It’s a new week and that means a new round of bean deliveries. Last week I took off from school because the Compañeros group was here. But since they took off I’m back to teaching in the mornings. So I haven’t been able to participate in the morning bean deliveries but I’ve been able to go to the afternoon deliveries.
Today we delivered beans to the community of Río de los Bueyes. It takes a little over an hour to get there. Alejandro was home early so he drove which meant Kathy and I were riding outside together. We took a different route than normal to the community since the last time we visited the road through San Isidro was really bad. To help pass the time Kathy and I came up with a list of songs that had the word “sun” in them. We only came up with 7 before getting sidetracked by something else.
As we reached Talpetates we started looking around at the sugarcane. Talpetates and Río de los Bueyes are much further down the mountain than Berlín and are therefore perfect areas for growing sugarcane. That means there’s a lot of water and a lot of sun. Thus, the roads by the sugarcane fields are often filled with water during the rainy season. As we were driving along the watery roads we saw several iguanas. One was really big and Cecilia wanted me to get out of the truck and catch it. But by the time I’d hopped out of the truck it had run away.
This is the road we're driving down
More sweet sugarcane
I love these trees
Yet another road
The big truck
When we reached the community almost everyone was there waiting for us. When the truck with the beans showed up they first unloaded some cement and cement blocks. They’re going to use the materials to construct a memorial wall for the people in their community who died during the Civil War (1980-1992). Then began the process of distributing the beans. It went smoothly with the people from the community in charge of collecting signatures and unloading the beans.
While the process was underway I talked to one of the community members about the electricity poles that are being put into the community. I asked when everything would be up and running and he said the community should have electricity in a few months. The project is being completed by the Berlín City Hall and a non-governmental organization (NGO). However, like other communities that have electricity, there are problems with the project. For example, not everyone can afford the cost of hooking up the electricity to their homes. Others can’t afford the monthly cost of the electricity.
Furthermore, even if you can afford both of these things, you have to own your own land in order to hookup. If you don’t own your own land, like many people in the communities, you have to get permission from the person who does own the land. And if the owner of the land doesn’t give permission you can’t hookup electricity to your house. Thus, these barriers prevent many people from having the electricity that is technically available to their community. As someone in San Francisco told me, the community will have electricity but the people won’t.
Before too long all the beans had been unloaded from the trucks. We said goodbye to everyone and headed back toward Berlín. Another successful trip.
Unloading the cement blocks
Cement to unload as well
Some of the community gathered
Carrying away her beans
Casually chatting with beans on her head
The guy on the right was in charge of signatures
Waiting for others
Checking out the beans
Playing with the baby
The bean list
Time to walk home
Women carry things on their heads
Loading up poles for electricity
Driving home behind the herd