The silence of the coffee forest

“They’re all gone,” the women says when I ask her where the men are, clutching her small child to her side and putting a hang gingerly on her swollen belly, “they’re all gone to the hills”. I glance over at the young women who I have trained to administer the surveys and be my culturalContinue reading “The silence of the coffee forest”

Thesis-Antithesis

The coffee comes, interrupting our conversation for a second. The woman serving the coffee gently sets down the fresh coffee cups, picks up the old ones and looks respectfully at the older woman seated in the rocker in front of me, patiently waiting to continue her story. “Algo más?” She asks the old woman. TheContinue reading “Thesis-Antithesis”

Sunset paths on the Solentiname Islands

The women puts the final brush stroke on her painting, takes off her glasses and peers at us: two white girls, sunburned from a long day of exploring the Island of San Fernando, standing at the edge of her porch, looking sheepish. “I take it you don’t want to rent the canoe anymore?” she asks,Continue reading “Sunset paths on the Solentiname Islands”

How to kill a chicken Part 2: kill it

  It all happened so fast. In my mind I had it planned out precisely: I would choose the chicken, pay homage to the gods and ask to take it’s life,maybe make an offering, build a fire and dance around it, celebrating the circle of life and all that good stuff.Farmers here aren’t sentimental, well,Continue reading “How to kill a chicken Part 2: kill it”

Comfort Food

Food is a touchy subject anywhere, far from being merely a source of energy and nutrients, it is intricately linked to identity, emotions, feelings of well-being. Every country has its staple food; in India it is rice and dahl, in Germany it is bread and cheese, and here it is Gallo Pinto: essentially rice andContinue reading “Comfort Food”

Life and death in the Barrios

I hear the Taxi’s horn behind me and stick out my arm to wave it down. It pulls up behind me; an old Toyota, one of the many that comprise the fleet of well-used, beat-up cars that serve as collective Taxis. I stick my head through the passenger side window. “INPRHU?” I ask questioningly. TheContinue reading “Life and death in the Barrios”

A bitter-sweet symphony in Pearl Lagoon

The boat sputters and heaves against the waves. I see the front lift up and then smack down on the surface of the ocean sending a wave of bathtub-warm wáter to where I am sitting in the back of the boat, drenching me instantly. I taste the salt on my lips and hug my bag closerContinue reading “A bitter-sweet symphony in Pearl Lagoon”

Semana Santa in Bluefields

“How much longer?” my dad asks next to me, his voice sounding slightly pained. I look over at him, wondering if he is talking in his sleep or just resting his eyes. He is jammed up against the window of the bus, trying, I suppose, to get some relief from the overwhelming humid heat insideContinue reading “Semana Santa in Bluefields”