Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NHESP 2010 Update 5

On top of Mt. Pasochoa; le to rt standing: Gabe, Dylan, Armin, Tupac, Hannah, Connor, Marcela, Pedro; sitting: Michael, Hakeem, Julia, Shiram, Lisl 

Hakeem leaping over a fence

Shiram, Armin, Gabe and Jake with Mt. Pasochoa in the background

Dear Readers,

We started off the week “cocinando con Adelita” (cooking with Adela), who is Michael, Thomas, and Mathias’ mother. Adelita showed us how to make “locro de papa” (potato soup) and “quimbolitos,” a dessert native to Ecuador. Although the preparations for the meal were somewhat chaotic, we had a delicious, authentic dinner with dessert and learned much from Adelita.
Our new knives
On Tuesday, we finally completed making our knives and had a geography lesson with Michael. We learned about stratovolcanoes, riolithic formations and Neolithic eruptions, Cotopaxi’s last eruption in 1880 (and its tendency to erupt every 100 to 120 years!), and how Ecuador is divided into four geographical areas: the coast, Andes mountains, Amazon basin, and the Galapagos Islands.
On Wednesday, we started construction and carpentry projects on the farm. We assembled into groups and began to build stairs for our dwellings, repair the clay and cob oven, build windows in El Chozon, and make a tool-box for our equipment. Additionally, Marcela taught a lesson on Ecuadorian literature.
Thursday we ascended the 13,000-foot mountain Pasochoa, about an hour away from Palugo. Our bus driver, Carlos, and Marcea, Thomas’s partner, came with us. Pasochoa mountain was once a volcano and now it is half a crater, surrounded by lush forest that inhabit spectacled bears, hawks (gavilanes), deer, and wolves. “The gavilanes welcomed us in and out of the mountain.” –Pedro. It was a strenuous and scenic walk. Unfortunately, Iyla and Jake were unable to summit because of altitude sickness and waited for the return of the group under Carina's care about 1,000 feet lower. In the end, we had a great time. This experience was good preparation for what’s to come. As we were descending, Michael, Jake, and a few others spotted a clandestine black wolf that was never spotted again.
Pizza night in El Chozon
Friday was our official workday. We split up into groups of twos; each group read a short story by a South American author. In our groups, we discussed the reading, and then wrote and drew academic pages to add to the semester book. 
Finally, on Saturday, the knowledgeable herbalist, Marcea, engrossed us. We went around the farm and attempted to absorb all the information she had to offer. Marcea showed us the following herbs and told us about their healing properties: wild sage, deadly nightshade, muscara, alfalfa, red clover, iso, eucalyptus, elder, borage, mint, lemon balm, sorrel, black walnut, calendula, rosemary, yellow dock, stinging nettle, horse tail, and chinchin. For the highlight of the day, we made a salve out of herbal oils (6oz. calendula, 4oz. plantain, 3oz. chamomile, 2oz. rosemary, 1oz. lavender), and 4oz. of beeswax (to bind the oil together). We learned so much from Marcea; she has so much wisdom to offer. Later that afternoon and night, we made chulpi, various breads, granola, and cookies for our month-long expedition. We finished the day with many delicious pizzas made from scratch. Thank you Marcea for a fun filled day!


Marcea pouring our salves

Environmental tip of the week: stinging nettle stimulates your nerves. Whipping yourself on an achy part of your body can revitalize your muscles and nerves. Nettle is also a super food that contains copious amounts of vitamins and minerals. Cook it with a little butter and garlic!

Spanish words of the week:

Recipe of the week from our cooking/Spanish lesson: Locro de Papa: chop onions and fry. Add half of the potatoes (about 20) and add water until covered. Add salt and let it cook until they are soft. Then add the rest of the potatoes with milk and cheese (queso crème Gonzalez). Let it boil until it thickens. Picar cebollas y freir. Aumentar la mitad de las papas y aumentar agua hasta que les tape. Poner sal y dejar cocinar hasta que esten suaves. Luego aumentar el resto de las papas leche y queso, dejar hervir hasta que espece. Y disfrutar!
Concert in El Chozon with Armin, Dylan and Dario, a boy who works on the farm
Ingredients for Quimbolitos: Mix four oz. of flour, two oz. of corn starch, eight oz. of butter, eight oz. of sugar, eight oz. of cheese, one cup of lemon, four oz. of raisins, one cup of cognac, and twenty leaves of achira (a local tree). Whip butter and sugar, then add the grated cheese. Add the yolks and whip until snow like or until you can turn the bowl upside down and they will not fall out. Little by little, add the flour mixed with corn-starch and baking powder. Next step is to add the lemon juice and cognac . Mix well so that the dough is fluffy. Then add the whipped egg whites. Wrap the mix in achira leaves and add raisins. Put them in a pot to cook in a steam bath. 

Mt. Pinchinca in the background
Connor at the rim of Pasochoa's crater

No comments:

Post a Comment