Influxes

It’s week 5 into our placement and I’ve learnt a number of things about this place. The most important is that as soon as you forget about bugs, that is when you will put your shorts on and you’ll feel that dreaded tickle of eight fat legs dancing on your body…that literally just happened to me before I started writing this. Oh and my very Buddhist views have gone out of the window, back in the U.K I used to demand all spiders to be removed, but alive. Now I batter them to death with my walking boot (which is now half solid cement due to construction) and grind them into my dirt floor. Moral of the story, always shake out your clothes and tuck in your mozzy net.

Anyway, onto the main topic of this blog…

With the environment being the main topic running through this 10 week placement in El Bram, I’m guessing you’re interested in knowing how much climate change is here. Knowing my fair share about Environmental Science and climate change, you get used to which aspects of the subject have been studied at length and which need more attention and research. It is important that all possible consequences and mitigation of climate change are researched, before they occur. This is a topic which I personally have not heard about and believe needs research.

 

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As soon as you enter the community, there is obviously an abundance of caterpillars, butterflies and moths (below). Swarms of the insects can be found around the streets of the village and the farms which are owned and worked on by the inhabitants. However, none of the volunteers know anything about how the infestations come into being; all people that were interviewed about this topic stated nothing is known about this and that it “definitely needs to be researched”.

 

During the interviews, people gave their opinions as to what they believe causes this. Billy believes that plagues are influenced by the climate and monoculture farming. Whereas Chloe thinks that the lack of humans around the area, and the use of pesticides are contributing factors. Pesticides definitely will influence the population of insects which are attracted to crops that are grown here: beans and corn.

Another factor to consider about this topic is whether plagues occur in certain regions or all over the globe. For the reason that we only get wifi here once a week (if we are lucky and not ill) people’s thoughts on the matter were recorded. All of which were logical explanations which may be true. However there has been a bit of debate about whether they can be found all over the globe or not, Billy stated that plagues occur in “loads of different places around the globe” because different climate influence different biodiversity. On the other hand Tomi alleged that it only occurs “where there are plants” because where there is an abundance of food for whichever creature, the animals will come.

Hassan also believes that plagues occur all over the globe, but for different reasons. In rural parts of Nicaragua he believes “pesticides causes influxes of certain insects, because surely some pesticides have different effects on different bugs”, whereas in U.K “plagues must occur because of the differences in weather” for example, flying ants in the summer.

According to the locals of El Bram, there is a different plague every year. In the past couple of years El Bram has been infested with grasshoppers and white flies. When the Christian was interviewed he did not have any idea as to why these influxes of certain insects occur, however he is aware of research into the plagues because pesticide companies promote research into them. He also believes that plagues are only found in certain regions, he explains that the city gets fumigated often due to the amount of people there, whereas rural parts not so much so they become infested.

Loads of different, but all relevant and intellectual points about this topic. However it is annoying not being able to Google the answer whenever I want, but then I would have nothing to write about.

 

Changes

The first week of cycle 16 has been spent settling in to our new life for the next 10 weeks. Adjusting to a new lifestyle is something most young people rarely experience, if at all. It is easy to go your whole life comfortably without introducing yourself to a new culture, and a new way of life. Before you have experienced this change you expect a difficult adjustment, and to miss how life was before. However in El Bramadero, Nicaragua this has not been the case. Ever since we stepped foot in our host community we felt welcomed from the start. Host families do their best to make sure you feel like you are part of the family, and they love you as if you were one of their own children. On our first full day of living in El Bramadero we were welcomed by the community in the local park, I have never witnessed celebrations with a piñata before but it is defiantly a memory that will stick in my mind, Nicaraguan children go crazy for it!

Something that is different in Nicaragua compared to the U.K (which is hard not to miss) is the sheer amount of animals wandering around the streets. You wake up in the early hours of the morning by cockerels – which have fast become a least favourite of mine – at usually around 3am. My host family has many animals aside from the chickens there are dogs (Rocky and Donkey), a cat (Mitsi) and a pig which has recently given birth to piglets. Also as an animal lover I was of course over-the-moon when I was told that there was a young puppy (Progressio) at the family’s house up the road, which is also another host family.  The difference in how Nicaraguan’s treat their animals is far different compared to the U.K, many of the animals are underweight, riddled with fleas and are not provided the appropriate nutrition for their species. This however does not stop Nicaraguans from loving their animals, and providing their pets with whatever scraps from food they have left; no food is wasted here.

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The topic of wastage is a good one in this instance. Nicaraguans waste nothing, they love to reuse whatever can be, which is why it is always a good idea to provide your host family with something which can also be used for something else (e.g a tin of biscuits as they will reuse the tin for storage). As previously mentioned, Nicas feed their pets and farm animals food leftovers and waste. I have now got into the routine of feeding my mango skin to a pig or horse, and my chicken bones to the dog or the cat.

Food wastage is a huge problem in the U.K, (Documentary gives a good insight into the scale) with people being so picky with food for themselves so that tonnes of food goes to waste before it even hits the shop floor, just because it isn’t up to aesthetic standards; where as in Nicaragua you literally just pull fruit off a tree and eat it, who cares what it looks like? We are told that there is a problem with the growing human population, why not just utilise all this food that is going to waste instead.

Therefore if there is anything that I have learnt from my first week in El Bramadero, it’s that we should all utilise everything for both economic and environmental reasons. Furthermore, even though we may judge countries less economically fortunate than ours for their environmental awareness, but each countries have their own positive and negative environmental management.

So what can you do from home to utilise products? I would recommend buying fruit and vegetables from farmers markets or your local fruit and veg’ shop, this way the products have not gone through the scrutiny which most chain supermarkets go through. If you have any food waste; why not start composting? Or better yet, feed it to your pet; as long as it isn’t poisonous for them of course!