There was a bit of confusion on Friday morning. The Partera told Anna that the bus from La Dalia to Rancho Grande departs at 5:30 am, while others told me various times between 6:00 and 8:00 am. To be safe, I set my alarm for 4:40 am Friday morning and made it to the bus stop by 5:20. I waited. I waited with a Brigadista who was en route to Matagalpa, I waited breifly with Ericka, a girl that lives on my street as she passed by with her mom, I decidedly did not wait with the town Bolo, who astoundingly had both of his flip-flops attached to his feet after a long night of bolo-ing. I watched, too. I watched the busses circle the rotary, the men carrying heavy loads on their backs, the dogs, ribs visible, searching out spare crumbs. I gave part of my peanut-butter sandwich to one that looked particularly thin. Finally, the bus came. To clear up any confusion, the bus to the Big Ranch arrives at 6:20am! El bus para Rancho Grande sale a las 6:20!
As you have probably gathered, this weekend I traveled to Anna´s site, Rancho Grande, which is the capital of the municipality that borders my site. After a two-hour bus ride through the mountainous caretera that passes by Peñas Blancas as well as several small communities that I have worked in in my own municipality, we rolled into the center of Rancho Grande bright and early Friday morning.
Anna met me in front of her host family´s home and she gave me the tour of her house as well as of her site. We went into the Health Center, the school, and said hello to the various venders that lined the streets. Finally, we made it to the Casa Materna, where Anna is working on building a garden with the parteras that work there, as well as with a local NGO. They had already completed most of the beds, but Anna and I worked together to put some organic soil in the last bed. Check it out:
Next, we walked to a family friend´s finca to eat lunch and to learn how to make cuajada, a typical Nicaraguan cheese. Here´s Claudia, the 12 year-old daughter of Anna´s family´s friend, making some platanos maduros for lunch:
And her 5-year-old sister:
Anna, hanging out:
Cuajada: Before shot. We did not make it in time to see the beginning of the process, but they told me that you get some milk and you get a pill. You put the pill in the milk and it turns the milk to cheese. The cheese sits at the bottom of the bowl. When it was ready, we reached in with our hands and gathered the cheese together until it was one solid cheesy unit:
Claudia, working on the cuajada:
Solid! That´s a good sign:
Finally, add salt to taste. Eat immediately:
Check out some videos from the process: