El Octavo Dia

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by Alexandre Cartier ’19

Today was very similar to every other day, the night was sprinkled with mangoes falling on my roof. I woke up at 5 to the delightful sound of my alarm clock as we had to be at Rafaela’s house at 6am. After I took my morning shower and got my backpack ready for the day, I helped a bit my family to prepare for their day of selling tamales which are a corn and beef filled leaf pocket classically from Nicaragua. I set up the outside table for the restaurant part of the store. My host father then brought me to the house of Rafaela where we had a quick but as usual delicious breakfast of galletas and juice. We then took a bus with many of our Nicaraguans friends to go to the finca where we were going to do service for the day.

After a 1:30 ride where i shared with sole the difference between the US, France, and Chile (in Spanish of course) we arrived at a very simple house where many women started their usual day of work. They explained to us what they did here and why. We found out that this was an organization only made of women where they proved to other people that agriculture can be made with respect to nature and my women but at the same time be effective as a real business. They explained to us they techniques that they used to corn both corn and beans which is to created multiple beds of plants with a tree at each end. They then showed us what the GS group from last year did which was a pig pen.

We then separated into two groups to each go to a field and create one of the corn and bean bed. This seemed very easy but considered to heat which made us be tired very quickly and made the ground be extremely dry took us a good hour to finish. Then we harvested a large number of beans in order for the workers to plant them later. Because of the heat we were unable to stay for the afternoon and do more service so we left and had a very good lunch made of classic rice, meat, and corn tortilla.

As we had the free afternoon we decided to do to visit the close-by city of Leon (which in Spanish means Lyon). We stayed at the main plaza of the town where many little pop up stores were so many of us bought more souvenirs and refreshments. Near the plaza was also saw the beautiful cathedral in the center of Leon. We then returned to the house of Rafaela, the bus ride was extremely silent as everybody was sleeping from this morning’s work. We ate dinner very early at 4:30 and then talked for an hour until our host families came to pick us up. My host mother came to pick me up at around 6:10.

When i arrived at the house all of the family members were starting to leave to their respective houses. Most of the 800 tamales were almost sole. I helped to clean around and then went to my room where i talked for an hour with my host brother. I then quickly went to bed as I was very tired.

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