Chirp . . . tweet . . . chirp . . . tweet.  Okay, I’m awake, mostly.

 So began our first day of the adventure.  After a long travel day, all of us slept very well our first night in Turrialba.  The Costa Ricans do many things well.  Morning is one of them.  With the windows open, I awoke to a temperature in the neighborhood of 60-65 degrees, a light breeze moving through the room, and birds chirping outside.  Not a bad way to start the week!  From there, I progressed outside to find clear skies and warm sunshine.

Thus far, this week has been filled with adventures.  Going into Turrialba and exploring, visiting local farms, getting to know some of the APOT farmers, presenting a workshop, and working with the farmers market have consumed our time this week.  A couple of us also had an adventure spotlighting caymans.  More about that later, as for now, let’s just say that spotlighting whitetails will never again be anything more than dull and lightly amusing.

 As many know, I had the good fortune to be raised on a watermelon farm in Southwestern Indiana.  Due to the nature of the business, I was afforded many opportunities from a young age to interact with people of different backgrounds and ethnicities.

 So what does this have to do with Costa Rica?  Well, from a very early age, my parents were very careful to teach me a very important concept; folks is folks.  Clearly stated, regardless of skin color, nationality, ethnicity, or position, people are people.  I have been reminded of the lessons of my childhood all this week.  Our work here has reinforced for me the idea that folks are the same pretty much where ever you find them.  Especially farm folk!

 Many of the stories we have heard from small indigenous farmers this week could be easily transplanted to the Midwest or anywhere else in the world.  For me, one of the really positive things coming out of this change in duty station is the reminder that Mom and Dad were right.  Folks is folks, in spite of the fact that there are differences in languages, locations, climates, and crops.  The similarities that we share as farm folk infinitely outnumber our differences.

More and more, I am coming to realize that if our similarities outnumber our differences, and we face a similar set of problems in our respective locations, then it makes perfect sense that we should take advantage of every opportunity to exchange information and work together to solve common problems.  This is the real value of participation in agriculture on an international scale.  While I would hope that we are able to assist the APOT farmers in solving their problems, I also know that I will be returning to Daviess County in a week or so armed with a plethora of new ideas that can immediately be put to use in helping my clientele.  It seems that every time I work outside the country, I always return with more information than I left with.  From all indications, it appears that this time will be no different!