Day 16-18: La Gran Vista Agricultural Farm

by - August 05, 2009

Building the biogas converter

Day 16: Wednesday 5th August 2009

After my best night’s sleep of the trip so far, I was happy to get up for the breakfast that had been prepared for us by Donald’s wife.  It was made up of fruit, freshly squeezed orange juice and other bits and pieces.  Our first task of the day was a tour of the site from Donald.  This was meant to take a few hours, but actually continued until about 11 o'clock as we were interrupted three times by delivery trucks which he had to unload.  Lunch was cooked for us and was made up of another rice based meal.

In the afternoon we were given our first set of real jobs.  Most people were working on the biogas generator - creating the concrete foundations, but me, Ben and Sam found ourselves in the chicken coop, cleaning out the chickens and pheasants. This was not as bad as it sounds and we had a laugh while doing it - throwing bits of dried chicken droppings at each other.  This was followed by the funniest moment of the trip so far.  Ben and Sam put a sack over Stevie B’s head, causing him to run around randomly until he ended up in the swimming pool.  Luckily I recorded it on my camera.  The evening meal was good and filling and after this we had a fairly big meeting where we discussed the idea of changing the rainforest trek to accommodate the injuries that had been sustained and also to cut it a bit shorter to collect TP’s passport from San Jose (he had lost this and his money on the bus).  The curfew was at 9.00pm.

Day 17: Thursday 6th August 2009

Another 6.30am start for breakfast which was on the same lines as the previous morning.  Donald congratulated us on the work from the previous day and explained that today the biogas people would continue with their jobs and the rest of us would spend the morning planting grass seed.  This was a tiring and fundamentally quite boring job, but we did find out a bit more about Donald.  He worked for the agricultural board and had been to Iowa University for 7 months to study farming.  He liked to think that he was running a completely eco-friendly farm, but this wasn’t quite true.  At least he was trying though, and was educating farmers nearby about organic produce in the process.  Lunch was much the same as yesterday.

In the afternoon everyone except me carried on with their previous jobs (also except Rob, Hannah and Daniel who weren’t working).  I had been asked to sort out the rainforest trekking phase.  We were cutting it down to two nights in the jungle with two nights either wide in Puerto Jiminez.  We were also changing the trek.  Instead of walking across the Osa Peninsular, we decided to set up a base camp at the La Leona rangers station and conduct a series of day hikes around the camp.  I spent several hours booking and planning but eventually got it done.  Dinner was similar again, but still nice and filling.  This was again followed by a long meeting, conducted by Ben, which was actually very constructive.  Mid-meeting, Rob was attacked by a massive beetle, which broke things up a bit.  We talked until about 9 and then went to bed.

Day 18: Friday 7th August 2009

I volunteered to help prepare the breakfast this morning with Sam and Donald’s wife.  This was quite pleasant but meant that I had to get up at half 5.  The helping was based around setting the table and squeezing a crate of oranges for juice.  Our morning tasks were to finish off the biogas converter and transport cut hay from one field into a barn for the horses to eat.  This took longer than it should have done as we were using a wheelbarrow with one handle.  We finished our tasks early so were assigned to digging out some carpet (?) and filling in the hole again.

At lunch we actually had some beef which was nice.  Donald gave us the afternoon off as it was our last day, allowing us to explore the surrounding area.  Me and a few other guys went to the local ‘cascada’ (waterfall), which was nice despite being full of leeches.  It was very difficult to get to however - we had to run through some gardens, down some terraces and away from a dog which bit Chris.  We bought a football on the way back and had a three-a-side kick about (won 3-1 by team Coles/Cave/Croft).  I had a wonderful shower and then got ready for our final dinner at the agricultural farm, at which some chocolate milk appeared from somewhere.  We had to spend the rest of the night packing, but this was made more exciting when Hugo found two scorpions in his bed, causing a bout of mass paranoia.

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