Home Sweet Home

May 26, 2009

I am writing this post about home for two reasons. Today, I visited a place where I would someday love to live. It was high up in the mountains on a trail that those who live there hike almost every day to school. The hike lasts about 2 hours and it ends at Pomme's House nestled in the tops of the mountains.


The views are spectacular and they have the most amazing garden I have ever seen. We were given a tour of the grounds and saw pineapple plants, cabbage, tons of herbs, sweet potato plants, sugar cane (I was given a foot long piece to suck on and it was delicious), pepper bushes, and marijuana plants scattered about. One was growing right next to the basil.


We saw cocoa bean trees, jack fruit trees, and we tasted the fruit from one tree that they call apricot, as it tastes, but it is the size of a cantalope.
Someday, I would like a life that is as simple as this. You eat what you can grow on your own land and sell the rest at the local market. You walk to everywhere you need to go, hitching rides with locals when necessary. I asked them if I could come live with them and the woman said "No Problem." I almost waved goodbye to my group and said "Come see us again!"


On the trail, Moses stopped many times to pick us some oranges, cut us open a dried coconut, pick us some wild raspberries, and even showed us how to taste coffee bean fruit. You peel off the rind, and suck on the seeds inside. Usually, they roast the beans to make coffee, but these had a lightly flavored jelly like substance around them that you could eat.

Upon our return to Jungle Bay, Sam the owner asked me to help him cut down a bunch of bananas that were ripe. He handed me the machete and we walked a few hundred feet to a tree on the side of the road. Just below the tree was a ravine about 30 feet down to a creek. Sam says, "Well, there is your bunch."


He explained to me how banana trees grow and that they only flower once, so you have to cut down the big tree so that it doesn't starve the little trees growing from the same roots below. I thought...cut down the tree?...I thought I was just cutting down a banana bunch?...what have I gotten myself into now? So, Sam told me to take the machete and hack through the trunk just below where the bunch stemmed from. I took a big swing and the machete went about 1/2 way through.


I could feel the weight of the banana bunch start to pull the top of the tree down. So I reached up and touched the bottom of the bunch. Just then, CRASH...the bunch came toppling down and I lunged to catch it. I slid a few feet down the hill, still with machete in hand, and caught the bunch just as it touched the ground.


I think in weighed about as much as me and had about 50 green bananas that will be ripe in a few days. I set down the machete and pulled the bunch higher up the hill so it wouldn't fall into the ravine below. Then, Sam told me to cut the trunk of the tree lower down so that it would not try to grow again. I took a big swing and cut again 1/2 way through the trunk. Sam told me I wasn't being agressive enough, so I took another big swing and it cut most of the way through. After I was done, he showed me how they chop it into pieces and that later he would place those pieces around the base of the smaller trees to help provide them water. Sam helped me carry the bunch back to the main building and told me that I could bring a bunch home with me. Apparently it is ok to travel home with bananas from here, but no other fruit. So...if you see me in the next few days, I will share with you my banana farming loot.


I leave this beautiful place tomorrow and return to my real home in Seattle. I can't wait to see all of you and share with you my pictures and stories from this amazing journey. I have truly learned what I am made of here on this island...sweat, machete swings, sore muscles and all...and I will forever consider this a place that is like home. Now...sit down, have a banana, and know what hard work goes into its harvest.