Rain, Spider Monkeys and Lawyers

by Carla Garcia Zendejas on November 29, 2010


After a beautiful walk through sections of Carara National Park in Costa Rica, where members of the ELAW network crouched and craned to get a glimpse of brilliant scarlet macaws flying overhead or nesting above the luscious canopy of this rainforest, we arrived in Puntarenas.

We were all a bit damp but proud to show off our muddy shoes before we sat together for lunch outdoors amid evermore beautiful and lush vegetation. Then –not surprisingly, but always impressive,  we all go straight to work, the 2010 ELAW Annual Meeting has official begun. Our hosts from Costa Rica have provided a great setting for this meeting, and we are all grateful to be in this place, more so because we are happy to see familiar faces like Ipat Luna who came from the Philippines, Charlie Hopkins from the UK, Lottie Cunningham from Nicaragua, Mauro Figueiredo from Brazil and many more.

While several hours are spent discussing initial topics of interest it is not until much later when we are afforded some time to clean up a bit for dinner. The rain comes and goes and we are joined by Spider Monkeys who seem to even pose for photos.  As the day winds down we are able to catch up with old and new friends, yes to share more about work, but also life, just life.


The morning differed for many in the group, as some enjoyed an excursion to go bird watching at 6am, others couldn’t help taking a dip in the ocean –all this before breakfast at 8am.  (I had mentioned we work and play hard).  Even so we were all sitting together by 9am to begin today’s work which didn’t conclude until 6:30pm. While computers were still on at the end of the day compiling notes to share with those absent from the meeting, others make the most of this time which seems to be flying by.

The murmur of voices goes from English to Spanish, and back again. Mixed conversations about law evolve into movies and politics, only to return to whatever legal dilemma someone just remembered from earlier today. Some are wet on their way to dinner, but content to have had those precious moments in the water. I’ll try to meet the early morning swimmers tomorrow.

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