My husband was watching Channel 7’s midday news on Saturday when he shouted to me, “Come see this!”
I was glad he did. The show was covering a story that took me some time to wrap my head around, thanks in no small part to the biases and preconceptions messing around in my brain. The headline said that indigenous communities in Talamanca, in southeastern Costa Rica, had donated huge amounts of food to professional female soccer players. I kept thinking, “Isn’t it the other way around?”
No. No, it’s not. A group of Talamanca women spent 10 weeks going door to door in their communities, on foot and by boat, to collect more than 10 tons of yuca, plátano, chayote, ayote, chile dulce, culantro coyote, pejibaye, limón, malanga, caña de azúcar, mamón chino, fruta de pan, naranja, toronja, carambola and cacao. And others. But you get the idea.
They donated the food to women soccer players who are having trouble making ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis and who, in many cases, have themselves been voices for solidarity and philanthropy during this difficult time. (Check out this Boost from July.)
“We don’t have much moey, but that’s no reason not to show solidarity and share the little we have with people having a hard time,” community Edith Villanueva told Channel 7. “This country has helped us during our toughest times – during floods and earthquakes and now during the pandemic… so we thought we could show our thanks to Costa Rica by donating part of our harvests.”
Why soccer players? She said they know that these women practice all day long, holding down jobs and studying in many cases, and have been affected economically just like others in Costa Rica.
This isn’t the first time Talamanca’s indigenous communities have taken my breath away with their philanthropic efforts. When Hurricane Otto devastated northern Costa Rica, they gathered food and sent it all the way across the country to help those in need.
Once again, this region is giving us a master class in what it means to stand with others.
All images from Vice President Epsy Campbell’s public Facebook profile.
I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; learn how to join my Overwhelmed Writers’ League, every Saturday at 1 pm EST; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! To learn more about how to support Costa Rica during the crisis, visit my COVID-19 section – or for ways to enjoy Costa Rica from afar, visit Virtual Costa Rica.