Bowel Movements Without Borders: What is Privacy Doing to Community?

Sunrise over Mastatal in Costa Rica.
Sunrise over Mastatal in Costa Rica.
Shadows might lurk in the valley of Mastatal, but no secrets are found here.

During my stay in Costa Rica, I spent two nights with a local host in the small rural community of Mastatal. The home, like many others in the community, was constructed in familiar fashion: floor, external walls, internal walls and roof were all accounted for. Notably, however, there was no ceiling; that is, there was substantial space between the top of the internal walls and the roof above.

This seemed of little consequence until I found myself familiarized with the bowel movements of our host: Lus Milda.

Photo depicting bedroom with gap between interior wall and roof.
See that gap between wall and roof – that’s the culprit right there!
And her daughter. And her son-in-law. Not to mention the construction worker, the elementary school teacher, the high school teacher and the assistant principal of the regional school board, and of course, the two other program participants who were all sharing in Lus Milda’s hospitality. Having the bed positioned immediately adjacent to the bathroom I would hear everything (and more!) that is to be expected from a diet of rice and beans. Subsequently, when it came time for me to make a deposit, I was very aware of the fact that I had an unwilling audience. Privacy, then, was compromised.

Continue reading “Bowel Movements Without Borders: What is Privacy Doing to Community?”

The Secrets to a 5 Bar Connection in Rural Costa Rica

A rotting log supports wildlife growth in the forest.You find yourself hiking at the Hacienda Baru Wildlife Rescue in Costa Rica. The protected forest is turning out to be quite a scene; only five minutes into the hike and you are entranced with the sounds that raw nature has in store.

You look up and spot a three-toed sloth hanging on a tree, and as you glance a second time, you notice that it’s a mama sloth. Her youngling is hugging tight onto her belly. Suddenly you feel something crawling on your feet. You look down and there are hundreds of huge Hormiga ants marching single file onto your foot.  You are experiencing so much and you want to share the essence of the moment with your closest thousand friends on social media.  To do that you take out your phone, but you realize that you have zero service. How can you obtain a strong 5 bar connection? Well, unfortunately I am no cellphone expert, but I know a thing or two about having a strong connection with nature and living in the moment.  The following is a small guide that will help you experience Costa Rica closer to the way the locals experience it. These tips helped me feel more connected with the pura vida lifestyle while I was in country. Continue reading “The Secrets to a 5 Bar Connection in Rural Costa Rica”