Back at Kim's, we stuffed ourselves with homegrown mangoes, homemade toast (well, homemade bread), homemade chutney, home-fried plantains, and homemade, home-brewed cocoa tea. We felt ourselves well at home, as you can imagine. Mark, a current resident at Kim's place and serious fountain of idiosyncratic knowledge, regaled us with more local tips and bits. You know, stuff you don't find in the guidebooks. Kim is also great for that, and I'm soaking it all up. We wrapped up breakfast and decided to explore the bus system on the island by taking a quick jaunt over to the River Antoine rum distillery - I thought this would be a good start to their internship - and soon enough learned about how to ride the buses and, um, avoid the island rum. "Paint stripper for the mind," Mark calls it. The River Antoine distillery is actually a fascinating operation. Originally built in the 1600s, much of the metalwork is original (I think) and the spent sugarcane is piled all around the building, used for fuel, compost, and lunchbreaks. The fermentation is spontaneous - tastes like some bad homebrew - and occurs after a good boil to concentrate the sugars and flavors. Interesting process, brutal product.
When we returned from our afternoon energizer, Kim was back from a meeting and was working his magic in the kitchen, preparing dinner. He introduced himself with his usual open smile and kept cutting the tomatoes, never missing a beat. And we're thankful we weren't a distraction; that night we dined like bandits after a Whole Foods raid. Vegetarian chili, rice, crisp garden salad, and a mango crumble to put the lights out. The meal was nearly all harvested from his fields. 'Tis but the first night for us, but we won't go hungry, methinks.
So are the students acclimated? Ah, doesn't matter. We're heading into the bush tomorrow, anyway! Kim will show us his lands, give us a couple early-morning hours of work, and then send us off to Diamond. After all, tomorrow is buying day! Commerce! We'll be conducting our first surveys of farmers who bring their beans to the Diamond collection station. Wish us luck. It will be my first buying day and the students' first serious interactions with Grenadians! Sounds funny, but it's true.
|A farmer with "figs," bananas to the layperson|