Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 23

On the day we arrived, as we were going through the Mama Roja book, Marcelo mentioned ‘La Dia Feminina,’ an Argentine custom that is respected in the culture here. On the first day of a woman’s cycle, she takes the day off from doing chores and work. It’s said that during this time her energy is very powerful, and it’s important for a woman to do this for herself. Today is my day, and I watched this morning as Kimberly taught us all how to make an insect repellent salve out of the oils we heat-infused last week.
While the salve was warming we also started the process of making ricotta cheese.

I find it fascinating how easy it is to just do something (like make sour cream or cheese) here in the jungle. There are no rules, so we say to ourselves “why not?” At home, cream that soured would probably be thrown out for being bad. But really, it IS sour cream, is it not? Why not eat it? Here we buy raw milk. If it is not made into yogurt in the first day (without refrigeration), it will curdle. At home we would throw it away. Here, we make the curds into cheese and save the whey for soups, bread, grain, etc.

So, we poured our milk into a pot and set it aside to finish curdling until tomorrow. Once it does that, we will strain out the whey and make the cheese into queso cremoso. Kimberly said it’s very easy to do, and with it we’re going to bake pizza- the clay oven’s first job when we fire it up for the first time.
Tomorrow evening we are going to have a party in celebration of Keren and her time here with us. Friday as we pack our backpacks for our trip to Iguazu this weekend, Keren will be packing all of her belongings. She’ll leave us in Iguazu, and the rest of us will come back here to meet the 4 or 5 new interns that will be joining us.
Change is coming. It always makes me a little nervous, and still it’s one of the things that makes life exciting too. I wonder what it will feel like a week from today…

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