More from the Campo

Published: May 2nd 2013
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Here is a more full version. The first half is the same but editted, and some more poetic writing at the second half.

Travel Blog Campo Tuesday

The music’s blaring, and another round of Rummy has begun, we have just been outside working, turning the small sea of green grass into a lake of rusty brown freshly turned soil. Lunch is being prepared and Taylor colors in the coloring book. We are all going to head down to the school after lunch to do some planting; we might take a walk down to the river to cool off, but I don’t know if we’ll have enough time what with us going down to the school. A nice breeze is coming in through the door and another song has started on the radio, and with another song comes another blast of music, which is fine by us.

Tuesday, April 30th – Another day of work

I’m sitting with Frank and the crew, lunch still working its way down. The heat wafts in through the open doors, and the animals pant while they wait for the scraps from our plates. The boys are off to school, little ones up the hill, and the older ones in town at the larger school house. It’s the best time of day to hang in the shade, while the sun beats down through the tiny holes in the corrugated metal roof. Having some shade helped us in our clearing of the rest of the field. It surprised everyone how easy tilling a field by hand is when the slope is great. Even in the heat there is respite and enjoyment in the sweat and breeze. Our 80 year old host, the father of Freddy, still goes out to work, carrying two machetes and wielding them with skill, barely breaking a sweat. He told us “esta bueno” after the hottest part of the day when we finished turning over a field for batatas, sweet potatoes.

Tuesday – working in the morning

Soon after lunch we headed out to clear the second field, which is next to the first field we cleared yesterday. It is a very short walk, five minutes or less through coco trees, plantains and other palm and sub-tropical flora. It is on a steep slope, this time it is not so covered in weeds as the previous one. We use shovels and pick’s to clear, while some of us go and do a fine tuning of the second field. Some of us work much harder than others, not surprisingly the three Dominican boys stop working after about 15 minutes (Adrean, Phillipe, and Alex). Of course as soon as we finish this field we have to go to another. This time it is not clearing we have to do. Back the way we came and off to the side. A steep hill where Adrean says we are going to go turn over the soil. Rudalphy and Frank as he likes to be called join us, since we are latterly a minute away from the main house. After several hours of work , much done by Vangeli, Rick, Adrean and the others taking long brakes in between their work intervals, we get the field tilled. It looks good. Now before going anywhere, while a few of us finish up the work, the Dominican boys go and get some coco which is very good. You can suck on the seeds, don’t chew, and spit them out. A game begins when Phillipe spits a coco seed at Alex, and so it went, of course Vangeli joins in. Now we are all done for the day, probably half an hour till the hottest part, so we head down to the main house for lunch. Some of us go to play cards, some go to get clean, some just relax. Lunch looks like it is going to be good, by the sneak peek I took. Looking forward to it.

Wednesday – The final day at Tres Ceibas.

Everyone (especially Jordan) seems to be aware that today is our last day here. I have mixed feelings about leaving. Anna just told me they’re making hot chocolate again to go with breakfast… AWWW YEAH! The term “Hot Chocolate” can’t quite convey how incredible this steamy beverage is. Allow me to extrapolate on how they make it. They walk to a tree twenty feet away, and pick the cacao. That’s how fresh it is. Then they toast and crush it in a pestle and mortar system of a huge tree trunk for the bowl and a nice big club for the crushy smashy bit. They crush the toasted cacao to the finest powder you can imagine (I got to help!), and the oils ooze out. Then they take this delectable concoction of 100%!c(MISSING)acao and add in milk, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and orange leaves (Kind of like a bay leaf, but WAY more awesome and cool and tropical). What emerges from the pot is just… well. Tienes que probarlo tu mismo.

We walk to the river, step by step, palm trees dot the field, lush green hills in the distance. Down through town, turn right, up the road; chatting with the local boys, watch out for the scooter, pass byb another burro. Down the hill, sun heats the air, find shade on one side, not so far across the field. Dodge the cow pies, hear the laughter, high on the bank, leaping off, splashing down.

The sun shines down,

But still school goes on,

Chicos in light blue shirts,

Amble in.

Tarde, tardy, non importante.

We drop by

Unannounced, awkward, welcome.

Hesitant, puzzled, puzzles in mathematica.

Slap the number,

Smiles light the room.

Laughter, faces beam,

Bright as the sun,

Shining down.

A big game of go fish—7, 8 people—Kiku, Alex, Michael Jordan, Sydney….

Tienes un seis?

No, pesce.

Trying Spanish, trying to find who has the Queen, la Reina, Doce.

Como se dice diamonds (again)?

Like Quinoa? Quinia. Yes!

Smiles, laughter, time,


I am running down the road, 6 am, flowing, flying, free.

Surrounded by green hills, green trees, green grass.

No one stirs, but the air is heavy with last night’s rain.

The clouds break as the sun peaks over the ridges,

Lighting up the sea, closer than I thought, calling me on.

Enough of the hot dog rolls, food they must think we cherish, as it costs real money, not a gift of the government or the land. We eat only a few feet apart,but distanced by privilege they can barely imagine, even our simple lives holding more than the heaping platters of chicken and rice and beans we’d much prefer to share.


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