In the modern age of politics and technology, the focus of everyday international news is focused on the superpowers of the world. As a third world country, Costa Rica is poorly represented in the scheme of international affairs.
People around the world have a slim view of the life the citizens of Costa Rica live. Even deeper than that, the people of Costa Rica have a slim view of how the indigenous tribes of Costa Rica live.
In the Talamanca region in the south-east part of Costa Rica near the Panama border, there lies a group of people called the BriBri. The BriBri live a simple life, most houses do not have electricity and all do not have internet.
Despite not having the luxuries of modern day life the BriBri live a happy life of traditional farming, culture, and work. The BriBri, like many indigenous tribes, rely on nature and natural ways instead of using modern day technology on a daily basis. Within the BriBri tribe, there are clans that are determined by the mother’s side of the family which, unlike other cultures around the world, give women a significant role in society.
The men of the tribe have roles that are also determined by what clan they are in but these roles are open to men only. One of these roles that men have is a shaman, the teaching of shamans is always transmitted orally to the shamans in training.
The shaman practice in herbal and spiritual forms of medicine. They believe that any disease or infection is caused by an evil spirit wishing to do harm on the person’s soul. The technique that is used by the shaman to rid the illness from the person’s body is much like an exorcism in Christan cultures. The shaman uses traditional healing songs to connect to the person’s body, the earth, and the illness; once this connection is made the shaman convinces the illness infecting the person to leave their body.
These practices have been in the BriBri culture for decades. While the BriBri still practices these ways of traditional healing and other traditional rituals, farming, and way of life, they also use modern day medicine and supplies that the industry provides to build houses and other buildings as well as giving the younger generation a modern education.
However, the BriBri live in such a secluded place that the traditional ways of healing and providing for their families are the easiest to access. As the modern age and modern technology spread further and further into the most secluded and isolated parts of our world the traditional ways fade from our memory and eventually history. We must not let these traditional ways and ideas float away with the receding tide that is sacred history.