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In Tamarindo: bringing three cultures together

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Tamara Osnovikova, 82, is a great-grandmother. Her granddaughter, Katerina Veeden, is the mother of twins Michael and Michelle. The twins call their great-grandmother “Baba,” short for “babushka,” which means “grandma” in Russian.

Tamara supervises the children from the kitchen as she prepares dinner. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506 Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Michelle and Michael play with Baba’s cell phone. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
The view from the family’s apartment in Tamarindo. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506

Tamara was born in Ukraine in 1941 during World War II. She remembers that her mother’s sister took care of her when she was a little girl. She migrated to Canada as an adult with her husband, who has since died; their family has made their home there ever since.

The twins, Michael and Michelle, were born in Canada in 2016. Because their parents work remotely, the family was able to move to Costa Rica in 2020. Katerina and her husband, Eugene, chose Tamarindo, Guanacaste because they wanted to experience living at the beach in a tropical country.

Baba loves traveling the world and spending months at a time in different countries. When she visits Katerina and her family, she stays with them for a few months at a time. She takes care of the twins during the day so that their parents can work, run errands, and spend some alone time.

Tamara walks through the community of Tamarindo when she picks up her great-grandchildren from school. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Tamara a la salida de la escuela de sus bisnietos. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Crossing a street in Tamarindo. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
A must-stop after a school day. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506

Baba speaks to the kids in Russian. She believes it’s important for them to listen and inherit her mother tongue. Michael and Michelle understand everything in Russian, but they usually reply to her in English.

The twins say they love spending time with their great-grandmother. She takes them to various restaurants and coffee shops in downtown Tamarindo, cooks dinner for the kids, and plays games with them. She also takes the kids to yoga and then to the skatepark so that they can ride their bikes. During school days when the twins’ parents are out of town, Tamara walks them to and from school.

Tamara says that due to her age, the days caring for the twins can sometimes be long, but that she watches them with lots of love and dedication. She makes sure they are well fed, well cared for, and happy.

Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Tamara watches her great-grandchildren’s yoga class. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Tamara’s feet. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Michelle plays in the living room. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Michael plays with a chair while Baba tries to manage him. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Baba comforts Michelle. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Tamara argues with her great-grandchildren about who turned on a video game without permission. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
La cena preparada por Tamara. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
The Veeden family refrigerator displays drawings and objects that represent all members of the family. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Tamara. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Michelle watches TV in a bedroom. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Michael watches TV in the living room. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506
Tamara enjoys her dinner at the end of the day. Andrea del Mar / El Colectivo 506

Our October 2022 edition, “Las Titas,” explores the realities of caregiving for older adults in Costa Rica: how they do their jobs, what challenges they face, and who is working to support them. With the support of the Yamuni Tabush Foundation, we have also hired five photojournalists, all Costa Rican women and mothers, who have spread out across the country to capture a day in the life of older women and men who are caregivers. Gloria Calderón Bejarano is one of the five photojournalists. Explore the edition here.

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Andrea del Mar
Andrea del Mar
Andrea del Mar es una fotógrafa costarricense. En el 2018, nació su primer hijo; desde ese momento busca mostrar la intimidad, divinidad y realidad de la maternidad a través de un ojo sincero pero a su vez romántico. Su trabajo actual busca mostrar la divinidad femenina en conexión con la naturaleza. // Andrea del Mar is a Costa Rican photographer. In 2018, her first child was born; from that moment on, she has worked to portray the intimacy, divinity and reality of motherhood with honesty and romanticism. Her current work portrays feminine divinity in connection with nature.

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