On Thursday I went on a field trip with my Tropical Medicine class to a place called Quiturrisi on the very top of a mountain west of San Jose. It is where one of Costa Rica’s indigenous tribes lives, the Huetares Tribe. We went to learn about their lifestyle and the types of natural medicines they use. We sat as their Medicine Man, Jocho, told us about their history. He said that they are still recovering from when the Spanish landed; their religion, language, and way of life was destroyed and they are still trying to rebuild it all these years later. He said the Spanish language was forced upon them and they had to learn about the value of money. They didn’t have any form of money so they didn’t understand it and were cheated until they had nothing left. They also had to practice their religious ceremonies secretly at night so the Spanish couldn’t hear them and punish them.
We walked around the forest and in just a small area there were so many plants they used as medicines or remedies. At the end of the visit we went under a large straw hut and anyone who wanted could participate in their religious ceremony for our leaving the area. The ceremony was very interesting and included fire, leaves, feathers, hot stones, water, and an instrument similar to a maraca. He sang and spoke with rhythm while he called for the Father to rise. After the ceremony he took us to his house and fed us. We had an omelet and tortilla with beans all wrapped in banana leaves instead of using plates. It seemed very efficient and clean. I loved the trip overall and can’t wait for our next visit.