This week has been filled with introductions, orientations, and new experiences. After meeting the TechnoServe staff in Tingo María, we went on our first
farm visits, which included several cacao farms within an hour’s drive of Tingo María. The farms are beautiful: dense vegetation scattered with cacao and
banana trees, sprinkled with water from the humidity in the air and the rain that falls frequently.
The first farm visit was a trip to see Rider, who grows cacao on a beautiful farm next to the Huallaga River. He is an extremely nice, hard-working
gentleman who showed us around his farm so TechnoServe could help identify agricultural practices (such as pruning or fertilizing) that would help increase
Rider’s yields. The TechnoServe staff pointed out that a little more pruning would allow for more sunlight and stress on the plant, which would help
increase the trees’ cacao production.
The following day, we woke up at 5:30 on a rainy morning and drove over an hour away to visit a few more farms and analyze some of the insecticide trials
TechnoServe had been conducting. As we drove closer to the farms, our car pulled up to the bank of a large river. Eric and I looked at each other with
confused looks, wondering how we were going to cross. We then realized that the wooden boat that we had seen at the other side of the river was used not
just to transport bananas, but cars. It was one of the most beautiful ferries I had ever taken. Fifteen minutes later, we arrived to the first of the cacao
farms that day, in which TechnoServe analyzed the effects insecticides were having on the trees.
After a full week of work, we decided to explore what the Tingo María area had to offer. One of our coworkers and friends at TechnoServe, Angela, took us
to a couple of beautiful waterfalls and caves, where we relaxed and enjoyed.