A lot has happened here on the farm since we’ve last updated. No matter how much I say that I’m really going to do it this time and keep the blog updated, it continues to be exceedingly difficult to sit down for long enough to type down an entry. A farm is a living organism, and like any organism has many needs which at times need to be cared for. Chickens get sick. Horses sneak onto the property and chow down on precious, unique plants. Rain storms come when all the grains are out in the sun. Somehow there’s always something. Personally, It’s part of what I love about farming, there’s constant problem solving to be done.
Recently I took a spin around Nicaragua and met up with people around the country looking to promote our tours and courses and network for some possible future partnerships. The breadth of social, environmental, and agricultural projects out there and the passion of all of the people involved in them really sent me back home to Bona Fide feeling inspired. One of the things that repeatedly surprises me is how much a few people can do when their hearts are in it and when a few good minds get together.
Interested in a bit of what I saw? Check out
Sonati – a great example of social enterprise eco-business for environmental youth education
La Isla Foundation – doing amazing work promoting conscientious tourism and simultaneously funding research into daunting health problems in cane workers in Latin America
Opportunity International Nicaragua – straightforward and effective volunteer driven agricultural education for small communities
Organizations like these reminded me of exactly what about Bona Fide that I fell in love with when I first came here, that this little piece of land in this unique place could be a meeting place for so many people trying to live intentionally, to improve our collective human experience, and to learn along the way. The longer I’m here and the more people that I see come through, the more I feel the momentum building, One short term volunteer, one student group, one intern, one concerted effort at a time this place keeps growing, the problems get solved, and the little gaps in our closed loop systems are sealed.
The first Carpe Diem and Leap Now gap-year travel groups put in months of man-hours in little more than three weeks. They helped dig hundreds of feet of swales, volando machete (clearing weeds) with volunteers and I out in the hot sun. But don’t worry, it wasn’t all forced labor, they also got a great learning experience with basket making, chocolate making, nacatamale cooking and dance workshops, as well as a three day yoga retreat with the masterful Danae. Check out the groups’ blogs about their experiences here.
We’ve seen a pretty good rainy season on the island. It’s been persistent but rarely heavy enough to cause any real damage. It made for a good rice harvest, something that the second of the Carpe Diem student groups had the chance to join in.
I heard a couple of the Nicaraguan workers make remarks about how quickly we could cut a field with thirty something people.
The students, on the other hand, left amazed by the experience of seeing where something that seems so basic really comes from.
Peter, an exceedingly handy long term volunteer of ours, lead them in putting in some new paths with broken bricks we had laying around. Then they helped out carrying a bunch more faulty bricks from a local brick maker up the hill.
What mud? Right when I was starting to think the whole farm was just going to sink into the damp earth like a biodegradable Atlantis, the wind shifted to the Northeast, the ants started to swarm again, the bees came out, the quebradas slowed down, and the rain stopped. Now the many challenges of the dry season in the semi-arid tropics loom ahead. For many families on Ometepe and around Nicaragua, how they choose to contend with them will determine what they eat and how they live for the next sixth months. Let’s see what solutions all these good heads, hands, and hearts, can come up with.