“City” defined by Costa Rican Taxi Driver
Community requires a garden, worship and education center -
During a travelling experience in northwest Costa Rica I made an important personal discovery. Our family party of seven hired a Costa Rican driver to take us to the nearby city of Tamarindo. Our native tour guide passionately protested driving us to our intended destination city for the day. He felt compelled to refute our foreigner misconception by boldly proclaiming, “Tamarindo, is in no way, a city!”-
I was speechless, I had previously been to Tamarindo and to me, it is a city; full of houses, hotels, supermarkets, shops, restaurants and entertainment. In fact, it is a vibrant destination and home for many expats and many native locals.
And yet, he was so distraught about this particular city that he was extremely reluctant to discuss it further. With some persuasion he confessed that,
“Tamarindo is a really hot topic in Costa Rica. Locals feel it doesn’t qualify to represent our own country because it does not have a center garden square nor any schools. There is also no church, so God is not there either.”
He went on to say,
“In order to be a Latin American city, most importantly, Costa Rican, a real community requires all three of these elements. Many foreigners visit our country in that place and we feel it deceives them into thinking they have experienced Costa Rica when they really haven’t.”
In reflection, Tamarindo had neither of those at the time. I had noticed that in Latin American countries, directions are often based on heading and number of streets from the main sanctuary or garden square. So, the school may be 1 block north of the main square; no named streets are necessary. Notably, a church is usually also located there, at the center of the community.
Everyone just knows where the heart or life source of the community starts, and from there, all life branches out.
Worldwide, squares are usually where communities initially commenced. We have various names for the hearts of various cities; Central Park, Tiananmen Square, Freedom Square, Millennium Park, St…