La posa, la familia, y la vida latina

Photo by: Liliana Almanza-Raya

Photo by: Liliana Almanza-Raya

Over the weekend while I was in Costa Rica I travelled to La Fortuna and went swimming at a “posa” (swimming hole) with a family living there. Posas are my favorite form of Central American recreation. When I lived in Honduras at an orphanage we had beachfront property on the Caribbean Sea but if the kids had a choice, rather than go to the beach, they wanted to hike thirty minutes up the mountain to a posa. Last weekend while I was sitting and watching the families enjoying their afternoon I began to reflect on the right to recreation and enjoyment of the natural world as well as the importance of family.

Unfortunately, many low-income individuals are not given the opportunity for recreation. Many people are forced to work multiple jobs in order to support their families and therefore do not have adequate time to relax. This lack of recreation is not only unhealthy but also hurts families. I cannot help but think of the social work value of the importance of human relationships. When people are denied their right to recreation, they are also not allowed the opportunity to have healthy relationships with others such as family and friends.

In Central America, posas serve as a free form of recreation (those who live nearby can walk and to not have to pay to use them) as well as a place where everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, can enjoy nature. Unfortunately places like this are becoming sparser. For one, polluted rivers no longer provide access to nature for those who live nearby. Privatization of natural space also bars low-income individuals from accessing them. City planners may fail to invest in parks and recreational spaces in low-income areas of the city. As social workers we have a responsibility to fight for equal access for everyone to recreation and to the natural world.

For me, posas, are representative of these rights as well as their correlation with human relationships. As I sat at the posa I observed how the families were enjoying their time together, many of them had brought snacks or a meal to share. This familial sharing of food, time, and fun is one small example of the value of family in Latino culture. As social workers serving Latino clients in the United States, it is important that we help create spaces for families, and in my opinion recreation and access to nature provide a starting point.  

One thought on “La posa, la familia, y la vida latina

  1. Lorena Gaibor

    As I read your blog Emily, I thought of the limited recreation time many middle class individuals and thus families have in the US due to demanding work schedules. We also often do not have many public gathering places or parks in urban and suburban centers where people congregate and hang out with friends and neighbors. In fact, I’ve often found more contentment and happiness in “poorer” societies where socio-economically they may have less than US Americans do but their way of sharing and enjoying life is often much greater than ours because I think family and community are more of a priority. It’s interesting to contrast our economic richness with the other forms of richness that other nations have. I appreciate your perspective and think that working for recreation and access to the natural world are worthy goals for us to have here in the US too.

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