Monday, October 13, 2008

old meets new

So I made it home. My short version of how my trip went goes as follows: it rained the first month - got very little done, the remaining 3 weeks it only rained a little - got a little done. Overall it was great.

Claire, Gray and Max are wonderful travel companions. We agreed that the time when all 4 of us were there was the best. To have people to show around, this was new for me. To focus mainly on tangible goals, this was old for me. Sure I was only able to: cut a road, pour a foundation for the earth-bag house, get some pulp natural processing and modify a 4 raised beds to act like a drying tunnel.

The reality is that I got a lot done in terms of bonding with my community. Yes I lived in Los Frios for 2 years and have been traveling there often for the last 3 years, but quality bonding doesn't happen over business phone calls when I call from the States. It happens over rice and beans, tubers, countless trips to the farm and rain days when we run out of things to talk about so we just make each other laugh.

Whenever I show Los Frios to Americans, it always refreshes my perspective of my chosen second life in the DR. Because of the time I have spent in Los Frios I've become blind to many things my Gringo Friends see. As Max said, "Byron you are crazy, this is like the wild west and ridiculously remote. . . that truck ride [he makes a scary face]. . . and yet you call this home?" "Sure people ride mules, sure the truck ride sucks, sure some disputes are settled in machete fights. . . ," I responded. "Machete fights!!!!!" (it seems that I forgot to tell him about the occasional machete fight).

I could have done more networking with other coffee co-ops. But that is really the only thing I physically could have done, but wait I just remembered that the trucks didn't run for 2+ weeks = no transport off the mountain. And how did we get off the mountain to pick up Gray? Claire and I had to ride 14Km down the mountain on mules. And a couple of the towns I wanted to visit were isolated because of uncrossable rivers.

More later. . .

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