Saturday, October 1, 2011

Enjoying Life on the Farm

Harper got into a bit of a sticky situation at the farm this week!  She was squeezing the honeycombs collected from the honeybees over a huge bucket to collect the honey.  All of a sudden her chair began to tip over and Harper grabbed the bucket to try to steady herself on the way down.  She overturned the bucket and dumped honey all over herself!  Now the intern with whom she was working appropriately and affectionately calls her, ‘Honey.”

After many years of “staying at home” with my kids, this week Danny officially took the role over.  He got them up and ready for the day, went with them to school all morning and then created a routine of “chores” for their time in the afternoon.  I had the early morning job of picking veggies, watering seedlings, and feeding the chickens (a great chore compared with the poop scooping Danny did last week, but it requires getting to the garden earlier than the other volunteers which is a bummer.)  The rest of the day I worked on different projects and I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other people on the farm.  So far this week I have weeded with a machete, painted the exterior of one of the cabins, moved stacks of bamboo for a new fence, filled small bags with humus and compost in which new seedlings will grow, and planted lots of seeds.  Kind of reminiscent of my AmeriCorps days.  Good fun.

Seedlings growing in reusable bags
Danny meanwhile has been working with the oldest group of kids at the school.  Each morning he teaches English for an hour and also incorporates some math into the time.  The kids are responding well; yesterday they all chose to continue to play a game in English instead of going to play soccer for recess. 

Another part of his time here will be designated to working on a home garden with one the graduating students.  Each student graduating from the Rio Muchacho School is required to build and maintain a garden on their family’s property.  Danny is going to help a girl named Genesis plan and cultivate her garden.  The space is huge- 120x40 ft.  They will put a fence around it, till the land, build a compost area to enrich the soil and plant all the fruits, herbs, trees, and vegetables.  The family must commit to support and help with the entire project.  This commitment is invaluable in the process so the garden can become a sustainable and environmentally friendly source of income and food for the family.  Danny will walk 45 minutes to her house each Tuesday and Thursday to work with her. 

Danny and the kids coming home from school
School each morning continues to go well for Harper and Cal.  Each night Harper has homework assignments that she is thrilled to complete.  Cal spends most of the first hour at school working alone on a Lego set.  It is really nice for him to have this downtime and some space just for him.  Recess he and Harper play with the other kids and Harper has gotten down some key phrases to interact with the other kids.  Yesterday Cal even ran over to Danny with a big grin and said, “I just asked that kid if he wanted to jugar!” (to play)

In the afternoons the kids have some quiet time and then Danny, Harper and Cal head out for their chores.  They have 4 areas on the farm to do jobs and it is great way for them to spend the afternoon.  Check out the other post for a description in their own words and some photos.

Harper and I love these sour and sweet fruits
Life at Rio Muchacho is feeling pretty good.  If I could trade one thing it would be the fact that our cabin doesn’t get much airflow and everything feels damp all the time.  Today I found mold growing on a canvass bag we’ve been storing toiletries inside.  That I could do without.  But I guess we also wouldn’t be eating a lot of the great fruit that grows here without all the moisture in the air.  One of our new favorites is called maracuya (passion fruit) and Harper and I love it.  They grow all over the place here and we just slice it in half and slurp out the insides.  It is sour and sweet at the same time.  Yum.

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