Friday, August 22, 2008

holding the line

i´m currently in the dominican repubilc for the coffee harvest. i knew i might arrive earlier than the ripe coffee, so it is a good thing i have other things to do.

coffee tends to produce a lot one year and a little the next. this is a big year. antonio, claire and i picked all the ripe cherries. it only took an few hours becasue there were only few and all of them had ´la broca´or bean borer. we boiled the cherries for a couple minutes (to kill the la broca) and then depulped them. that coffee will probably be roasted over fire wood and drunk here in los frios.

today i purchased a few tiny house-lots of land in town so that i can have a space to build some drying tunnels and an earthbag construction house. when i leave, the house will be used by the eco-tourism mountain guides to store gear, have meetings and host tourists. if claire decides to move here, she will also use it as a house and a center for a public health trainings.

claire is intersted in development work and has decieded to travel with me for the next 5 weeks. i really enjoy teaching or guiding people through this country. half the time i´m translating spaish for her the other have i´m translating culture. claire loves los frios and the farm. she has a great attitude and doesnt´mind the rough conditions. i have two more friends coming down in the next weeks. first is gray reilly, who wants to work in sustainable agriculture then max an old friend of mine since child hood.

if you heard about the storms they weren´t that bad. just lots of rain.

this trip has been great so far. it seems it will be a test of balance. most of my education has taught me to go organic, to make money, and business isn´t charity. yet everything else seems to be currrently against these theories: agro-chemicals save a ton of money and time, do they do that much damage? with current labor costs, even our bumper crop of black beans didn´t cover its own costs. should i keep investing myself into this? if these harvests (coffee included) can´t cover its own costs is this charity or sustainable agricutlure? i currently straddle the line.

i have no answers, just more questions.

5 comments:

David said...

It sounds like you've got quite a lot to occupy your mind and time currently. Did you end up with broca this year because you were trying to keep it organic and didn't have effective pesticides? Or was there some other factor at work?

Thanks for the update! Now, where are the photos???

Amber Eaves Tyree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

Hermanito, keep fighting the good fight. And re: the bean borers, didn't el principe de la Bachata, Frank Reyes, write a song about that? I think it was called "Quitate la Broca."

David LaMont said...

Dude...you ok? There has been some serious storm activity and NO communication from you...

Amber Eaves Tyree said...

Byron, I'm picturing you huddled down right now, tied to a tree or something. I hope you can drop a line soon to let us know you're ok.

Decatur isn't greater without you in it.