Friday, September 5, 2008

A Staple of Beans

Dried Beanstalk

Beans and rice (called Gallo Pinto here in Nicaragua) are at least one meal a day, if not two for pretty much everyone. The kids at the orphanage don't feel like they've eaten adequately during the day if they don't have it.

On the new property where we're making the new home for the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage, we're also using the property for agriculture, including watermelon, squash and beans!

The rainy season is June through October and everything is growing like crazy. A group of teenage boys living on the property during their year of service harvested these beanstalks from the fields and after drying them on black sheets of plastic, set about to beat the beans out of their pods.

Beating Beans
NPH teenagers who are currently living on the farm hit the piles with sticks.

It's a time and labor intensive process, but for the beans grown, sold and consumed here in Nicaragua, it's how it's done because of cheap labor.

Beans and Pods

Once the beans pods are thoroughly smashed, the bits of stalk and pod have to be cleaned out by hand. Another time intensive step.

Liberated Beans!
Cleaned Beans

It sounds like a long and boring process and it generally is, but the fact is that in poor agricultural areas, these people aren't watching TV, or listening to music, or reading books. This is what they do, day in day out, all day.

Farm Kitchen
Cooking beans over an open fire (but closed kitchen)

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