Getting to know moncion

These last few days in Moncion are all about getting to know a small town and the people who live here. If anyone speaks more that one word of English we sure don't know about it and if I didn't speak any Spanish it would be really unmanageable.

The town is famous for a dry, chalky, salty "bread" made from the root of the casabe. This potato like vegetable is toxic, unless you know how to rinse the poisons out and make the flour. The finished flour has the consistency of baby powder, and the resulting bread tastes like homemade play doh.

We visited the backyard casabe production business of Julia's sister. The process for making the flour is labor intensive requiring a lot of grinding, sifting, and soaking in salty water.

Jack and Maya got to play with the dough and practice making the product. They watched the father and son for a few minutes and took a turn themselves. I'm pretty sure these people have never taught tourists about their family livelihood. And for jack and Maya to imagine that this is what these folks do for a living and that it is probably what their children will do and their children...

The finished products are placed on trays and set on a giant wood fired flat topped cement stove.

You see a lot of these roadside casabe bread stands and when you do you know there will be a family operation out back.

On the same day we visited another family factory that made the bread in a different shape and size. This was a bigger operation with several employees.

The smoke from the massive cinder block ovens is ventilated by this smokestack made from metal drums that have been welded together. I am pretty sure the folks here aren't used to having tourists stop by. I can't imagine what he was thinking when this american family came walking down towards his place. In fact tourists are such a rarity here that people stop and stare at us and do double takes.

Julia's brother drove us around to visit these two factories and to take in the view of the lake created by the massive hydroelectricity dam. The lake was absolutely silent and unpopulated. This struck me because I have never seen a lake devoid of human recreation. When I say there was nothing on or around this lake i really mean nothing. Can you imagine a place like this without jet skis, speedboats, and lake cabins?

A quiet afternoon on the observation deck. We were the only people there.

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