Visiting the Maleku tribe

  1. May 2015

We started our travels early in the morning; it was roughly a 3 hour drive to the Maleku reservations, near the town of Guatuso. Once we got there, a truck took our luggage up to our location while we walked on a long, strenuous, hilly, and rocky road. By the time we got up to the dining area, we were all extremely sweaty because of the strenuous walk we were not prepared for. Once we got up to the dining area we had lunch. The locals knew we were on the reservations so they wanted to play a pickup game of soccer. On our way down to the pickup game we walked through the village to invite people to come watch or to come play.

The next morning we woke up and had breakfast around 7:00. We then split up into two groups; the first group took a tour in the dry forest and the second group worked on an art of painting on a shell of a fruit. The tour in the dry forest consisted of our guide Alex showing all of us plants that are medically used and animals that are living in the section of the forest we were walking in. In previous decades, the rubber tree was used for light and to keep the bugs away. The main issue about this tree is the Nicaraguan’s fought over and killed many Maleku for this tree. Then we painted on a gourd which is a shell from a fruit. They wanted to show us this indigenous art, because for most Malekus this is their source of income. Later in the day we went on a frog tour and our goal was to be the first to spot the red eyed tree frog. Next we were told more about their lifestyle and what all of the crafts meant by the animals drawn.

The final item of the day was playing a soccer game against the local men and women’s teams. Starting off, the men successfully won a 2-1 game with assistant coach Patrick and a student, Yona, scoring for our team. Then the girls played with a 3-3 tie with Jelly, Morgan, and Rachel scoring. We then went into a penalty kick shootout. For both teams all 11 women went through and kicked a penalty kick to decide the winner. Now both EMU teams are 1-0. That night after dinner a few of the Maleku people came up to perform a ceremony for us in order to show us their appreciation for our visit as well as show us how they worship their god, Toku. They wore what looked like burlap and a straw-like outfit for the ceremony. They chanted, sang, and danced around a campfire and they also had us join them so that we could be more involved in their ceremony process. We also took time to tell the people what we appreciated about their lifestyle because they live so much differently than us, because they work to preserve nature and take care of the world around us.

-Becca Borg