Xavi Palomar says the way to make great things happen is to put the right people together and serve paella. I’m guessing Xavi makes an excellent paella.
He came to Samara about four years ago. He was looking for a home, a place where he could be a part of making a good community even better. He came to Costa Rica from Spain because he was ready to live his way, in a country with no army, where a healthy lifestyle comes naturally and where the gossip is fun and harmless, because he does enjoy a little gossip. He wanted to bring the best of the mediterranean with him . For Xavi, the best of the mediterranean is good food, lively public spaces and culture. His project, The Natural Center, has become an important center for Samara. Many new small businesses began in the NC and many have been very successful. This is not by chance. Xavi seeks to find good tenants that compliment one another, provide custom space at affordable rents and support the tenants and the community at large. He does not charge a fee for many of the events provided at the NC including the Que Lindo Art Fair, the Health Fair and the Farmer’s Market.
He is building a life, not a bank account. One needs to understand that in order to understand Xavi’s current project, Festival Internacional Arte Samara. Three programs have been scheduled to date, in what is expected to become a major program for Spanish language cultural events (having events in the native language is important to Xavi). The first event is on Saturday, February 21 a showing of the film La Ira De Dios followed by a talk by Sergio Callau Gonzalo, author of the book “Lope de Aguirre y la rebelión de los marañones”. As a result of Xavi’s efforts Samara will be the only town in Costa Rica outside San Jose to participate in the International Storytelling Festival (March7) and will host His Excellency, D. Martin Antonio Balza, Argentina’s Ambassador to Costa Rica in April. Other future events in planning include classical music, film and poetry festivals. We may even see a theatre constructed to house these events in the future.
The events have not been brought to Samara by a committee or a government. Xavi is happy to have help when he finds it, but he is a man with a vision and he needs to see that vision through in his own way. So instead of forming councils or joining associations, he visits friends and networks and throws dinner parties and feeds people paella. He spends time in the Mayor’s office and helps leaders see the value in providing access to cultural events for the entire community, which he defines as all of us within the Nicoya Municipality. He hopes that soon the NC will be overflowing with friends and neighbors and everyone interested in or curious about history, literature, film and all of the arts, with no financial barrier to entry.
Maybe we should all learn to make paella. Maybe a cooking class at the Natural Center, Xavi?