Position: Costa Rica One World Farm
Ship: Regina Maris
In the morning after the breakfast some people went to the jungle to finish building the ranger camp. Others went to the sweat lodge.
Preparing the sweat lodge
Juno What is a sweat lodge?
Soraya: A sweat lodge is like a sauna, but it’s way smaller and more of a spiritual place. In the middle of the sweat lodge there’s a hole where you put the hot stones in. It’s deep down in the jungle and next to the sweat lodge there’s a big fire which heats up the stones.
Juno: How was it to prepare the sweat Lodge?
Soraya: It was really exhausting because of the quantity and weight of the stones we had to carry. The muddy trail we had to bring down the stones and the wood didn’t make the work any easier.
Juno: What exactly did you do?
Soraya: I carried wood and stones to the sweat lodge.
Juno: How long did you have to work?
Soraya: From the morning until the afternoon. I’d say approximately around three hours more or less.
Juno: What is needed to build a sweat lodge?
Soraya: In order to build a sweat lodge you need material which isolates the heat in it. The „skeleton“ of the sweat lodge we built with very flexible wooden sticks. The walls were made ut of banana leaves and foils. First, we made a hole using a shovel to place the stones inside. After that we made a big fire next to the sweat lodge. Additionally, we used blankets as the door.
Building a Ranger Camp
Juno: What is a Ranger Camp?
Sarah & Johannes B.: A ranger camp is a small structure for future volunteers becoming rangers to stay at during their volunteering time. They sleep there during their sometimes days long jungle tours because they must protect the forest and the jungle from people illegally stealing wood and animal poachers.
Juno: How did you build it?
Sarah & Johannes B.: We started with measuring the ground and then we dug four holes. The most annoying step was bringing all the materials up. Into the holes we put metal poles and used cement to secure them. After that was done we started to build the roof. For that we had to bring up some other poles and secured them accordingly so they cannot fall. The actual roof was built with metal pallets. Then we added some bamboo poles so that future rangers can put their hammocks there.
Juno: How long did you take to finish the camp?
Sarah & Johannes B.: It took four days. It was a lot of hard work but with team effort it was a success. The way through the jungle to the spot was very difficult and slippery and muddy but still beautiful but with the materials it was very hard because every second you slipped in the mud and sometimes fell down with the heavy stone blocks or metal poles or 16 kg bags of cement.
Juno: How does it look?
Sarah & Johannes B.: It doesn’t have any walls, it’s only 3 x 5,9 meters large and it’s a very simple building.
Juno: Did you experience any special moments while building?
Sarah & Johannes B.: Yes, we saw spidermonkeys and even Ken told us that he only sees them two times a year and he lives here. We are very happy about that and even more so when we saw a snake, which was very spectacular.
Ceremony in the sweat lodge: What follows is the experience from Soraya and Juno
The experience in the sweat lodge was very special for me, something to remember and quite different to a sauna. I was so excited and kind of nervous because I didn’t know what would happen because here it’s considered a ritual where you want to experience a near death experience, but later I learned that for that you must stay in way longer than we did.
The moment I entered the sweating lodge I started sweating like crazy. I literally have seen sweat pearls dripping like tears on my legs and arms. When the first stones came in, red, sparkling stones, the heat was overwhelming. It was kind of magical, because Ken greeted the four elements and he sang along with his drum the traditional „songs“.
A magical moment
At some point some people left the sweating lodge because of the heat and I felt the oxygen decreasing but I still felt safe because I knew that nothing could happen and I could leave any time, but I tried to stay strong. Lex would have said: „It’s just a mental thing. And if I learned something about it: Nothing in the universe is a coincidence. I felt relaxed and when the ceremony ended and I when I caught the fresh air from the outside, I felt a little bit dizzy but more than alive.
I had to drink a lot of water afterwards and I’m very thankful for Ken and the universe that I could experience this magical moment.
Lenya Marlene and I went back earlier and we walked barefoot in the mud. First, we used flashlights but then we noticed that the path was lit up for us by a beautiful full moon. In that moment we were able to reflect what we experienced and appreciated the moment, which brought us closer to each other and nature.
Marlene: Liebe Oma Opas, ich hoffe, es geht euch beiden super! Ich vermisse euch und freue mich, euch über die ganzen Geschichten und die Pflanzenkunde von Ken aus dem Urwald zu berichten:)
Juno: Liebe Mama, vermisse und denke an Dich.