It takes a lot of work to feed a village!


My friend, whom I met at the BBQ here, told me her family was having a benefit for a relative of theirs who had a heart attack.  They were going to make around 800 tamales!  So starting this past Friday night, they were hard at work at the church across from my house. P1010651

Prepping the banana leaves
Prepping the banana leaves

I went over there and quickly dug in by helping to clean the banana leaves.  The leaves were beautifully stacked and laying across tables.  Some of the women cut them down the middle and others cut them into sections which is the pile I grabbed from to clean off with a cloth.

Rice boiling

In the kitchen, huge chunks of pork meat waited to be cooked.  Potatoes and rice boiled in large pots while other people chopped carrots and chiles.  P1010637

A slice for each tamale
A slice for each tamale


Cooking the pork
Cooking the pork

My friend explained that when someone is in need, people come together to help them in ways like this.  Not unlike the times I would often see a huge BBQ pit on a street corner back home.  But this was different…because everyone knows everyone else and it becomes that much more personal.  It was nice to be a part of it.

They would be selling the tamales for 1000 colones for a little two pack, which is $2.00.  Not a bad deal if you ask me.  I assumed that all of the ingredients were from peoples’ own farms, with the exception of the rice.  I won’t include the picture here, but later that night, the man who was cutting up the meat brought in the huge head of the hog and was trying to split it open by pushing the snout and the jaw apart.  My friend’s mother wasn’t keen on putting any of that in the tamales, but he insisted that the jowels would be good.  He got some laughs from everyone when he tried and tried to get the thing apart and couldn’t.  It was certainly not something you see everyday!  I’m glad to report that they sold them all and raised $2000.00!

Tons 'o taters
Tons ‘o taters
The assembly line
The assembly line

The next day, they were in the process of putting the tamales together so I went over there to help again.  We had a not-so-assembled assembly line going.  The leaves were lined up on the tables (two leaves per tamale), then on went the potatoes, rice, meat, carrot and chile.  It got wrapped up then sent to another table where a man and woman wrapped them together.  The poor guy…he was so tired and his hands hurt from the wrapping.   I think he had the most difficult job.  Then they were taken back to the huge pots to steam.

Steaming the tamales
Steaming the tamales

Come Sunday morning, they were for sale along with fruit cups, drinks and other food items.  They sold them in two different places.  So those little bundles of joy up at the beginning of this post took 2 days to make and a lot of people-power (and love).  It’s nice to be able to help people in need.

And speaking of food, I got to go to a nice grocery store today in Turrialba called Maxi-Pali.   I walked in and was taken back to the feeling I got when I went to Wal-Mart in Virginia a couple months ago.  Haha!  i said, ‘Wow!’ and grabbed a cart.  I knew I would be taking a cab back home (at a steep price) so I’d better make this trip worthwhile.

Maxi-Pali in Turrialba
Maxi-Pali in Turrialba

And boy, did I!!  $140 later (actually add $20 for the cab home), I was set!  I bought a three pack of non stick frying pans, three pairs of socks, tons of food, even a big bottle of ginger ale, charcoal, meat, wine, rum, cheese…the important stuff, you know.  The list goes on and on.   The walk there from the bus station really wasn’t bad at all.  I had to ask for directions a couple of times (even after making mental notes, taking multiple pictures of Google Maps on my phone to refer to and having written directions), but I found it!  And what’s pathetic is that I really only had to go over one street then go straight.  Yeah…my sense of direction is seriously lacking.

I got sidetracked by all of the shoe stores and attempted to buy jeans but had no idea what my size was in this part of the world…they were all in the 30’s and 40’s so I have no clue what that equates to.  I gave up on those.  Then I failed to even go to a bakery!  Aaaaggghhhh SINNER!!!  But I think I’m going back on Wednesday with my friend, so I’ll stock up then.  I really did rush when I intended not to but I was disoriented and eager to get to the store.  Boy…you know your life is in the slow lane when you look forward to THAT!

3 thoughts on “It takes a lot of work to feed a village!

  1. JG August 13, 2013 / 3:26 pm


  2. Dad August 13, 2013 / 6:03 pm

    Well???? Did you get to eat any of the tamales?? Were they tasty?

    • StephieD August 13, 2013 / 6:07 pm

      Of course I did! They were good and filling..threw a little hot sauce on them.

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