Friday, October 30, 2009

small clean waves and a long board


I walked up to the same surf board rental place I frequent at Playa Encuentro. I didn't recognize any body yet so they offered me a long board for $25USD. Within about 20 seconds of negotiating it was $10USD. Then I told him I only had pesos, 300RD pesos. Told him I wanted to see the surf so I walked to the beach. Then I was approached, a kid who couldn't have been older than 12. How much did he say. . . I can do 200RD pesos, the young kid said. Well, I returned to the first guy who lowered his price for the 4th time to match the other offer. With the same price I decided to look at the boards and go with the better board. The first place had big boards that looked like the would take on water. The second place and shorter boards that were in better shape. So I went with the second place.

Surfing is like mowing the lawn, it is great time to think. I much prefer surfing to mowing the lawn, for the record. It was funny to think about the board rental situation as it relates to selling coffee to US importers. If a higher demanded Nicaraguan coffee has just one point better than my DR coffee for the same price. . . I know who I would buy, the Nica.


These last couple months have been a lot like surfing: hard work with real obstacles, and some absolutely beautiful moments interspersed. I'm just a beginner surfer, so my work to fun ratio is pretty low. I have work to get past the breakers and hopefully catch a good wave. I'm also a beginner coffee farmer.

The physical labor cost of rural processed coffee is absolutely beyond explanation. For example, I've had to finish my coffee drying on a patio of a friend (see the "some time last week post"). So each morning we carry the coffee 50 yards from Antonio's house to the patio to lay it out. That means close to 800lbs of parchment coffee carried over the shoulder in bags of about 70lbs. By the 3rd bag I'm usually sweating through my shirt. Turning the coffee is a nice. When it reaches 12.5% humidity, that is a beautiful moment. Then it is time to get it off the patio and haul it back to Antonio's house, again over the shoulder.


When I stop and think about the utter uncertainty of my current position: unemployed, farm obligations, big goals, kinda homeless, I feel stressed. I say homeless because I no longer have work ties to Atlanta and moving here (DR) seems like an easy out of the high cost of living in the US. I would miss my family and friends in Atlanta, but again these big goals of mine seem to set my compass elsewhere. But like Tim Borrego says in his Young Tree Coffee post, I have a certain amount of faith in what I'm doing and that is what I'm living on right now.

Tomorrow, my Dad leaves the DR and the two day beach-excursion will come to an end. I will be back on the farm for the next picking on Monday PM (11/2/09).

Till soon,

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