Today was “Work like a local” day!
We woke up very, very early and visited Finca La Canavalia, eating breakfast along the way. The sunrise behind the lush green mountains made the bus trip worth the early morning.
Working in the coffee field
We split up into four groups, and within those groups we experienced the different jobs at the farm. We worked with cattle, goats, chickens, fertilizing cacao, planting chaya, and marking locations to plant coffee trees.
Nisa worked first on fertilizing cacao fields. This activity involved putting handfuls of chicken feces, processed organically at the farm, into the fertilizer. The holes were spread four meters from each other so the plant had enough room to grow and receive the nutrients necessary. The interesting point about this type of farming was that they didn’t cut the trees in the nearby vicinity, allowing for all the plants in the area to grow as well as the cacao. This natural environment allowed the ecosystem to sustain itself, rather than wearing out the soil from purely planting cacao. Next, Nisa worked with chickens by collecting eggs and cleaning their coops, alongside learning the life-cycle of chickens.
Ariel was in the group that worked on marking the locations to plant the coffee. Using measuring sticks, we made sure the coffee plants would have enough space away from the other coffee plants. An amusing perk of this activity was that there were monkeys above us, climbing and jumping among the branches. Second, Ariel worked with the group that churned fertilizer. The smell of the steaming fertilizer was near unbearable, but the group made it work by singing and tagging out after the smell got too bad. It was an extremely difficult job, and we were more than glad to have been able to assist the one man whose job it was to mix the fertilizer, despite the steam.
The face of accomplishment
The experience was eye opening, and allowed us Global Glimpsers to realize just how privileged we are in the United States. Not only is there no minimum wage in Nicaragua, but the 11 permanent workers at Finca La Canavalia are not paid by the hour and are instead paid bi-monthly.
Though the work at Finca La Canavalia was difficult, we all felt very accomplished, and humbled by the experience.