We’ve arrived at the Rio Muchacho farm and are trying to get in the swing of things. The days will be long- chores begin at 6:30!- but it seems like they will pass very quickly with all there is to do. The people here are very friendly and there is a lot of both English and Spanish speaking. The staff are Ecuadorian and the volunteers/interns are from all over the world. The climate here is much milder than I expected. We are quite comfortable in pants and long sleeves in the mornings and late afternoons. The midday sun feels strong but its intensity is lessened by our post-lunch siesta.
Thursday morning we took a tour of the farm and saw all the different sustainability practices they have in place. It is amazing how self-sustaining this group runs. We’ve been told that noodles and rice are the only foods that are not produced on the farm- just an hour ago as we looked over our balcony to the river below, the señora who cooks the meals was wading out fishing for river shrimp!
Yesterday afternoon we hiked to “arbol gigante” and Harper and Cal enjoyed climbing the huge hanging vines and truck. I will post pictures next week, but the picture doesn’t do justice to the enormity of this 300-year old tree.
Thursday night our kids had their first time really playing with the kids who’s parents work here on the farm. There are 6 kids, ages 10 mos. to 11 years, and they are a happy, energetic bunch. They also attend the Rio Muchacho School so our kids will get to spend a lot of time getting to know them. Last night we all had a good laugh having running races. This is apparently something they all do often but Harper and Cal had never really ran competing against someone else for a long distance. Harper and Cal were pretty funny trotting along while the other kids blew past them and giggled.
Friday we visited the school where I will be teaching English and Harper and Cal will be attending. Harper immediately took to being part of the class. She got a seat right in front and started the lesson of writing out her numeros 0-9. The instruction is not at all what she is used to- rote copying of the teacher’s lessons from the board, but she fell right into step. She is in a class with kids ages 4-7 and it seems like it will be a great alternative school experience for her. She likes to please her teacher and she has been practicing her numbers the way the teacher wrote them all weekend. She is officially a nerd and we love it.
Now Cal will be another story. He is definitely too young for the school group but I am still hopeful he can find his niche there, even if it means drawing and playing with legos while I teach. He loved recess time and an 8-year boy named Carlos took to helping him on the monkey bars. Cal accepted help eventually and might even have cracked a smile but interacting with other kids he doesn’t understand and who are much older than he is going to take some practice.
We haven’t really started our real schedule on the farm yet. They have been sweet in giving us some time to settle in. The kids just run from place to place happy as clams. Their biggest complaint would be the long stretches without a snack- meals are at 7:30, noon, and 6:00. Harper actually suggested that when it is time to travel on we could just leave her at Rio Muchacho. Ha ha. Obviously, she digs it. Cal occasionally asks questions about where we live, when are we going to our house, etc. Those things make me sad because he doesn’t get it, but for the most part he is enjoying life. He especially loves all the fruit and juice we get here. The kids can’t get enough of the morning bowl of fruit and homemade granola.
I’ll post more next week about how our real work schedule shakes out. Cross your fingers for us!
Sorry no pictures. I am posting from the town of Canoa where we'll spend weekends and I forgot my camera cord at the farm! Bummer.