Among the people who planted trees, Costa Rica
A woman is working for an international organization in Geneva and married to a great scientist based at CERN. She feels happy, living a dream. One day waking up she learns that the marriage is over. There is a suitcase at the door and another woman taking her husband away. The whole world seems to fall apart. What happens next? A memoir of braveness by Lubi Guindon
I thought this is the end. The end of my life, the end of the world, of everything. Days would pass like high speed cars on a highway. I was a ghost rider with nowhere to go. Waiting for a green signal. And one day it came. The greenest signal of all, in the form of a volunteering opportunity in Costa Rica. I collected my brave broken pieces of heart and said yes. It took about six months to prepare my Slovak family, my mom, sister and her little children for the fact that I am packing a backpack and going to plant trees in Costa Rica for a year. The first step of braveness when you present a big decision to your family knowing they have a completely different idea about your life and will think you are crazy.
On the plane, I kept repeating to myself, I am flying to Costa Rica. I am moving there. It is happening, it is real. I arrived in the middle of the rain season. San José was busy dirty and loud, just like any other bigger city. No sign of trees or forests. Neither of my backpack which didn’t make the connection in Madrid.
But I had everything I needed; bravery, clear and peaceful mind and openness to every person, situation or place I will encounter. In fact, I had no idea what to expect! The place I would start calling home was Hojancha, a well-hidden jewel surrounded by hills and forests. It was a small town, more of a community where everyone knows everyone and nothing extraordinary ever happens, on the first sight. As I soon learnt, about 30 years ago there was almost no tree! Hard to imagine that people seeing their drying streams of water would come together to plant trees. And they continued for many years passing on the story of their lives.
They created the paradise with their own actions. When life got hard, water scarce and sun too hot, many decided to run away to bigger cities, but those who stayed put hands together and got to work. They were the actors on the stage performing a dramatic shadow theatre play of trees. And the life continued to roll its wheels. Only their smiles got bigger when they would sit down in the evenings to tell the story of planting trees in Monte Alto hills.
Everywhere I went I was thinking of trees. There were so many varieties, most beautiful flowers, fruits and butterflies. One couldn’t learn all their names. Each tree had its own story. Each could tell seeds of wisdom in peoples hearts if they only listen to its whispers. The seasons were changing.
It was amazing to experience the strength and power of the story of Hojancha. With every sip of water coming from the reforested hills, I felt more brave in my life. I could do anything. My indigenous mentor in Costa Rica who spent his entire life planting trees once told me “Those who wash their hands with soil, remain clean.” I carried the words in my heart when running through the forests of Hojancha.
With more time passing, I got caught between two worlds. The New and Old Continent. It takes courage and a brave heart to heal and choose a new life. Take the step into new unknown future. But between planting trees and listening to the rain and wind dancing in their canopies. I was peaceful, daydreaming about all the possibilities, my life may bring. My new life only began. I was brave once and it inspired my new seed in my soul to grow. And as the main hero of the story, I wouldn’t wish to change it for anything else. I was on the road less traveled but it led me to the most beautiful places within. Once I got lost in the forest but discover a treasure.
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