Jose Carlos is a Boruca indigenous. He is the first indigenous professional in Costa Rica. When he was 15, he learned that the oncoming construction of a road was about to run directly through his community and it was that day that he began working in indigenous rights. Leila, Jose Carlos' wife, also plays a large role in the protection of the Borucan way of life. She has been working with the community for over 40 years, providing trainings in health to kids and idigenous women. She works directly with the auuapas (shamans and healers of the Borucan community), to preserve methods of holistic healing. She believes in rescuing traditions, particularly those revolved around food and healing.
Elieth is a healer and preserver of traditional medicinal plants. She upholds the Boruca tradition of using food and drinks as a means of preventative health and holistic healing. Elieth grew up learning about plants and food from her family, community and most importantly her mother who was also a healer. The wisdom has passed down generation after generation through oral tradition. Nothing has been written down. Her parents would simply point to things in the forest and tell her that it would heal stomach paints, then Elieth would see it, remember it and learn it. She began giving cooking workshops in 2000. Now, it is her primary source of income. Sharing her knowledge through cooking and healing has allowed her to learn to value herself and her work. She now knows that this is her purpose: restoring this wisdom to humanity.
The Boruca community was originally self-sustaining,. Now, it is reliant on outside sources. While all of the food used to be generated from within the community, much of that has changed. Most of the community now needs to find work outside, or sell artisan products to visitors to be able to make enough money. Boruca is a spiritual town that cares a lot for the environment and ancestral leaders.
The traveler will meet the entrepreneurs in the town center of Boruca. By bus, take the Tracopa bus in San Jose to Buenos Aires. In Buenos Aires, take the bus that goes to Maiz and Boruca. When you get off the bus in Boruca, Jose Carlos or Leila will come meet you. It is a 20 minute walk to the Boruca educational center. Private transportation can be arranged.
The Boruca Kan Tan educational center offers traditional style lodging and home-cooked meals.