8.21.2007

Day 94 - Volunteer Service - Our Host Family and Starting a Garden

Today I am in luxury. There is an incandescent light bulb overhead and a fan, the kind that requires electricity. Also, my computer is not running off its batteries. Jeff and I came into town to visit with the local extension agencies. We talked with several, one that deals with aqueducts, one with domestic education like family abuse and adult literacy, and one that deals with agriculture. I don’t know what to quite think of it all. I am sure later on they will be useful contacts, but right now they just seem like a side note. We also got a fair amount of time at the internet cafĂ©. I still am not all the way through the emails that had built up. We plan to go back tomorrow so I can publish this and finish up some other things.

Here´s a picture of our host family´s house:
Here´s is our host father making something with his machette.
This is our host mother, her name is Amelia. Things have been going well in our valley. We have had three weeks in site. The locals can’t quite figure out what to make of our names. More often than not they say Jack for Jeff. And more often than not I am The-Wife-of-Jack than Foy. Everyday we talk to people and that helps with the language. I also try to learn how to conjugate two new verbs a day. Little by little we are improving our language. I even had a conversation with a women who had lost more teeth than were still in her mouth. I think I understood most of what she said. I still have to actively make myself listen. Some days it is easier than others.

We have also taken one day to travel to each of the communities that are about two hours away on foot. They both require a major river crossing and several stream crossings. We haven’t figured out just what we are going to do with ourselves. Although, Jeff seems to have found enough guys to play Ultimate Frisbee with him on a regular basis. In fact just about every day some guy comes by and asks Jeff if he is going to play this afternoon. They refer to the Frisbee as a Platillo or "little plate".

I have started my own little set of flower seedlings that I have been collecting from our neighbors´ gardens. I have found zinnias, cosmos, cleome, firecracker vines and several flowers that no one seems to know the name of. There is actually one really pretty light purple vine flower that I really want, but it doesn’t seem to have seeds. There are also some really beautiful heliconia and ginger (right) I would like to get a plant start from, as I don’t think they will be easy to start from seed. I kept some seeds for tomatoes a neighbor lady brought us, we’ll see if they germinate. I’d like to get some seeds for peppers as well.

The thing I miss most if having fresh herbs. If anyone comes across some good deals on cheap herb seeds you should send them our way. It should be the end of the growing season in Iowa and places should have them discounted. However, don’t mark the mail as containing seeds, as they could be confiscated as illegal contraband.. However, what they don’t know won’t hurt them.

I’d love:
Basil (Genevieve - is my personal favorite)
Tarragon
Oregano
Thyme
Chives
Lemon verbena
Flat leaf parsley
I’d actually even go for mint, because it would go great with some of the chocolate drinks here. And you know any type of squash, zucchini, pepper or tomato seeds you’ve found wouldn’t be turned down. I’m excited this is the first time I get to really try growing a garden all my own with out anyone else’s inputs, plus I get to grow in a tropical year round local!

1 comment:

  1. Foy,
    I searched through my seeds and found a pepper and parsley I'll send in the letter I'm mailing tomorrow. I'll search for seeds of all you listed. May be pretty late to find these, but I'll bet I could put out a call at work and there's enough gardeners there that we could come up with quite a few of these.
    Mom
    P.S. That ginger plant is to die for.

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