4:00 am was the ungodly time that we woke up to, to face the most difficult day of this entire trip. After we awoke from slumber, we did a quick head count and boarded the bus in a smooth matter. We traveled on a dark and busy road watching as locals aboard big and colorful buses to get to their jobs. We were greeted at the farm (finca) by the happy face of the neighbor’s dog. We sat down to a breakfast of eggs, rice and beans, smoked sausage, and tortilla. As we enjoyed our delicious meal and appreciated the wonderful view of nearby bamboo trees and fresh bushes. Later, we were sadly separated from each other to perform different tasks.Three groups were formed, two groups were destined to pluck out weeds, that probably gave them chronic back pain, and the third group was given the wonderful job of planting cacao trees.
I (George) had the tedious job of plucking weeds out of cocoa plants. I was immensely tired from bending, plucking, tossing, and then repeating. We passed the time by talking American politics, debating about the term bathrooms vs restrooms, and joking around with each other. The job was tiring and left me exhausted by the time 10 o’clock came around, however I felt that we had accomplished a lot in that short time and I was proud of what we had done. The experience gave me the chance to think and reflect on our question of the day: What is the comparison between how much work farmers put in and how much Cordoba they were paid? By the end of my work on the farm, I came to the realization that it doesn’t matter if you put in 10 hours of hard laboring work. At the end of the day, you would only bring in maybe 300 to 400 cordobas. Roughly 10-15 USD.
I (Maria) was chosen to plant cocoa trees. My group walked half an hour to and from our destination, the walk was hilly and rocky, making it difficult to reach our destination. It made me realize the strain that most workers face on a daily basis. My arms, shoulders, legs, and lower back ached once 11 o’clock ticked on my muddy watch, but the teamwork, bonding, and sense of family that were born from planting over 2,000 cacao trees was well worth it. I learned that society measures brightness through the amount of education that one recieves, but not mental strength (perseverance). People must have immense mental strength to be able to push themselves to plant around two-hundred trees for only about 400 cordobas for eight hours straight. It is a shame that society does not value mental strength because a strong AND educated mind is unstoppable.