Life on the Farm by Eli H.

Life on the Farm by Eli H.

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This morning we piled onto the bed of an old pick up truck and headed to the small rural town of Cuascoto.  

I never drink milk thinking about what goes in to getting it, but at the first farm we visited I got to have a first hand experience milking a cow. I sometimes think of milk disconnected from an actual animal, but this brought home a taste of reality. When we used a very old stone to grind corn to make Pozole, I was connected to the past.  This same method of grinding corn has been used for thousands of years and this particular rock was used by Dona Fani, the head of the farm, for 40 years. During feeding time, we were surrounded by animals of all sizes and types: huge pigs, sows, piglets, chickens, roosters, turkeys and dogs, all mixed together. All, but the dogs, will provide a meal for someone and preparation for that meal, from butchering to plate also will happen right here.

Traveling between farms was done by oxcart. The ride was bumpy through streams and lush forest. The trees were home to ant colonies and bird nests. The oxen were pulling 10 people between two up and down hills and their brute strength was awe inspiring. At our second stop, Dona Teresa, a 78 year old woman, shared the craft of coral and basket making with us. I got to use clay made from mud behind her house and sand from a nearby stream to make Corales, or clay bowels, for making tortillas.  It was fun to knead the clay.  The baskets are made from a seed that is carved. 

Teresa served us cheese from her cow, gallo pinto (so far I have had beans and rice for every meal!) and tortillas baked on the Coral. It was delicious. The tamarind juice also was made from the nearby tamarind trees. It was cold and refreshing.

The goal of this trip was to bring tourism to their farms, without sacrificing their traditions. Much of the tourism in Nicaragua takes people, especially young people away from their homes and traditions. This is a way to preserve their lifestyle. It was really special and a privilege to be a part of this today.