Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Welcome Back! Now Let's Go Chop Trees Down In The Rain!

I woke up to the sound of the rain on the tin roof, gently waking me out of my bottom bunk-cave. Apparently there’d only one rooster hanging around these days, and he’s a quiet gentleman, so I was able to recover easily from my sleepless night in Houston.

It’s no regular occurrence to have a “Rainy Day” up here on the mountain. Normally you can set your watch to late afternoon when a downpour will pop up, release its goodies, and quickly retreat, but it has been steadily dripping all day long. The end of the rainy season looks a bit like someone is wringing out a wet towel.

Everything is serene and verdant on campus right now, one day before the students and a few more teachers show up, giving me a chance to re-settle, clear up the cobwebs (there are far too many for comfort and though the Daddy Long-Legs are more than welcome to stay, there are these giant thick brown spiders that I aim to displace right this minute,) and admire my home.

Lost in bananas - can you find me?
Every day is a learning day in Honduras and today is banana picking day. In the six months that I’ve been gone, most of the changes are growing related - the gardens are flourishing, sunflowers smiling and coffee planation is sprawling, and apparently we have been banana self-sufficient for a while now! (Go figure, this is the Banana Republic.) So from me to you, what do you need to know about bringing home the bacon…err….bananas? Banana trees only grow bananas once and then become useless. If you leave the banana tree in the ground, it will be selfish and suck the nutrients out of the soil that should go to other baby bananas. ¡Qué pena! What to do?

Machete time! Three men and a Caitlin grabbed machetes and marched up the plantation hill in the rain. I’m an expert at banana bunch spotting, they really should pay me in something other than bananas for my skills. I wield the machete like a baseball bat – improper form - whack away at the trunk and try my darndest to hit the same spot each time. Banana trunk juice flies everywhere but it doesn’t matter because it’s raining and we’re soaking wet anyway. One I break through the shell of the trunk, the inside is spongy like sugar cane, and it’s only a matter of time and little of aggressive energy before the thing goes TIMBER and we take our banana bounty. There’s also gorgeous red banana hearts the size of my head. I’m going to try to cook them tonight like a Filipino grandma.

Besides my new banana knowledge, nearly everything else is the same: beans, eggs, torillas, mangy but charming dogs, giant boxes of garbage needing a good burning, my lessons need a good planning in the hammock, the mountains are calling “Bienvenidos, amiga,” and I’m like, “Buena decisión.”


  1. Let us know how the banana hearts turn out.

  2. Sounds like a great time with the bananas and the machetes! Be safe!