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Second to Last Field Note

Saturday, August 6th, 2016
Dear friends and family,
This past week at the Bona Fide Farm has been exhausting but super interesting. The farm is former cattle land that is being revitalized as a sustainable farm. It is located on a dormant volcano on the island of Ometepe in the middle of a lake. Solar panels generate electricity in the kitchen, but there is no power anywhere else in the farm, including our living space. We sleep in an area with twelve beds under a roof.
Every morning, we’ve woken up before 5:30 to work on the farm–two hours before breakfast and two hours afterwards. Farm chores vary from planting trees in the field to bagging dirt and watering baby plants in the nursery to helping prepare breakfast and lunch with the head chefs. We work with volunteers, staff from the United States, and local staff. It’s been a great opportunity to learn about how a farm works and practice our Spanish.
After meeting as a group and eating lunch, we’ve had some free time and then done some really fun activities in the afternoon. This week we have been introduced to permaculture, learned to make chocolate and enchiladas from scratch, and visited an amazing beach.
The beach we went to Thursday was one of the most incredible beaches I have ever visited. It was a sand beach in between both volcanoes on the island. We could see the Nicaragua mainland in the distance, an active volcano to our left, and a dormant volcano to our right. The view was awesome no matter which way we looked. When we went in the water, it was warmer than a pool and knee deep for over a hundred yards. As we got deeper, there were little fish in the murky water that bit some of my fellow travelers and forced them out of the lake. Before we left, we watched the sun set over the volcano.
Today, we walked to the town and learned to make baskets. The man who taught us is the only basket weaver on the island and has been doing it for decades. We started with four pieces of wood and some pliable wood that resembled string and started weaving it in a flat circle. Then we added four more pieces and began to fold it upwards to make the basket shape. Everyone’s basket ended up a little different because we each used different angles and shapes to build the basket. After that, we went to one of the chefs house because she had invited us all there for dinner. Marina is an amazing cook and we were grateful she opened up her house to us and made us a delicious dinner. We really enjoyed our last day on the island.
Overall, we’ve had a great experience on the farm. It’s been physically challenging and opened our minds a lot. We’re sad that the trip is coming to an end, but we’re excited to come home to enjoy the rest of our summers.