It was the first week of June and very hot. We traveled in a northeasterly direction out of the shadow of the mighty Arenal Volcano. Our destination was the small rural farming community of Guatuso in northern Costa Rica. The original inhabitants of this area were the Maleku. Today only six hundred and fifty of them remain making their living by hand carving wood in different shapes of animals, birds, and flowers and then hand painting them in very bright colors. These beautiful works of art are sold to tourist who come to hike the trail along the Blue River.
Yes, the River really is blue taking its color from the minerals in the water. The river has its birth place deep underground the Tenorio Volcano.
I along with my friend Paulette came to visit the Tujankir School located at the end of a long winding dirt road ten miles outside the small village of Guatuso. Here sixty kindergarten and grammar school students from the surrounding area attend along with four teachers. The student body is a mix of Costa Ricans, Nicaraguan immigrants, and Maleku Indians. Our mission was to deliver seventeen soccer uniforms and four soccer balls donated by the Abbeville United Methodist Church in Abbeville, Alabama. We delivered school supplies – card games, color crayons, writing paper, legos, and pencils and pens. Also the T Shirt Factory in Abbeville donated 100 colorful T shirts to the children at the school.
Dressed in their new uniforms the boys and also the girls eyes lighted up with great enthusiasm as they began to play a game of soccer. And we cheered from the sidelines.
Afterwards we were invited to a delicious lunch at the Tujankir School prepared by a young Costa Rican woman who welcomed us with a big smile.
The school was recently built, only one year before and painted a bright blue color. Sunlight filtered through large windows and into the classrooms. Children sat at wooden desk and used notebooks to copy lessons as the teacher wrote on the blackboard. They had no books.