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A Visit to a Nearby Community

As our guides were both from areas, a visit to a local community was arranged to get a sense of how they (and other communities in the area) live. The community that we visited was the Pilchi Community, located mere minutes from LaSelva EcoLodge. After docking, we walked along a path for about 30 minutes, the same trail that many students take to school almost every day.

A map from the local community that we visited
A map from the local community that we visited (Jeff Rottschafer)

Upon entering the grounds of the community, we were introduced to Valentina, who showed us around the grounds and explained a bit about daily life in the village. Since it was a Sunday, school was not in session, however, we did see some families in the various structures located near the school. Valentina quickly brought us to her prized yuca garden, showing us traditional ways of growing the crop, as well as methods to ensure that the plant will keep growing after harvesting a few of the roots.

Victoria tending to her yucca crop
Victoria tending to her yucca crop (Jeff Rottschafer)
Fistful of yuca
Fistful of yuca (Jeff Rottschafer)

We also learned (and got to try our hands at) a traditional way of hunting: using blow darts. In order to use this tool, you placed sharp darts into a long tube, not unlike a didgeridoo, and then blow through the other side to hit your intended target. You sure look goofy doing it, but if your aim is true (which mine was not), you might sink one of those darts into a gourd.
We also were presented a traditional meal, which was made up of fried yuca, plantain, rice and even a local grub. While insects like this are rarely viewed through a favorable lens by most North Americans or Europeans, they are a veritable superfood as they are chock full of protein, antioxidants and other health-giving nutrients. Not only that, but they are also quite renown for their flavor, with the raw creatures described as being “coconutty” and the roasted grubs getting the nickname “jungle bacon”. I was not quite brave enough to go for the wriggling, raw guy, but I definitely tried one that was roasted which was pretty tasty and more than a little bacon-y. Will these little dudes replace goji berries as the next superfood? Probably not, but maybe they should.

Plantains, yuca, rice, and...grubs. Our taste of local cuisine with a nearby community
Plantains, yuca, rice, and...grubs. Our taste of local cuisine with a nearby community (Jeff Rottschafer)


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