For week 20 of the Indie Travel Challenge, we’d like you to talk about something you saw or experienced during a trip that was particularly challenging or difficult for you. What did you learn from that, and how has it impacted your life since then?
There isn’t a lot that bothers me. I got to see a pig being killed and butchered and that was pretty amazing. I got all sciencey about it. I am well aware that a pig’s internal working are almost identical to a human’s, and seeing the pig being butchered, I was all, “OH, so that’s how that organ connects to that organ.”, and “So that’s what the heart really looks like.”
I found it quite interesting. I took lots of photos and videos. There will be both G and ‘WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT’ versions of that post out soon.
I also got a Bot Fly parasite in my back. It wasn’t nearly as bad as seeing a full grown larvae squeezed out of the dog’s back then FED to the dog. Not going to lie, that was pretty gross. But, it will make a great blog post (that will be out shortly also).
I think the most difficult thing I’ve experienced so far while traveling is
Becoming A Migrant Worker On A Cacao Farm!!!
I do hard manual labour for a living building concert stages in stadiums and arenas; but that is nothing compared to the work these guys do everyday. Working outside in the hot sun, in the jungle, surrounded by deadly venomous animals, flying bugs, and parasitic creatures trying to lodge their children into your spine sucks. Easting crappy, greasy, minimal food, having to use the bathroom outside (I hate doing that personally), and sleeping all piled up in an old pig sty; which I didn’t have to do – thanks to adopted nepotism – but if I had, I don’t think I would have lasted a night. And doing all this for the equivalent of $10 a day!
I couldn’t last. There were a couple of times I was just done and had to stop for a day because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Ok, having my Pepere (grandfather) have another stroke, and die a few days later, and then not be able to get back to the USA for the funeral, didn’t help my mood or ability to cope with the harshness of migrant working any; but even before that, I decided migrant working is harder than anything I have ever done, and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. And I was still not living exactly like them (the work was on the farm of my boyfriend’s family, so yea, I had better accommodations and access to cook my own food when I couldn’t take anymore chicharon).
It was a great experience, but what did I learn form it?
I’M A FUCKIN’ PRINCESS SOMETIMES!
I’ve always thought I was pretty hardcore, but until I did this work, I had no idea what real hardcore was. Being from the USA, we hear about all the jobs illegal, mostly Mexican, migrant workers are taking from us (*sarcasm alert*) ‘poor, hardworking Americas’.
I’d like to see you guys do this work for a week!
Living 28 people in a 15×20 old pig sty (literally), and getting paid no more than $10 a day. Men, women and children all living together. All sharing one shower. Doing your laundry by hand. Many of the guys live and work on the farm, just to send all the money to their families far away. I don’t think we should kick out the immigrants who are doing this type of work in the USA. I think we should give them medals!
Its unbelievably hard, tiring, thankless work. I would challenge ANY American to do this for a living, and anyone who uses illegal migrant labour to give your employees raises and better living conditions. You try their job. Its insane.
These are some of the guys who do this day in and out. They rock.
Rum and Pig Party on Saturday night, they only get Sunday’s off.
And all these guys, always seem to be smiling. They are lucky to have good work. A lot of people don’t.
It may be their day off, but there is still work to do. This Sunday was pig-butchering day. He didn’t seem all that excited to see the pig be killed, but he was still there to help move the pig to the butchering table (about 100 yard walk away, up a hill, through mud, to the main house). Just because you don’t like the work sometimes, doesn’t mean it still doesn’t need to get done. Everyone helps always.
The building behind them is where the workers lived. I, unfortunately, didn’t get a good photo of just how big small it actually is.
And the guys still found time to bring the gringa presents.
Present like a deadly, venomous Equis snake to see in real life (also known as a fer-de-lance or terciopelo). (They knew I really wanted to see one. This was not to tease the gringa, this was because I really wanted to see one.) Some of these guys, whose job was to clear the fields for planting, worked around these deadly creatures all day, everyday.
Yup, these guys are awesome, and I totally nominate them all, and any migrant worker, for the bad-asses of history award!
This is part of Boots n All 2012 Indie Travel Challenge. I’m doing this in hopes of becoming a more consistent and better travel-blogger. And to write about the awesome people I meet while I travel.