Life on the farm in Costa Rica and my "Farmily!"
Hola Amigos! I've been a little quiet this last couple weeks but definitely not still! Life on the farm is sometimes really demanding and I'm going to post some videos this week with more of what I've been up to. In the meantime I thought you'd appreciate to meet some of my "farmily."

This is Oscar, Erlin and their son Brian. They are indigenous Meskito people (from the Meskito autonomous region of eastern Nicaragua). Meskitos perhaps more than any other people I've met have a strong connection to their culture and to the land. They have their own language which they primarily speak, but the more educated ones (like Oscar) also speak and read Spanish. Money is hard to come by in their world. Some of the people opt to join the dangerous lobster diving industry which sometimes has them free-diving (without proper equipment) hundreds of feet down. Many get sick, many die. Some opt to burn hardwood trees to make "carbon" or charcoal which they sell in the cities by the bag. Meskitos are all allowed to live and grow crops for "free" on the indigenous lands, but in order to build a house they need money. Thus, many are forced to leave their home to find low-paid labor jobs which are often safer and more secure.

That's how I met Oscar. He came to Tacotal (our community-owned farm) about 4 years ago right around the time his son was born. He was looking for work and we needed help. I put him to work assisting my carpenter, another Meskito. Together they built my Bano seco or "dry toilet." We have a difficult time finding people to help us when we need it on the farm as we are way off the grid and most of the locals opt to work down the road at our neighbor community La Ecovilla where folks have more money and steadier work, so when they come we do our best to keep them there. It is technically illegal for Nicaraguans or "nicos" as they are called here to work in Costa Rica without a work visa and the police sometimes make their way through the more on-the-grid La Ecovilla, so our farm offers people like Oscar and his family a safe place to come and stay, live and work for a while out of sight from the immigration police and surrounded by nature. They live on the farm with us cooking over a wood-fire and visit me every day. They come to my house to charge their cell phones (EVERYONE here in Central America has cell phones) and the last couple weeks I've kept Oscar working 6 days a week (though he'd prefer 7, I need a break sometimes!). Mostly I have him doing land projects, cleaning up the land, burying water lines, and his friend Jean Carlos helps me with my construction projects around the house. In the last two weeks I've made huge leaps on the farm with the help of these men including: putting cob walls on the bano seco, burying my main water line, creating a parking area, cleaning both terraces and chopping up old tree trunks, building shelves and counters for the bano seco, installing a sink, adding on to my houses roof, replacing my house screens, and building a bed in my bedroom and I am so grateful. I pay them more than what people say I "should" pay for Nicaraguan "peons" or laborers, but still it amounts to about $3.80 or 2000 colones an hour. I pay them once a week, on time and in cash. Sometimes I make coffee and lunch too, though they are mostly content with their rice and beans and veggies that Erlin makes them. It's a challenge for me because I know these guys really need the work and despite the low hourly wage keeping these 2 guys employed is not easy. It amounts to about $350 a week which adds up fast so I am doing my best to keep these guys working and not go broke myself! Your support here on Patreon is directly basically the only income I have right now and is helping me to pay Jean Carlos and Oscar and to keep this family fed and happy so thank you thank you thank you. Oscar told me this week finally earned enough to purchase all the zinc roofing for his house and he's even traded me for my old iPhone 4, though I have a feeling i'm going to have to teach him how to use it, we just set up jus first email account! I will post more about the projects and the farm this week, but I wanted to take a moment to say thank you and introduce you to some of my farmily. So on behalf of myself, the farm, and Jean Carlos and Oscar and his family THANK YOU!!! Your support literally keeps us going and living the life I was only able to sing about for years. ❤️
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