Sunday, August 07, 2005

Site Visit

I don´t have too much time at this internet café (only the one in the mall has power today and it´s really expensive) so this will be kind of brief.

My site, Agua Fría, is almost at the top of the Cerro Guanacaure (the aldea itself is probably well into the ¨nuclear zone¨ of the park, ha ha). The place I will probably live, appropriately named Despoblado, is higher yet and I believe the house I plan on living in is at about 800m (the peak, as I mentioned, is 1000). My host country counterpart, Isaí, owns the house and will rent it to me. His house is right nearby so that´s cool, it will be nice to have a resource right nearby.

The forest around the area is just beautiful. They call it a ¨tropical dry forest¨ but since this is the wet season it´s really not too terribly dry, and not hot at all right now, even down the mountain a ways. There´s lots of deciduous trees and really no pines (oddly enough, the pines in this country like the wetter parts... go figure). Almost the entire mountain is farmed, really 99% of it has some kind of cultivation going on but higher up it´s almost all coffee that they´re growing underneath the existing forest or a variety of planted shade trees and banana palms. In various places you can find mahogany, ¨cedro espino¨ which I don´t know the english name of but is apparently also a very valuable tree, and the two biggest and most awesome trees in Honduras: Ceiba and Guanacaste. There´s a huge Ceiba right next to my house, woo! Also there´s this GIGANTIC type of bamboo scattered around the forest that they tell me is native; I already have plans to make some watering devices and wind chimes with it. =)

I bussed down to Choluteca on Thursday but we left too late to catch the last bus up to Agua Fría so we spent the night in a hotel in Choluteca and grabbed a bus the next morning. Friday I mainly hung out and visited with Isaí. He showed me around his place, we hiked up to a exposed ridge (due to a small cattle ranch) that I think he currently owns? so I could get a good view of the surrounding countryside and we talked about politics, the process of development, the Honduran and US governments, and various other things. I was somewhat worried I would have a hard time finding someone to talk intellectual type junk with so having him to visit with is great. He´s kind of a big canacker but if you wait long enough you can get a word in. The Honduran way of having a discussion often seems to involve the more dominant personality talking for five minutes at a time, then the other guy offering a few sentences of counterpoint, et cetera.

Saturday we pasear´d a lot (walked around visiting) and I got formally introduced to a lot of the members of the organic cooperative that he´s part of. They have something like 30 certified organic producers in the area which is really crazy. I´d met one person who was in the PROCESS of getting certified organic in my travels around the country for training. Most of them grow coffee. Isaí seems to think I´m going to spend most of my time working with the cooperative but I´m already plotting to subvert those plans. Those guys don´t need any help from me; my job as an extensionist is to start working with the people whose methods could use improvement and begin the process of getting them interested in other stuff. I also could conceivably spend a fair amount of time doing youth development (cuz boy do they need it) and watershed management.

That´s all for now. If/when you guys come to visit me, you are going to be blown away by this spot my house is in. It is just beautiful.


At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like your gettin along fine gabe. Cant wait til ya get back =)



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