Simple Life in the Caribbean Rain

At Compañeros Cacao Farm in San Clemente, I am once again reminded of the simple pleasures in life.  Rain pelting a tin roof has to be among my top ten.  There's a strange calming effect emitted by the continual white noise that fills every space in the house.  As I sink deeper into bed and closer toward sleep, I feel as though I've become one with the ebb and flow of the clouds' tears.  The rain continues to sing its lullaby throughout the night as it varies intensity; creating soothing tones and rhythmic pitch changes. What a strange feeling it was to be lulled to sleep by the night's rain only to be jolted awake at 4AM by its voracious screams as mother nature opened her skies to let it pour down on our roof all at once.  The sound was deafening, yet oddly calming at the same time.  

The house is hand-built by it's owner and just a few hired helpers.  Cold cement walls, cement kitchen counters and cement showers comprise the lower level, which is starkly contrasted by an upper level made almost entirely of wood.  The house has no back wall and I hope it stays that way.  The open deck and lack of banisters on the second floor are reminiscent of a giant jungle treehouse.  The treehouse deck is well accented with a couple of hammocks and a giant Bob Marley flag bearing the famous mantra... ONE LOVE.

Compañeros Cacao Farm sits on a rural dirt road.  The neighbors are friendly and seemingly unaware of the vast amounts of tourism and gringos just an hour's drive to the south.  They don't want or need much.  I love to walk past their rickety houses and think about what it must be like to live in such a place.  Many of them have dirt floors, crooked walls, and rusty tin roofs.  It's quite common to see chickens wandering around yards, presumably for the purpose of egg-laying or maybe a future dinner for the family.  Milk and cheese come by delivery from the "Lechero" (or milk man) in his jeep and produce comes by delivery from the vegetable man- he shouts vegetable names and prices through what sounds like a bull horn as he drives down the road, letting residents know he's coming.  He reminds me of an Ice Cream Man for grown-ups.  Downtown San Clemente basically consists of a Pulperia (small market) and bar.  On any given occasion, smiling locals can be found leaning against either building chatting away.

Life here moves forward with fluidity and simplicity.  We wake up slowly, taking our time to read, have our coffee and breakfast and prepare for the day's work.  At this point in the year, work consists of things like painting walls, finishing floors and building tables.  Some days work means going to the beach to gather "treasures" like usable driftwood for furniture, washed-up singular flip flops to be repurposed as a floor mat, and various other items that may be used in or around the house and farm.  When we're not helping around the house, we spend our time building a website for the farm, our contribution in exchange for a place to stay.

As I sit here writing in my hammock, I'm able to stare out to my left into the Caribbean Jungle.  It's incredibly dense with a great variety of tropical trees and plants, and if one stares long enough, all manner of jungle animals will make themselves known with brief glimmers from their reflective eyes.  Meisha is in the bedroom, relaxing and curled up with a good book.  To my right, Clay (the owner of the house) and his sister Jessie sit on the wood floor in a peaceful game of chess,  sipping tea as we all wind down our day.  

Yes, today's life can be this simple.  And tomorrow... tomorrow we make chocolate.


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