Learning experience in a Maleku ranch

Learnings in the workshop of a Maleku tribesman

From an academic point of view, we can learn that the Guatusos or Malekus are an Amerindian ethnic group of Costa Rica, they speak two languages, Maleku Lhaíca and Maleku Jaika, they are located in the northern plains of the country, specifically in the cantons of Guatuso and San Carlos, province of Alajuela. They are distributed in three main communities: Palenque Margarita, Palenque Tonjibe and El Sol. According to a quick search online, as I dare say most people would do nowadays.

However, many times, after reading, the mission to connect with the Maleku spirit is frustrated among so much informative text.

Is it possible that there is a way to delve into this culture with more vividness and excitement? Fortunately, there is!

Tuesday, February 15, 2022. My cousin invited me to a cultural activity in Guatuso. I agreed.

It's 6:10 am and I'm running a little late, fortunately I don't miss the bus and manage to get to my destination. On the way to the place they tell me that our visit will be to a Maleku ranch where Don Adiel will teach us about them.

We arrive at approximately 9:00am where he has received us in his nice workshop a few meters from his house. Don Adiel is a nice man of 64 years very full of peace and life, he is part of the Maleku community. A few years ago he decided to start his own business project. His name in Malecu is Nanca-Uri, which for me is his real name, therefore, this is how I will refer to him from now on.

In the workshop, Nanca-Uri started talking to us about her idiosyncrasy answering all the questions we asked her, mostly inspired by the beautiful handicrafts we saw around, she enriched us by teaching us about the meaning that elements of nature such as animals have for them, she told us about their current problems and what I found most interesting, the role of women in their community.

And so after the workshop, we went on a tour where we visited the forest, the river, the plantations and his kind, lively and beautiful wife Curijuriquio, who welcomed us with a warm heart and lunch. The teachings of the Malekui way of life comprise a deep treasure that offers lessons for everyone regardless of sex, gender, age, etc.

Let yourself be surprised and allow yourself to learn from this important part of our Costa Rican society, and follow us on our social networks for other cultural and ecological content, you are invited!