I finally got to El Cristal Monday night after 5 + hours of bus travel from Picalqui. It was dark by the time I arrived and my host family lives a good 30-45 minutes from the main and only road in town. (This is such a sleepy little town that the dogs take up residence in the potholes on this road.) The primary method of travel is on foot and they live up on a hill so you follow a path lined with grazing cows and pigs for a bit then hike up a little trail to get to their house.
Friday, September 4, 2009
The family is Ertufol (59), Blanca (49), Jonatan (14) their son, and their grandson Luis-Alexis (7). They have 5 chickens, 3 dogs, 2 pigs, a cat, and a horse. It´s pretty cute to see Alexi go storm down the hill barefoot, only to return moments later bareback on the horse singing at the top of his lungs.
The only water source is in the wash basin outside and electricity is intermittent. There are allegedly 100 families in the community, but as Stuart says, ¨you´d be hard pressed to find them all.¨ It´s a subtropical climate, the hills are very steep and green and homes are spread out all over amongst them. Being subtropical they have some serious blood drawing mosquitoes that I am feeling the affects of. Deet seems to be only a minimal deterrent.
I´ve gotten to harvest lots of beans, yucca, potatoes, and peas. It´s likely I´ll get to teach english at the primary school while I´m here too. Life is definitely much slower which can make me a bit antsy at times, but it´s good.
As for the cuisine in this area...it´s interesting. This community and the people in it are for the most part very poor. My host does a great job giving me mounds of food, which I feel would be rude to turn away. Most of it good and very palatable, but I´d be lying if I didn´t admit to choking some of it down. When they are really excited about certain novelty foods, I´m even able to do it with a smile.
I came back to Picalqui to do some hiking with the other volunteers and will head back on Monday to El Cristal until the 23rd of September so I may be offline for a bit.
Posted by A-train at 4:58 PM