Thursday, December 18, 2008

En La Finca

Our first Sunday in Bluefields began with a taxi ride to where the pavement ends. From there, a dirt road winds up a slight hill, past windblown shacks, a burning cliff of garbage, and partially cleared forests where individuals are staking out claims with makeshift fencing and started foundations. Local government officials, we were told, recently indicated that nothing would be done about squatters in this region, resulting in the recent influx of activity. Beyond this: a state-of-the-art cattle operation (shining, spotless, no cattle), an unattended horse waiting for its owner to return from the bush with armfuls of chopped wood, and, past a dry well, the road to la finca.

La finca simply means “the farm.” There are many farms, but this is the familiar one. The owner’s family has close ties with blueEnergy. Following a quick hike up to a main building (staffed solely by the three children above and below, their parents at market), the eight of us had a leisurely lunch beside the remnants of a dismantled lookout post, before heading down into the jungle, GPS equipment in tow, in search of long-lost fence posts.

Jungle are not conducive to clumsy people. There are streams that can only be crossed through the clever use of tree limbs and by reinventing yourself as a tripod. There are monkeys that express loud, whooping umbrage at your presence. There are bullet ant parades. There are memories of clear-cut national forests. Two machetes upfront.

You're obliged to fall at least once, as a show of good faith.  

When it’s over, when a rusty spoke of metal attached to barbed wire emerges at the bottom of a hill, then fencing and cleared space, it will seem anticlimactic. It will seem, even though a one-hour hike turned into four, premature. Machetes will be slid away too soon. Eventually, dirt paths, a burning cliff with foraging animals, and then pavement resume. The monkey will still be whooping, distantly, but with less feeling.


  1. Keep the blog up, buddy! Incredible stuff. Great pictures and even better work that you guys are doing. Really cool. Believe it or not, I think this blog is some of the best writing you've done before! ;-)

  2. Hey, those monkeys are Howler monkeys. Appropriate name, huh? I don't know if you've heard it yet, but sometimes they sound like a woman screeching- it's quite nerve wracking actually. And there are other monkeys that throw things at you- including their own feces- so watch out! Miss you!!!!