Bienvenidos a nuestro blog de Finca Mono Verde! Welcome to our blog from Finca Mono Verde! This week we lived together in a bamboo castle surrounded by coffee crops, chickens and three adorable dogs. While we continued to practice our newly learned Ecuadorian slang, we learned about environmental conservation, effectively utilizing natural resources, permaculture, coffee production, local businesses, indigenous culture, and remembering to close the lid when using compost toilets.
Our first morning set the tone for the rest of our busy week when we set up brocha beatle traps made of recycled plastic bottles containing a delicious and deadly coffee cocktail. The following day we hiked up into the Finca Martinez forest reserve where we spotted numerous monkeys up in the trees and had the chance to try some medicinal and thirst-quenching plants. While under a lush green canopy of trees we debated the impact of organizations such as REDD+ and Socio Bosque.
We visited Don Ernesto and learned about the ways he has integrated the ideals of permaculture on his farm, and how he still has so much spirit and energy at 84 years old. Perfecto Martínez payed us a visit and we had the amazing opportunity to take a close look at artifacts he’s discovered from the native Jama Coaque peoples from up to 2,000 years ago. We struggled to master the art of making traditional cookies, and helped to prepare a typical fish stew called encebollado. We lent a hand to Don Bigote and his family to level out the ground outside their house after it was damaged by the earthquake in 2016. We broke in our gloves and got to work picking up fallen coffee beans and pruning the coffee plants to minimize the negative effects of the brocha beatle which can easily infest and ruin the yield of the crops. As the final days on la finca came to a close we artfully constructed graywater filters, cleaned up trash on a local beach, and learned about the hardships of the local fishermen.
Each day our bellies were stuffed with heaping plates of delicious food, piping hot local coffee, and we were lulled to sleep by the sounds of barking dogs, the occasional sleep talker, and powerful snores after a long day of work.
Tomorrow brings a nine hour bus ride to Baños where we will excitedly begin our first homestays!
– Ava and Joey