived on the island Saturday afternoon and got settled in. Sunday- This was a great day to recharge and explore the island. There was an optional trip to a historic church and a fun bike ride through meadows. Monday- We learned about the mangrove forests and how incredibly important they are to island ecology. Then, we took a trip to a mangrove forest and explored all of the biodiversity they support. We learned that mangroves are the nurseries for over 70% of tropical species! We also had a chance to swim in an estuary and feel the temperature of the brackish water. In the afternoon we met a group of women who have dedicated their lives to mangrove reforestation on the island and helped them by planting new mangrove seeds. Tuesday- In the morning we learned about sustainable fishing and learned artisanal fishing techniques from a pioneering group of fishers who have been working to promote and control sustainable fishing methods on the island. The girls were able to try their hand at fishing using a basic line and hook method. Although we all really enjoyed this morning we only caught 3 fish in total. We were able to enjoy some fresh fish for lunch though made by the women of the fishing organization. In the afternoon we visited one of the local elementary schools and had an English-Spanish lesson with the kids. We taught them English childhood songs and they taught us Spanish ones. It was an absolute blast. To finish the day we had a fútbol match with the local ticos. Wednesday- Continuing on our theme of sustainable practices, we met with a group of women who work as clam diggers and maintain and reforest the surrounding mangroves to keep the clams at sustainable numbers. After clamming with them, they made us an incredible lunch where we were able to experience being served an entire fish for the first time. It was really fun to watch the girls navigate how to successfully get the meat off the fish bones. In the afternoon we visited another women's artisans group and learned how to make some traditional Chira jewelry out of seeds from the guanacaste tree (the national tree) and ornaments out of gourds. This was one of our highlights on the trip. To complete our time in Chira we finished Wednesday evening by watching two young adult locals perform three traditional Costa Rican dances. They then taught all of us one of the dances. The girls were quite good and the night was filled with laughter, music, and dancing. We truly had an incredible time in Chira and are excited for our next adventure exploring volcanoes and learning about renewable energy in Guayabo. Stay tuned for more posts!