Pardon my neologism, but after attending some meetings organized by Honduran grassroots groups, I had to write about the “grassmeetings”. The name already gives you some clue of what I will talk about.

Our second field trip was to Florida, La Paz. As soon as we get there we headed to a meeting in a coffee farm. However, my understanding of what a meeting means was definitely limited. I participated in many meetings throughout my studies and professional experiences, but none was like the ones in La Paz. I am used to meetings in an office or meeting room, where everyone has at least a chair and a place to comfortably write their notes. If you are talking about a specific issue or place there will probably be a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation with pictures about it. That was not the case of the meetings that I attended in Florida.

After waiting everyone to arrive, we went to a micro-watershed. On the way, we passed through a lovely garden and a small lake with tilapia. Most of the people joining the meeting started to look for a rock to sit on in order to avoid the wet grass. So I decided to do the same. When I  found a rock to sit on, I realized how difficult was to balance myself on the small rock, as the big ones were already taken, and at the same time hold my bag while writing my notes. Like most Sagittarius, I am clumsy, so it was definitely a hard task for me. I was proud of myself for not letting anything fall, but what I didn’t know is that attending a “grassmeeting” is similar to practicing a radical sport, the adrenaline tends to increase.

And so it came the moment when they said “ok, so now let’s get ourselves acquainted with the situation of the coffee cultivation”. But make no mistake, it was not like a nice walk around the farm. On the contrary, it was the hardest hike I ever did. Coming from a flat region of Brazil, hiking was never a daily activity, nor monthly or yearly. IMG_4744The coffee farm was in a really steep hill and everyone started to follow the land owner, an old man who climbed the hill like it was just a walk in the park. Me, oh my, after almost slipping the first time, I decided I should be one of the last and hopefully could hear what people were discussing from far. It was a naïve thought as everyone continue to go higher and higher. I probably had a terrible face, when someone said that I needed to go all the way up, because they would go back from another path. Being helped by two guys and after almost falling a thousand times, I finally made it to the top. I didn’t have time to recover my breath and appreciate the view as the conversation had already started when I got there. Going down was easier and I was impressed that I hiked the hill. But I  was even more amazed by how everyone thought it was a normal thing to hike and sit in wet grass during a meeting.

The next day we were told we would attend another meeting, an important one as donors and mayors would be present. And again was a “grassmeeting” in a preserved area. This time I didn’t have to overcome my lack of balance issues, as there was no hiking involved. On the other hand, I had to learn how to take notes while bugs were “attacking” me, including the biggest ants I’ve ever seen. Another fun “grassmeeting”  experience. Attending formal and comfortable meetings will no longer be the same for me, the lack of adventure will probably make me miss the La Paz’ “grassmeetings”.


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