Published: May 24th 2010May 24th 2010
Well, we are fully in the rainy season here in Madriz. Everyone is out planting. There are teams and teams of bulls yoked together plowing fields. On the hills where the bulls cannot get to, teams of men with long sticks make holes in the ground and throw the seeds in.
In Nicaragua, there are two planting seasons... three in places with a lot of rain. Here people plant the ¨primera¨now at the end of May. Most everyone is planting beans and some corn. Then, in about August-Sept they will plant again, the ¨postera¨when they will plant more beans, but also maisillo-sorgo-millet. This is usually used for animal feed, though tortillas of half millet and half corn are made, too.
Now is mostly beans and corn, though. Mostly red beans, though some black beans, too. People like the taste of red kidney beans more than black, but 100 pound sack quintales of black beans bring a better price.
Naturally, people are planting family gardens, too. I have been going through the mountain of seeds that I have saved from all the awesome people at home who have sent me seeds over the past year.
Instead of doing
the ¨seed bank¨of last year, I am simply doing family gardens with 14 women who I have been watching who plant their gardens, take care of their crops by keeping the chickens and leafcutter ants out, like to have gardens, and use what they grow. There are more women than these 13 who plant gardens, obviously, but I have a good working relationship with these women and know that they appreciate what I am trying to do. Also, many of them have either children or mothers in other houses who also plant gardens. I have no doubt that the seeds they receive will be shared with family who have gardens, too.
Everyone in the group will recieve the following seeds --- tomato, carrot, radish, onion, squash, and hot chilis. Most will receive cauliflower, green beans, and either lettuce or cabbage. Also, once I talk with them and see their spaces, other possibilies include beets, turnips, peas, watermelon, cucumber herbs, and some things that they are not familiar with like eggplant, mustard, and okra.
I am playing with the idea of having a sample garden where we can plant the things that they are not familiar with like eggplant
and basil and oregano and peas and okra and pumpkins and then having the group meet to make dishes with the unfamiliar things.
Seriously, there is not too much variety in the food in my community. The idea of making tomato sauce to go with pasta is a novel idea. Pasta is for mixing with crema. Tomatoes are for mixing with fried rice or simply frying them. But the day that I made pasta with tomato sauce with basil and oregeno all of my neighbors mentioned how good the smells wafting out of my room were. They just need ideas besides fried rice, beans, and cream.
My dream would be to have a cooking group and make a small cookbook with recipes from these women. Print it out and pass it between the women who had it.
In other news, Lenin and I went out to the fields to see where the family is planting this year and apparently I managed to touch ¨chichicaste¨or the Nicaraguan equivelant of poison ivy. Awesome. I have huge horrible blisters on my wrist that have passed to my neck, around my left eye, and around my nose.
My effing leg
fiiiiiinally healed, I had a day of health, and then this business. I have a pink bandana wrapped around my wrist to keep from touching the blisters. Everyone says I look like a bandita with my bandiera rosada. Or like a gangster with my pink flag. Ha!
Poisonous plants suck. I had poison ivy in India, too. Sucks more in tropical countries like the India and the Nica. Oh well. Alegra for the day with strong cream and benadryl for the night. And how I managed to touch it and Lenin didn¨t, who knows. Or we both touched it at some point in the morning, but my white, sensitive, skin picked it up.
You know, I never have problems with my stomach here. Practically never have diarrhea, have never had amoebas or giardia or anything wrong with my stomach thus far. It is always my skin. Allergies, funguses, weird bites..... I would much rather have this than to always have diarrhea and have to go to that damn latrine all the time... like so many volunteers have to. I have never had to go to the lab to shoot diarrea into a cup to see what animals are
causing stomach woes. I just have a med kit that is full of different creams and running dangerously low in the anti-itch cream department.
Good thing we have great med coverage here. Most everything that happens is a result of living in a tropical, developing nation for more than two years.
There are more photos below