Meditation or Prayer

Sitting alone, a person silently talks to themselves; that conversation is not comprehensible for anyone but the divine. Was the person meditating or praying? Many people meditate in large groups; just like how many Muslims go to the local Masjid to pray toward Mecca together. Many others meditate in private, just like how one might say their prayers alone and silently before a meal. In most cases, the outward appearance of meditation correlates nearly exactly with the outward appearances of prayer.

 

Children read the Quran

Children read the Quran

The calming of the mind, the one-ness with the subject, the sense of achievement when capturing the final image are all parallels I can draw between “photography” and meditation or prayer.

All pictures were taken this Saturday when I visited the Brookfield mosque with my family. They held an open house for the newly constructed mosque. Beautiful, spacious room for all, conveniently planned children’s area and a lovely open concept make this a beautiful mosque for Muslims to worship in.

Brookfield mosque, Wisconsin

Brookfield mosque, Wisconsin

An elderly gentleman offers Namaz

An elderly gentleman offers Namaz

The Noble Quran

The Noble Quran

Azaan: Call for prayer

Azaan: Call for prayer

Beautiful lighting fixture at the entrance to the mosque

Beautiful lighting fixture at the entrance to the mosque

Costa Rica - Alajuela and Doka Estates

Having been told nothing but wonderful things about Costa Rica for years, we finally made plans to go. This being Nadia's first international vacation, other than India...Costa Rica (Or as Nadia calls it “CostaRi”) offered the perfect spot for an escape from Milwaukee’s winter…warm weather, lovely vistas, exotic wildlife. Traveling from February 14th through the 21st, we spent time at San Jose, Alajuela, Doka Estates, San Ramon, La Fortuna and Monteverde.

We spent Valentine’s day night at Wyndham in San Jose, surrounded by couples with roses. We had a nice dinner at the hotel and turned in eary.

Next morning, we had an awesome breakfast at Wyndham. Tropical fruits, warm eggs and fresh coffee which our hostess made for us at our table…delicious.

Cofee maker stand 

Soon after, we checked out of the hotel and started driving towards Alajuela (or so we thought). After driving 10kms in the wrong direction we quickly realized our mistake and rectified it. We reached Alajuela within an hour on a Sunday morning. The town center was filled with people relaxing, making their way to Sunday church and some other local folks selling their wares. We spent some time in the central area with Nadia playing with bubbles and just enjoying the fresh air.

We then walked around the little town surrounded by mountains and soon after left for Doka Estates. We were so lucky to be welcomed at Doka Estates by this gorgeous rainbow atop the rolling hills.

Doka Estates is famous for the coffee tours. We reached around noon, hungry and ready for lunch. We booked the 1.30pm tour and stopped for lunch at their restaurant. A simple lunch of rice, beans and chicken along with the most refreshing mango juice and we were ready for the coffee tour. 

Fresh Mango juice 

Fresh Mango juice 

Doka Estate coffee is one of Costa Rica's highest quality coffees. Located on the fertile slopes of the Alajuela Poas Volcano, the rich soil and the ideal altitude and climate have made the Santa Eduviges farm famous because of it's excellent coffee.  The Vargas coffee growing family also carry a brand - Cafe Tres Generaciones. From the seed to the cup, the Coffee tour pretty much taught us everything one needs to know about how coffee is grown and made.

Our guide showed us the coffee plants, as well as talked about the local history and geography of coffee production. We then visited the processing plant, which is very old and was, in fact, declared to be an Architectural Heritage for Humanity site in 2003. Here we observed the process of de-pulping and fermenting the grains, which readies them to be peeled and then exported or roasted in the country. Finally, we visited the roasting plant Café Tres Generaciones and sampled the eight different blends made at Doka Estate.

We bought coffee, chocolates and a coffee maker wooden stand. I used it to make coffee this weekend and it was a delightful experience, bringing a bit of Costa Rica home to us.