This is the storytelling homework that was done by the nine-year old girl of my host family. Aha! We had known each other just for a few days and this was her first impression of me!
Every morning I was woken up by these turkeys. They cackled like machine guns. What a strange sound!
After having breakfast which was usually a large plate of rice with banana and beans (my favourite) or sometimes tuna or beef, we had sufficient energy to do farm work.
Coffee-bean-harvesting is the most important farm work in July to August. By looking at and smelling this red, cherry-like fruit, it is hard to believe that they are coffee beans.
Now these dried coffee beans turn black. However they still do not have the smell of coffee.
I only believed that it was coffee when we roasted the black beans. The smell was very strong and smelt so good! Notice that the stove was built by one volunteer organization. With this design, the mother could stand to cook whereas previously she squatted to cook. The design also eliminated the smoke. Moreover, this stove used less wood. What a GREAT and INNOVATIVE design!
Harvesting coffee beans was the main work. Other duties at Sícchezpampa included picking corn for the poultry and us (roast corn and tamale are my favourite), going to the local school to cook lunch for children and finally picking up cow and donkey dung for compost.
I had 2 objectives in coming to Sícchezpampa:
1. To do physical labour each day.
2. To develop my Spanish.
This was my fourth time doing volunteer work in a Spanish speaking country and it was the happiest one because all my objectives were fulfilled!
I will never forget the happy experience in Sícchezpampa. The people there are so friendly and nice. The air is so fresh and clean. The life in general is so quiet, calm and peaceful. Thank you to my host family, Sícchezpampa and last but not least Otra Cosa Network! You all gave me lots of unforgettable moments. ¡MUCHAS GRACIAS!
By Karno Yan from Hong Kong (Sícchezpampa Coffee and Sugar Cane Farm, July - August 2011)