A Travellerspoint blog

El Pequeño Pueblo de Mastatal

...all nine buildings of it.

semi-overcast 85 °F

So it seems like people have been the most curious about what the town of Mastatal is like. Well, lets start with perhaps the best adjective - tiny. The entire town is on one dirt road that is basically in the middle of nowhere and it takes about 2 hours by chicken-bus to get to the nearest town with a bank and grocery store. The town has a total of nine buildings including the main house of Rancho Mastatal where I am at. So there is the ranch, 2 'sodas' (or tiny mini-marts/restaurants), a open air bar (really more like a shed with beer), a one-room elementary school and highschool, an internet point, a community building, and a church. Perhaps most important of all it has a soccer field.
The Mastatal intersection (thats the bar)

The Mastatal intersection (thats the bar)

the Soda

the Soda

the community center

the community center


Internet Point

Internet Point

Soccer sundays are the big thing around here. People come together from several nearby villages to spend the entire day playing children's, men's, and women's soccer games. This past weekend, Mastatal hosted soccer sunday and the little town came alive with all the action. There was a food vendor set up by the soccer field and people socialized and lounged in the ant ridden grass all day. Us gringos got prime seating with a scenic view from the porch of one of the ranch's houses. Also this past weekend there was Bingo night at the community center to fundraise for the children's soccer team. It was a big event and locals of all ages got dressed up to come play. I personally was horrible at it because I could hardly understand the numbers being called out in spanish with a farmer accent.

DSCN8883.jpgDSCN8888.jpgDSCN8894.jpgbingo night

bingo night

Bingo!

Bingo!

Gringas

Gringas

The local people are really friendly and seem to cope quite well with the constant barage of gringos who pass through the Ranch year round. Right now one of the semi-perminent residents of the ranch is heading up the construction of a community library with a completely sustainable design; I really hope to get involved with that at some point. Usually many of the gringos participate in the sunday soccer games.

Last weekend on our day off a few of us took the short hike to the nearby waterfall/swimming hole. It is absolutely beautiful and perfect for some much needed relaxation after a long week of work. A local guy convinced me to climb up the waterfall and jump off into the water below, it was terrifying and fun at the same time :)

DSCN8874.jpgDSCN8870.jpglarge_DSCN8907.jpg

Posted by HanaRose 14:46 Comments (2)

Communal Living

overcast 80 °F

Wow, it has only been just over a week here and already I feel like I have been here for a month. Not because the time goes on forever and I am constantly bored but rather the opposite; its because I have already learned so many new things in just one week and its hard to believe one could absorb so much in such a short amount of time.
Let me provide a short list of some things I learned: making sourdough bread, making bagels, making glasses from recycled bottles, making candles from pig fat and palm oil, making starfruit jam, making hibiscus jam, building a wall with 'daub' (a concrete-like mixture of sand, clay, manure, and straw), make homemade organic fertilizer called bokashi (a fermented mixture of soil, sawdust, charcoal, rice hulls, wheat bran, molasses, bacteria, and manure), cooking a meal for 30 people, making chocolate starting with the beans, and much more.

making chocolate truffles from handground coco beans

making chocolate truffles from handground coco beans

':)' title='' /> from starfruit harvested earlier that morning

Starfruit Jam <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15'

making glasses from recycled bottles

making glasses from recycled bottles

candle made with pig fat and palm oil in a homemade glass

candle made with pig fat and palm oil in a homemade glass

I have gotten signed up for being co-managers of a reforestation nursery project. I will be working side by side with one of my fellow interns, Celine, to raise trees from hand collected seeds and then organize planting projects in nearby disturbed areas of the rainforest. I think it will be a great thing to dedicate a large portion of my time to.
Another thing I am particularly interested in is natural building, which will mostly involve using daub, wattle & daub, bamboo, and timber-frame construction. Right now we are working on a new composting toilet structure. Eventually we will be breaking ground on a community library. My ultimate goal is to be able to leave here after these next 3 months knowing how to build my own house with renewable materials and a sustainable design.

Before coming here I didn't realize just how much of a communal living experience it would be. Everyone splits cooking and cleaning jobs and everyone is constantly helping each other with daily tasks. We also live in "houses" (really more like tree-forts) that have very minimal privacy as they are open air and mostly made of bamboo. It think this will be a good lesson for me to push myself to be more umm well cooperative I guess. I think it will definitely be good for me since I have been called fiercely independent at times.

flowers

flowers

A cool fungus on our front step

A cool fungus on our front step

Bandito being shy

Bandito being shy

the daub mural at the entrance to the Hankey House

the daub mural at the entrance to the Hankey House

My living space at the Hankey House

My living space at the Hankey House

With very limited and intermittent internet access I will try to keep this up to date and add pictures but it is very difficult, so be patient. If there is anything you want me to write more about then leave a comment or suggestion. I hope you all enjoy following along.

Pura Vida
Hana

Posted by HanaRose 14:41 Comments (5)

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