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Melissa Martinez

Sibu and the Eight Wonders

By Costa Rica

On day 7, we went to Salitre to meet the indigenous community of Bribri Pa Kaneblo. It is a small community of 1,800 people but they own 11,700 acres of land. We met one of the villagers known as Jose and he was our temporary tour guide. He told us that he wanted to pass down what his elders have taught him.  He gave us a brief description about the village and how half of it is situated in another part of Costa Rica. They have their own language which wasn’t a written language until 1992. They showed us words such as mia mia, which means thank you and mishka, which meant continue. We also learned about how they grew their own food such as Iam and rice (which we saw the rice farm the next day).

He took us on a tour of the medicinal plants in their property. They had Kalkӧ Kapӧli, Pataste, Cacao, and so many more. Jose later told us about Sibu who is their god. He told us a story about two women named Pataste and Coco where Pataste cared for Sibu, who was pretending to be an old man, but Coco wanted nothing to do with him because he was old and sweaty. One day, Sibu made Coco fall from her hammock and out came gas from her body, turning her into a plant. He then mentioned how there are eight worlds, 4 above ground and 4 underground. Sibu imagined one world full of life, which is the Earth. He said that Sibu made the planet special for us and we can feel his love by breathing, eating, and drinking. He made a comparison with Earth to a little girl. They are both very fragile and cries whenever chemicals are added to them. One of the Bri Bri philosophies is that Sibu, people, and nature are 3 components that can’t live without each other. Later at night, they performed a dance for us which is a dance that they do for happiness and whenever a ceremony happens.

It was amazing to hear these stories that would be told to younger generations of the Bribri community. They had their own god who gave them everything because they cared about them. The community tries their best to preserve and conserve the area around them because they are grateful for what Sibu has given them and they don’t want it to go to waste. This gives tourists a perspective towards what they believe in and can even compare it to their own religion or what their culture is. Hearing him talk about Sibu was great because you can hear from his voice that he was passionate about him. The dance was beautiful and I loved how not only adults were doing it but also kids. I would’ve liked to hear more stories about Sibu and what he’s done for people, that could be something they could improve on. Another thing that would be interesting is teaching tourists on how to do the dance (unless it’s offensive, then that is not a good idea). Other than those small thoughts, I had a great time staying a day in their village and just experiencing the cultures and hearing about their traditions. I will always have Sibu on my mind.

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