Fieldtrip to Sarchi
You thought field trips were just for elementary school?
A couple of weeks ago, my Spanish class took a day field-trip to Sarchi, Costa Rica. Sarchi Norte is the main town of Valverde Vega in the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica, and it’s known as one of the most famous craft centers of the country.
The most popular crafts are the traditional painted carts that were used in the past for carrying coffee from the mountains to the Pacific ports.
My class visited the Fabrica de Carretas founded by Eloy Alfaro to learn about these fascinating carts. In 1920, Don Eloy Alfaro started his oxcart factory in Sarchi. The genius of Don Eloy allowed the installation of an efficient hydraulic energy system that generates horsepower, powered by the nearby Trojan River, which sets in motion all the machinery required in the workshop.
The typical oxcart of Costa Rica is now declared as a national symbol, and the decoration of each wagon is considered the ultimate expression of popular art for the Costa Rican people.
My class walked through the factory, learned the history, and saw the painters at work as they spent hours upon hours painting the famous carts. The owners even set up a painting session for our class so we were able to paint our own “wheels!”
We also got the chance to see the biggest Oxcart in the world that was built in the Eloy Alfaro Oxcart Factory. About 10 people worked on its construction and decoration for 3 straight months. It is now registered in the Guinness World Record book!
“Keeping alive the tradition of oxcart manufacturing, since 1923 through a system that protects our environment.”