Friday, May 30, 2008

Sustainable Developement, or is it just Beer Pong?

So I´ve uploaded some new photos on my flickr account.
Here are some highlights of my last couple weeks. I got to visit a field with a Paraguayan farmer who is actually using a rollo cuchillo and siempra directa. 2 of the biggest agricultural practices we push here in Paraguay.

Farmers in Paraguay have been farming the same stretch of land for years. Even generations. The big problem is that instead of adding nutrients back to the soils and leaving the fields to fallow for a season, the farmers continue planting the same things over and over, leaving the soil devoid of any plant food. Artificial fertilizers are bought, but alas, most farmers can´t afford them for their consumable crops, only their commercial crops (if they have any). A smart way to farm this land is to rotate crops, use green manures - such as planting a crop of beans which are filled with Nitrogen which feed the soil. Using mulch is a great way to contain the moisture in the soil, and the less turning over of the soil, the less topsoil your scraping off. Siempra Directa is direct planting. Planting directly in the soil without hoeing. You fertilize by planting an abonos verde over your land to add nutrients. You cut the abonos verdes down with an ox drawn rollo cuchillo - or rolling knife (which is really what it is). Its a round compressor filled with water to make it heavy, and knives sticking out all over it to cut the abonos verdes. You then leave the abonos verdes to become a mulch cover, and then plant your crop seeds directly into the cut, mulched field.

We got to check it out with the farmer and my local counterpart for my department of La Pastora. It was pretty cool. I really hope my farmer gets to check this out when we go to our seminar next week.

After that I headed into town to see Indiana Jones 4. I´m only going to make a couple statements about that movie.


All I can say is WOW.
Apparently not even an atomic bomb can kill Indy - but bad acting surely will.
And DON´T call me Shirley.
Now now, it was Indiana Jones after all. And I really liked the part where it was...Indiana Jones. Waste of time? No. Will I see it again? Yes. Is Temple of Doom better? You bet.

After that I mosied on down to Carapegua to visit a fellow volunteer at his site. It sure is different than mine, and he even has a bathroom with a HOT shower. I´m super jealous. When I spoke to him about peeing in a banana field and bucket bathing, he looked at me like I was from the Looney Bin.

BUT we did get to listen to some great Paraguayan polkas from his community (I think ALL of them showed up) a little bluegrass from us PCVs and heck, even a couple rounds of beer pong. All and all, a good night.

I can´t wait for next week.
Oh yeah, and I´m starting a radio program. It´s all in Guarani! Yikes!!!


dad d said...

Mr. Kimball,
All of that talk about crop rotation and green manure makes me hungry for some hot-water soup! I realize they can't afford to let all of their land go fallow for a year but can't you talk them into doing a sixth each year and show them the actual long-term savings and added production? Do you want me to make a spreadsheet?

Anonymous said...

Cassie - I saw Indiana on opening night - and yes I'll go see it again. But here are my irks:
1. Can YOU PEOPLE at least ACT like the skull is heavy?! By my calculations it should have been at least 60-70 pounds. This isn't a whiffle ball people!
2. Harrison Ford...Indianna Jones.....Indianna Jones...Harrison Ford...Harrison, please try and act like Indianna Jones - I know this isn't quite the same as a bicycle, but we don't want to look like we're just giving checks away.
3. Prairie Dogs????!!!????!!!????
4. Christopher Walken SNL school of reading all of the archeo clues as if they were on que cards with no meaning....for this reference...look for CW's last stand on the SNL net.

Anyhoo - sounds like you are doing a great job turning over the dirt - keep up the great job!! Can't wait to hear of The Lilo and Mary Jones Adventures in the Lost City of the Incas.........Deluce

Guido Oviedo said...

hola sta muy bueno tu blog

Kaila said...

Are you going to be posting MP3s from your radio show so we can hear you chatter on in Guarani?


Paul said...

I second Kaila's comment! I want to know more about your radio show. I'd also like to hear you speak Guarani. English transcription might be nice so I'll know what the hell you're talking about. But that might be really time-consuming for you.

You're doing some exciting stuff, Cassie!

Much love,

Anonymous said...

did not see Indy 4. but ted took little ted and they both didn't like it. you know it is bad when an almost 8 year old can't get into it. I do recommend Kung Fu Panda though!
and what is that a pic of above? are you all rationing beer?

How cool to start a radio program. you could be the next Don Francisco of Paraguay!! wish we could hear it.

all the best from us denverites...not sure if that is word, but it should be. Happy Pride weekend too

The Campbells

S E E Quine said...

1. Ingenious crop planting techniques! (Now can we get that here in America?) I hope they pan out for your guys!

2. I've never heard of Paraguayan polka, though I think there is a Mexican Polka station in Everett. It's so strange - that's all it plays!

S E E Quine said...

3. Oh yeah, and good luck with the radio show! At least tell us about it....