Friday, May 09, 2008
Cassie Loves Mr. Show and Sunsets
So I´ve been watching a lot of Mr. Show on my DVD player out here in PY. Yup. I´m rotting my brain at night instead of reading novels. What can I say? I spend all day speaking 2 languages, working agriculture in a different country, while promoting rural health. I need some down time, and Mr. Show TCB. I mean, who could pass up David Cross with some guest appearances by Ben Stiller, Dave Foley and of course, my boyfriend, Jack Black!
I´ve been working a lot in women´s garden´s lately. Oddly enough, people don´t seem to value home gardens as much as they should. In a poor country where people make about $4 a day (farmers that is) you´d think a home garden would be a necessity, and people would have perfected it by now. But just like McDonald´s and Big Gulp back home, people pay for convenience instead of taking time to do it yourself. I can´t get too mad. I constantly come home after a tough day out in the field and wish I could whip up and instant 5 min Chicken Viola or go to a HYPERMART so I could get everything I need in a little time as possible. Although life is slower in the country, it certainly doesn´t mean that there is never enough time in the day. In response to all the other quazillion jobs a woman has to do here in the Paraguayan countryside (ex. feed all the farm animals, take care of kids, hand wash ALL the clothes, clean the house, go to the field and pick the beans and mandioca, prepare all 3.5 meals, serve terere when the men come in for their mid morning break, milk the cows, cut and bring in firewood for the stoves, wash dishes, make the beds, fix misc broken unelectrical items around house) they also are in charge of the gardens. Sure maybe their husbands might contribute and maybe fix the fence so the chickens and pigs don´t get in, but really - women run the roost. So having a lindo garden usually falls to the wayside, and what little money they have can be spent on buying a few crappy veggies the local almacen (little market that sells a handful of staples) can provide.
So my job has been to help create these gardens in a better way - by introducing new techniques (the use of compost, companion planting, mulch, natural pesticides, and new veggies). This goes along with better nutrition in the home, more than just a diet of mandioca, beans, tomato and onions.
So as I´m feeling pretty good the other day, I was terere-ing with one of my women after a hard afternoon in her garden. It wasn´t too hot, but a nice cool down was in order. I feel like I´ve taken her one step closer to better health for her family. She is especially poor in my community, and never has any fresh veggies. She usually never has anything to feed her family of 8 with besides mandioca and beans from the field. Their small parcel of land only yields about 1.5 hectacres of cotton, which is the cheapest selling crop while the most expensive to grow. I feel like I´ve accomplished something. I feel like her and I deserve a little time away from the house, kids, husband, and any other duties. I want to enjoy a fresh pitcher of terere. Her daughter pulls water from their well and places it in the years old, beaten up thermos. There is a small fish swimming in the water. After bringing it to her attention, her young daughter reaches in and plucks the fish out and throws it to the chickens. She smiles as her mother continues to pour the terere for me, and shows me the wet, rotted old tennis ball she also brought up out of the well. As she turns it over in her fingers, I look back at her mother, who nods to her. She throws the ball to her younger brother and they run off. The mother hands me another 'ha' of terere and I sip it looking into the sunset.