Sunday, December 18, 2011

Harvesting With Liberata

Harvesting with Liberata

by Mike Parelskin, Harvesting and Food Preservation Coordinator

The month of November lived up to its reputation; we harvested pumpkins like crazy. With over 5 truckloads of pumpkins harvested from Buckelew Farm, we could practically swim in the squash surrounding the Iskashitaa office:


I would like to extend thanks to those who helped with these harvests.

On the last trip to Buckelew Farm, before the frost and the cows got to the fields of leftover pumpkins, Liberata joined me for a harvest. With her fantastic smile and our severe language barrier we headed out in the Fruit Truck towards Three Points attempting to make exchanges about ourselves, where we were from, and what we would be doing for the day. These conversations continued as we arrived at the farm. As we harvested the hefty pumpkins our communications fluctuated between verbal and what I now like to call the universal language: charades. As we acted and made grunting noises followed by a single word, we both were able to learn new words in each other's language, Liberata's being Swahili.

On the adjacent field to ours, a farmer turned on a bird cannon. For those who don't know, a bird cannon is a machine, which runs on propane, and is used to make a very loud bang to keep birds from eating a crop. Well, this constant noise of explosion launched Liberata into a charade I didn't really see coming. As one can imagine, sounds of this nature meant horrific things when they were heard in her home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Liberata formed an air machine gun in her arms and began to fire away. As she fired away her new charade made air-machine-gun, I made a bird with my hands. My bird began to nibble at one of the pumpkins. Liberata fired her air-machine-gun and my bird immediately flew away. 'Ahhhhhhhh' she gasped as the big smile returned and once again stretched across her face. We had done it. We had both won this game of charades. She understood there was no danger to the loud blast of the bird cannon, and I was able to peek into her past as well as be glad the she was here, safely harvesting pumpkins with Iskashitaa.

If you would like to join us for a harvest and a game of charades, contact Mike.

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