Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hard, Hard Work

Hauling Sand From The Tempisque River 2

Costa Ricans used to build their houses from wood. Now the tropical hardwoods are protected so they have to use cement. Commercial cement is too expensive for many people there. Since the main ingredient of cement is a certain kind of sand, the Ticos have found an ingenious but backbreaking alternative.

On our way to Liberia, our guide, Esteban, took us down some side roads near the town of Filadelphia (no cheesesteaks in this one) along the Tempisque River. The river bottom has the perfect kind of fine sand for cement. Local men take ox carts down to the river, shovel the sand into the carts and shovel it out at designated yards along the dirt road. Then it is sold to make cement. There is no danger of theft. The community watches out for itself.

Dealing with the oxen is an ordeal. Once a pair is trained together it is almost impossible to replace one. Once they have worked on the right or left side, they will never switch to the other. And, as you can see, they are not always cooperative.

I took my pictures but felt like a bit of a voyeur with my soft American rear sitting in an air conditioned SUV.

Oh, and the Tempisque has crocodiles. Here's a picture of one I took downstream two years ago.                

Hauling Sand From The Tempisque River 1

Hauling Sand From The Tempisque River 3

7 comments:

cieldequimper said...

Why do we complain about hard work?

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Oh my that's quite a backbreaking process Bob.. I'm not complaining again.... for about ten minutes :)

Stefan Jansson said...

Interesting facts. Yes, that sounds like really hard work.

Luis Gomez said...

Love this post. Thank you Bob.

William Kendall said...

They look like sturdy, stubborn animals...

JM said...

Great post! I also visited Costa Rica and these scenes look familiar. And I've seen crocodiles too! :-) Great shot of one of them, by the way.

P.S. The poster on my yesterday post shows a metal cleaner which used to be very popular here.

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

I have seen the ox carts taking sand from the river years ago. It is remarkable, hard work.