Rockin’ the machete
The heavens finally decided to stop raining, so for the next couple of days we did a lot of manual labor. We went into the swamp for the first time and began to clear a path with machetes. I forgot to wear my gloves, so angry blisters sprung up on my hands to join the ones I already had on my feet and legs. For once, we were working out in the hot sun rather than beneath the canopy, so we dripped with sweat, attracting every sort of swamp insect within a mile radius. The swamp floor was like a trampoline with the occasional hole that would swallow your entire leg.
Despite being drenched with perspiration and swamp water, it felt good to finally be doing something. And it felt good to be using a machete too. I treasured that thing that was part tool, part weapon, and found myself wishing it was acceptable to carry one around back home.
We also picked up the task of digging a moat for fish around the bio garden. Let me tell you, these fish better like this moat, because digging that hole is the single most exhausting thing we did. At least Hanako brought her speakers to the MLC, so we had music in the background as we worked.
Tilman did the usual of giving us some tangerines and splitting (can’t blame him really), but at some point Dionicio and Nelson who we had nicknamed “Nelly” took pity on us and came to help out. It turns out that both men are digging machines and in the time it took us to throw out two shovelfuls, they had cleared an entire patch of dirt. Respect.
Anyway, after two days in the heat, I began to see the need for this whole wet season. Back home I resented rainy days, but in the rainforest I felt gratitude at the sight of approaching storm clouds because they signified a cleansing of all the wounds, dirt, and sweat of the forest. For the time being, we took reprieve in cold showers and in the waterfall. We wouldn’t have to wait long before the rain came back in full force.