On October 6, RAFA celebrated the first Festival of Spheres with the Citizen Water Observatory (OCA) Rio Pacuare Turrialba-Siquirres, under the umbrella of the National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds of Costa Rica and the Guardians of the Pacuare program. The event marked Rafa Gallo’s birthday and his passion for preserving the Pacuare River with his beloved community of Bajos del Tigre at the butterfly garden Mariposas del Pacuare, owned by our dear friend Mario Achoy.
The festival was a fantastic day of community-building, environmental education, fun, and laughter! Mr. Takatsuru Nishikawa of the EM Research Organization Inc. taught the participants about using beneficial microorganisms to clean and purify rivers, water sources, and drains in sinks and toilets.
The highlight of the Festival of Spheres was playing in the mud with our 41 volunteers from the Bajos del Tigre School, the Bajos del Tigre Emergency Committee, and our OCA and Guardians of the Pacuare members. We spread huge sacks of local Pacuare red clay onto long tables. After sifting the clay to remove large debris, the beneficial microorganisms in liquid and powder form were poured on top, and everyone mixed it all into the clay with their hands. That’s when the fun really began. Ever make mud pies as a kid? Children and big kids (aka adults) let their creativity flow, and shapes like hearts, flat discs with imprinted messages, and even a few smiley faces and alien faces appeared! In total, we created a record 1,138 clay spheres!
Why mud balls? Balls are easy to throw into the river, and the heavy clay sinks to the bottom, where sediment from contamination builds up. The river’s water dissolves the clay, releasing the microorganisms that restore a healthy balance in the ecosystem, thereby increasing the river’s self-purification ability.
RAFA is immensely grateful to our partners with the OCA Rio Pacuare Turrialba-Siquirres and Guardians of the Pacuare who made the event possible: Pacuare Lodge-Boena, Coast to Coast Adventures, Pacuare Outdoor Center, Rios Lodge, the Barbilla-Destierro Biological Subcorridor, Finca Tres Equis, and SINAC – Barbilla National Park. A special thank you goes to Mariposas del Pacuare for hosting the location for our event and to the Costa Rica National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds for sharing their expertise.
Long live the Pacuare!