Greetings from the Daviess County Extension Office!

Our team is steadily matriculating back to Indiana. Ed and I arrived on Saturday evening at about 7:00 pm. I’ve got to admit, it was quite a shock. When we left Dallas on our connecting flight, it was 80 F with clear skies and warm sunshine. Two hours later, it was 32 F and cloudy.

My wife and kids met me at the airport. The feeling I got when I saw them for the first time in two weeks told me that the weather really didn’t matter. What mattered was that the job had been done and I was home!

There have been a few surprises that have accompanied the homecoming. I guess I didn’t realize how immersed we were into the culture. Once we left the airport, we went out to eat. Just prior to ordering, I caught myself translating my order into Spanish so I could tell the waitress what I wanted! Guess I won’t need to do that anymore. I’m also trying to adjust back to regular Midwestern Cuisine. Anyone know a good place to find mora, guayanaba, or kas?

I anticipate that things will settle back into a routine, as much as they ever do, in the next few days. Things are starting to get busy outside in this part of the state. So far, I have three farm visits lined up for tomorrow and one for this afternoon.

As we matriculate back to Indiana, and with our part of the job completed, it is time to start the process of passing the torch to the next group. I am anxious to see how their experiences will compare to ours and look forward to seeing them advance the work that has been initiated.

In the last few days, I’ve come to think of this project in terms of crop production. Years prior to our arrival, Purdue had the incredible foresight to establish a presence in Central America. As the personification of that presence, Tamara Benjamin had prepared among the APOT growers a firm seedbed. Our job was to plant the seeds of information and ideas into those well-prepared seed beds. As those seeds germinate, the results will be tended, watered, fertilized, and encouraged to grow by subsequent groups. If our efforts stay on track, all parties involved should reap a bountiful harvest.

It should come as no surprise that these projects don’t happen in a vacuum. Speaking for myself, the last two weeks would not have been possible without the backing of several people. First and foremost is my family, whose support and willingness to give me up for two weeks made the whole thing possible. Also, a big thanks goes out to my Area III co-workers who filled in and helped to answer client questions in my absence. Tamara Benjimen at CATIE and Jim Murren on campus did an absolutely amazing job of putting this project together and keeping us on track. I cannot recall ever having traveled with better company than Ed and J.W. The fact that they put up with me for two weeks speaks to the caliber of their character.

¡Hasta Luego!