Blood, Sweat, & Pigs

Yesterday, on Friday, the day started off at the primary school once again.  We visited a few of the classrooms and reviewed body parts and taught a class the different colors and pieces of clothing in English as well.  While at school, we called Chris because there wasn’t much control over any of the kids and none of the teachers would help.

At around 11:00am, the principal notified us that he wanted some help watching the students swim at the pool.  We did so and watched all the kids bouncing off the walls with flips and dives that were actually belly flops.  It was entertaining to a certain extend, it just wasn’t enjoyable getting splash by their very opaque pool water.

We left at 12:00pm and all went home for lunch.  After lunch at around 2:00pm Victor, my host father, was going to kill a bull.  A bunch of us were waiting for him to show up so we could watch, but it must’ve been about an hour later until the entire process actually started. Though I am a vegetarian, it was an interesting process to watch.  We learned that Victor sells over a hundred pieces from one bull, and makes about a hundred dollars profit from one bull.  The bull that he was going to butcher was about one year old.  It was quite an experience watching, but a bit horrifying walking away with blood that accidentally got splattered all over my face and shirt.

After the whole killing of the bull ended, we started our 2:30pm seminar at around 4:30pm instead.  Seminar yesterday was titled Who is the Oppressor?  The group discussions were actually led by us students instead of the program leaders this time.  My group’s topic statement was “Charity is Oppressive,” and we just went on to discuss humanitarianism and humanists.  The second group’s topic was “What is the relationship between the teacher and society?”  We all thought that society molds the teacher and impacting what he or she teaches, sometimes leading to opinionated, biased, and one sided viewpoints.  This led to another question, “How does politics effect what’s taught in school?”  This related back to Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins, discussing how only few current events are actually discussed and not all things are always brought to our attention.  The third group’s topic was “How do the oppressed gain empowerment?”  and “What would the problems be with the oppressors helping the oppressed?”

Once seminar ended, we all split up into our mentor groups and went out to eat dinner.  My mentor group (Kasha, Annie, Allie, Zach and Nick) and I went to eat at Josie and Tori’s family’s restaurant.  Just about every meal on the menu was served with papas fritas (french fries), but nonetheless was very good and we all enjoyed it. It was also another “happy hour” night, so Zach, Nick and I had Pilsners. After dinner, we headed back to the PL’s house and watched my favorite movie, Good Will Hunting.  It was nice to watch the movie with the whole group, even though we were crowded on the floor fighting over pillows.  Once the movie ended we were all very tired and went home.

This morning was nice, being able to sleep in about an hour and a half more.  At around 9:00am, Victor picked up the whole group in the town square to go to his farm for the day.  We all fit into one large pick up truck and drove about 15min outside of town and were dropped off on the side of the road.  Victor said he wanted to hike down to his farm.  The views were absolutely amazing.  The mountains were filled with farms and roaming horses and cattle.  Each piece of property was a different shade of green, and all gave off a fresh aroma.

Hiking down was very difficult for all of us.  In the beginning it was very dry because of the drought San José de Minas is currently undergoing.  There was a whole lot of dust that was blowing around and getting into our mesh sneakers.  At one point Victor asked us whether or not we wanted to take the more challenging route, and of course we all said yes.  The route took us down into a deep jungle along the valley.  It was filled with spider webs, slippery rocks and thorny tree trunks.  Throughout the entire time we followed a spring that flowed down to Victor’s property.  I slipped on a rock along the spring and fell into a small pool of musky water.  I stood up with so much dirt and mud all over my shirt and jeans; I couldn’t help but laugh.  Though it sounds very distasteful, I really enjoyed getting sweaty and dirty and super muddy.  It was mainly the hike and the journey through it all that made today so great.  It was something so unwonted and stimulating, I couldn’t help but think we were dropped off in a scene of the movie Predator.  Towards the end of this quite wild hike, there was a large cliff that we needed to somehow hug around and jumped down into a cave.  This cliff that we were hugging was all dried dirt and hard rock.  I was on my toes for the most part, pressing my body against the rock so I fall.  Victor held out his hand from the other end, so I trusted myself enough to let go and leap into his arms in order to help guide me down to the cave.

Finally, after that long battle against the trees and our machetes, we finally reached his farm.  Victor owns a couple cows and about 70 pigs or so.  We went to each of the pig pens and saw the different sizes in each section.  Some were just hours old, a few were weeks/months old and others were just as large as a horse almost.  We were all allowed to hold some of the pigs that had just been born the day before.  They were all squealing so much it made me nervous to keep holding them.

Victor treated us to a community hang out area, that had a $4 entrance fee.  There we were able to swim in a somewhat clean indoor pool, relax in a sauna and hot tub.  We all showered off afterwards, then heading home to our house where everyone ate lunch.  We all hung out for a few hours at my house, which was really fun.  Eventually we all split up and met up later to watch a local soccer game.  The game started around 9:00pm, but we all left about halfway through because we were all quite tired.

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