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The «Proyecto Zamia», located at Playa Cacao, south-west of Costa Rica, is like a little paradise in the jungle. Many times each day, we could see nature’s best performances: the yowling of monkeys, a morpho butterfly taking off with its metallic blue wings, the flaming colors of toucans, and sunsets reflecting on the sea. The place is inspiring and our mind becomes creative.

Vue sur le Golfe Dulce au sud du Costa Rica
Dulce Gulf

Patrick et Caroline à la chandelle
Savouring brown rum by candlelight

Perched in the hill
Our shack, called «rancho» in Spanish, has no walls. Only a roof made of iron sheet and palm leaves protect us from rain. We installed our tent in the “between roof” to protect us from mosquitoes. We have no electricity, so we cook with a little propane stove, and we use frontal lamps and candles for light. We get our water from a spring coming down the mountain. The wallpaper in our bathroom looks like a sea view! 

Once in a while, we return to the village of Golfito to get new supplies, communicate with our families and friends and read our messages, which are a reward each time. To reach civilization, we must first walk 20 minutes and then take a little boat (an other 20 minutes) that crosses the bay.

Lieu de notre cabane sur le projet Zamia
Our shack’s emplacement

Les étudiants du Cégep FX-Garneau
Les étudiants du Cégep FX-Garneau

Recently, a dozen of students from the FX-Garneau College, studying to become policemen, came to help us with the Zamia project. This year, they improved the paths and restored a sanitary installation. The energizing atmosphere that ruled during their stay misses us after their departure. They appreciated the experience, and are leaving with an unforgettable memory. The group was supervised by Marco Chavez, the owner of the place. He now lives in Quebec, but lived here eight years during his university years. We can read in his eyes how much he values this place. Thank you Marco for having shared this special place with us.

Here, at the top of the mountain, we’re not totally alone: there’s also Don Alvaro. This past gold seeker knows the jungle and takes pleasure teaching us what he knows. He makes us think of the famous character of Crocodile Dundee, Costa Rica version. We noticed his little toe has been broken, without it being replaced… It’s not surprising since he always walks barefoot. He protects the place and prevents the jungle from choking it. At sixty-six years old, he’s to us an example of peaceful and healthy man.

La famille de Caroline
Caroline’s family together

December 27, its 6:30 a.m. when we take the bus that will bring us to the border of Panama. For the first time in ten months, we’re heading to meet family. We have butterflies in the stomach. We are so eager to hold them in our arms. We have so many things to tell and to hear from them. After a big hour at the border, running around like crazy to arrange our papers, we hurry ourselves to take the next bus. A total of eight hours separates us from them. 

Once arrived, we enter the hotel accompanied by a security guard who brings us to the reception. That’s it! We first see Monique and Bruno, Caroline’s parents, sitting in a sofa, impatiently waiting. We hurry to hug them and make sure that everyone is going well. Then Mathieu, Caroline’s brother, and her uncle, aunt and cousin come meet us. We spend six days with them. Even if we didn’t get to be with our families for Christmas, at least we’ll be celebrating the New Year with them.

Feux d'artifice
Fireworks for the New Year

We also think a lot of Patrick’s family who is still in Quebec. Since we left, two little beings are born. We are so anxious to meet them all. In March, we’ll return in Quebec to see our relatives and friends, and to fix up technical aspects of our trip. After that, we will probably go work in British Columbia to redo our monetary funds to continue the adventure. But for the moment, we will stay here to appreciate the peace and quiet of the place, to photograph nature and to continue the students work.
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