|Nuestra familia Nicaraguense. Whalder, Yelba, Mercedes, y Margarita. (Mary Elizabeth and I are in the middle.)|
Everyday we received 4 hours of 1-on-1 language instruction with professional teachers who rotated weekly. Our classes were comprised of formal grammar lessons or informal conversation- based on our personal preferences. Typically, any given class was a mix of grammar, exhanges of personal & family stories, and stories about their community's history that is rooted in a farming cooperative that brought them together in the early ´80´s and the US-backed Contra's attack on their community in '84 that cost many in the community the lives of their brother and sisters. Beyond our classes, we were free to visit with others in the community, go swimming at the community's cascada (waterfall), help our homestay family around the house, and check out books from the community library. It was a superb experience. Did I mention it was $200/week for room, board, and instruction? Wow.
Although Hijos del Maiz is most certainly a language school, and learn loads of spanish we did, amongst the first things I noticed upon arriving in El Lagartillo were the economies of our homestay family's household food systems. There is no waste. It is a story best told by pictures.
Host families receive CSA-like baskets of fresh fruits & vegetables each week.
Permaculture, it was a brilliant lesson in elements and functions not to mention zones.)
If the time and computer access were available, I could write a book about the grass-roots organizing and community-based food systems we witnessed. More stories to come...
Nathan, Man in Overalls