Chili Fiesta

Billboard at entrance and in town advertising Atenas Chili Fiesta.

This gringo-sponsored fund-raiser for Hogar de Vida children’s home is in its 8th year and a big help for the Christian home for abused and abandoned children in Atenas, down the road from my apartments. The chili cook off is a major event of the day, but as a parking and traffic cop I did not get to taste, vote or participate in the chili, the multiple concerts or the many vendors, games, raffles, bingo, etc. But I’m glad I got to be a volunteer helper and thoroughly learn one more Spanish phrase, “Directo y a la derecha.” (Straight ahead and to the right.) as I sent people to the parking lot or “parqueo.”

I did get a lunch break and tried Costa Rica BBQ Pork with coleslaw and baked beans, none of which is like we had in Tennessee, but good. The slaw was tangy and delicious, the beans so so, the BBQ sauce sweet and good, and the pork very good.

Since I don’t have photos of the fiesta activities, here’s some of traffic, oxcart at entrance, and flowers in a yard next to the Sabana Larga (fairgrounds and bull fight/rodeo arena). I’m tired, since I worked two shifts, but it was a good day and glad I helped! 

A Motorcycle Club Came to the Fiesta
And a lot of those dreaded Rich American’s SUVs.
The Famous Painted Oxcarts Add Color to Many Events Here
Most Are Made & Painted in Nearby Sarchi Village
And lots of taxis at left!
Red Ginger Flowers Along One of the Perimeter Roads I Worked Today.
In someone’s yard! I frequently photograph yard flowers.

This is one of, if not the biggest gringo event in Atenas each year. Though a lot of Ticos participated in producing it and attending, it was definitely a gringo event with Texans trying to dominate the Chili Cook Off and old white people in charge of everything. I finally met a lady from Nashville, Tennessee yesterday, my first to meet from anywhere in Tennessee. Fun! But I’ve already forgot her name! And I’m probably known for more for my accent than anything else here, at least among the gringos. At events like this I see people I know from all my circles now: the apartments, church, Spanish Class, and local Tico friends. So it was fun to be in the middle of it and start becoming a part of the Atenas community! There is a good chance I will stay here long-term.

Front Drive & Back Neighbors

Front Drive from My Balcony – Fountain by Manager’s House & Pool

Today I stayed home and did laundry except for a training meeting for volunteers at the Atenas Chili Fiesta tomorrow. It started as a small chili cookoff by expats here in Atenas 8 years ago to raise money for Hogar de Vida, a Christian children’s home (orphanage) for abandoned and abused children just one block from our apartments. How neat!

Because I don’t speak Spanish well enough to work booths requiring communication, I was put on the Security Team. We will be posted around the perimeter of the Sabana Larga (bull fight arena and fair grounds facility). The only ones who showed up for the “training” was me and 5 teen boys from the New Summit Academy which is located directly behind our apartments. I hear their music and chatter some evenings but always before their 10 PM quiet time. I have often wanted to meet them or find out more about the school. I did today! 
It is a great special needs high school for just 30 students, all from the states, and I’m sure at a significant price for the parents. It is kind of a follow up school for wilderness programs like Outward Bound (as it was called in my day) and they are quite involved in the local community by volunteering like this and at places like Hogar de Vida. Those who know my relationship with special need schools know that I am excited to live next door to another really good one. Me and the boys will have fun being security together for tomorrow’s fiesta. Here’s the view of New Summit Academy from my back balcony or kitchen window and bedroom window. Now I’ve met these neighbors! And I already like them! 
Some Roofs of New Summit Academy behind My Apartment
seen through our Bamboo Forest & Where I Photograph Birds!

Another good day in Atenas, Costa Rica, where I keep finding good things happening in the land of Pura Vida! Pure Life!