Painting is Mari's primary source of income. She is helping to support a household of 4 along with her husband who works in agriculture. Mari has been officially painting as a business for three years, selling at many local and national fairs. She is often invited to participate in various markets across the country. Painting birds is Mari's passion and she would do it day and night if she could. As part of her studies, she spent hours walking through the mountains watching birds in silence. This is how she fell in love with the mountains, forests, landscapes and birds. As a child, Mari remembers that her Grandma used to put bananas in the trees to feed all the animals that came around so she has always been surrounded with admiration for wildlife.
Raul’s passion is caring for animals and Leidy is proud to be able to contribute to the family’s major source of income. They enjoy being able to spend a lot of time together, while also raising their family and doing good work. They did not have this opportunity in the past. Raul thinks that it is important for people to be able to live independently and use their passion. Their vision for the future is to produce more milk and have better quality cows and land. They do not want to grow and have 100 cows, they just want to be able to maintain their land and farm the best way they can. They want to send their 2 girls to college and be able to have a livelihood when they are too old to work.
The town of Alta Mira of Bijagua is located in the northwestern region of Costa Rica, known for it’s spectactular Rio Celeste and Tenorio Volcano National Park. The local economy is agriculture, however, the climate makes it difficult to sustain so often the community finds contract work in construction in other areas. The town center is rural and surrounding communities are full of micro-entrepreneurs. Many families specialize in their own trade, let it be cheese-making, milk, bread, vegetables, shoe-making, etc. and they sell their products and services amongst each other. The town center and numerous local hotels will offer tour packages that take you to excited activities outside of town. Rio Celeste’s famous turquoise blue mineral waters can be reached by vehicle, about 1 hour away.
In San Jose, catch the bus that goes to Upala from the Liberia Bus Station. It leaves at 6:00am, 10:15 am, 3:00pm, and 5:10pm. Ask the bus driver to let you off just before the town center at La Casita de Maiz. If you end up in the town center, that is okay too. The bus is just under 5,000 colones (around $10).
Hotels, Restaurants, Grocery, Bus, Artisan Shops – All of the above.