Lost in Translation-The First Work Day

Written 5 September 2016

Monday was our first full day in Ecuador, it was also our first day of “work”.  We went to the fields at 7:30 am with Inez.  Inez is a woman who lives in Pacto, and works on Mateo’s farm; she does not speak English. Aimee and I decided we would not speak any English during working hours, 7:30 – 12:30. In otherwords, Aimee would not be providing real time translation.  Keep that in mind as you read through some of these posts.  If they are mostly written by Leontiy, like this post, and mention anything that deals with Inez, or anything at all, chances are they contain a depiction of events or statements at a 25% accuracy.

Anyways, Inez said we would be “pruning” Cocao plants for the rest of the work week. Many of the branches could be pruned by sliding your hand down the main branch, ripping off the smaller branches and leaves.  The others had to be cut.

After what seemed like hours of work, Aimee and I, in Spanish, convinced each other it must have been well past noon.  We based this conviction on the location of the sun, as well as the heat, thirst, and hunger.  After talking to Inez, Aimee told me it was only “diez y media”…gringos.

It was hot, and there were bugs everywhere, but the landscape was stunning. img_0143Ecuador has one of the most diverse and dense biota in the world. The diversity was on full display the first morning.  We saw bugs of all sorts, sizes, and colors: brown and orange tarantula looking things, snakes, camouflaged praying mantes, bees, white slugs, and various other red, yellow, and blue insects.

Neither of us are huge fans of bugs, to say the least.  However, Inez didn’t seem to mind that those things were all over her, so what the hell.  We later asked her what some of these bugs were called.  She said it didn’t matter, especially because none of them were poisonous.  She did mention to stay away from trees with some large white things on them.  Maybe she said “slugs”, but she definitely said that they could jump on you and suck your face off.

Honestly, I had zero idea as to the meaning of most of her words, but if I saw anything white, I stayed away. There are probably entire cultures that could have benefited from similar advice.




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