Last month, I was lucky enough to spend some time in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, having a lovely holiday and learning lots about the varied and different plant life over there. We went into the rainforest on the Caribbean coast, where indigenous Rama people have lived since pre-Columbian times and still have rights over the land which makes up around half of Nicaragua (although both the rights and the land are currently under threat). We met a Rama guide called Hillary there and he took us into the Indio-Maiz reserve and shared some of his knowledge about the land. We learnt about the many uses of different kinds of palm. About which kind of tree trunks you use for the posts of your house and which for the furniture. Which vine will give you water if you hack it open with a machete and which root you use to weave a comfortable chair back. Medicinal plants. Edible plants. Everything you need to live within a few miles of forest.May 10th, 2016
As someone who makes their living from plant knowledge, it was inspiring and very humbling to meet someone with such deep and full knowledge of the land they live on, and to know you’ll never come close to that no matter how many years you work for.
Also amazing was to see so many kinds of exotic fruits growing everywhere. Mangos, star fruits, papaya. pineapple, coconut. Not to mention coffee, sugar cane and banana plantations. I spent some time working on some new plant identification skills.