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09 March 2010

Agua Buena: A Day in the Life

9:10 AM Monday, March 8

It's easy to wake up early here - the sun is so bright so early. It was 6:30 am - I checked the time and rolled back to sleep in my sleeping bag.

Breakfast around 8:30 - fried ripe (sweeter) plantains and coffee.

I dreamt I was living in SF and had a bike. I also wasn't allowed to use the bathroom at Quizno's. (Don't ask me why, it's a dream, they never make sense!)

Here, we just throw food waste out the window - it decomposes really fast naturally (and there's no odor).

Okay, I should get ready - we're going to the school today.


2:40 PM

Today we ran a lot of errands around the town, and I got a firsthand look at the people and their experiences here. The project to paint a world map at the local ("bilingual") high school (which is actually grades 7-11) continues; we stopped by the school twice today, once in the morning and again in the afternoon. The school is a bit of a hike along yet another dirt/gravel road. The students are nice, well-behaved.

We then walked over to Christina's friends place - William and Flor. They run an organic farm at their house and showed us around. It was really fascinating to see firsthand how they run their farm.

There's a huge variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, from pineapples to [hydroponic] lettuce to tomatoes to platano (plantains) to soncoya. We had some freshly harvested soncoya - it's gooey but sweet, just like cherimoya. I'd describe it as a natural smoothie in a fruit peel.

William was great at explaining how an organic farm works. They use a natural insecticide made from worms digesting the manure from cows/pigs. It sounds disgusting but is really fascinating: There's a big compost heap of manure and the worms just feast their way through it all - by the time they're done, what's left is a special (and nearly odorless) dark, fertile soil that repels insects. So growing a plant in that soil naturally conveys insect-repelling power into the plants themselves! It's all so fresh and delicious!

After buying a little more food at the grocery store, Christina paid her rent and internet bill and bought a pair of sandals. Then we headed out to Christina's host family - Aurura and Joaquim. We had lunch there - again soup, but so incredibly good! Fresh beef, potatoes, taro, yucca, and fresh lemon. We brought fresh hydroponic lettuce from William and Flor's to lunch and Aurora made a lemon cucumber mango salad wrap. Hung out on the balcony - Aurora's son Yeison [pronounced "Jason"!] was there fixing a car part. Aurora showed us pics of her trip to Nicaragua, her son in New Jersey and other family pics.


8:30 PM.

This evening in Christina's apt, we watched Cidade de Deus ("City of God"), a very good movie from Brazil, originally released in 2002.

The movie was somewhat violent, but it was well-made and had a fascinating story that keeps pulling you in throughout the film. It's amazing that it was based on a true story too! It has a cool crime-caper swagness to it, somewhere between Pulp Fiction and Snatch. Drugs, guns, Brazilian hood rats in the 1970s. Christina and I now both want to learn Portuguese.


11:00 PM.

Tinychatting with Leslie, Cassy, and Jenn...

Must sleep now. Good night.

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