Las Terrazas is described as an ambitious 1950s project to develop a self-sustaining eco-conscious community, at the time when Al Gore was still hitting the books at Harvard, and long before any meaningful awakening of environmental consciousness in the United States or Europe. Organized around coffee and Tabaco plantations, Las Terrazas’ highlight was a walk along the river bank and a swim in river cascades and natural mineral water pools.
It turns out that these cascades were rich with guadua bamboo growing alongside its banks. We are staying true to our “no business” commitment, and of course the political context makes a Cuban bamboo enterprise not currently feasible, but the availability of guadua so close to the Haiti reconstruction market plants a seed for long term possibilities.
Our agenda is full for the next 5 years at least as we stay committed to Nicaragua as our launch market, Central America and Caribbean (Haiti, Panama…) as our “domestic market” and Brazil as our longer term target opportunity to scale our business.
Before moving on to our discovery of the island of Cuba, we stop along the way at a local farmer’s house for lunch. Driving by, we see a table and chairs and a small sign flags a casa particulares and home cooked meal. The offering – pork stew (and salad, black beans and fresh orange juice for Peta). As it happens, as we sit down under the shaded tree, we hear loud squealing and before long, an ox-driven platform (no wheels, closer to a rustic wooden snow sled), parks in front of the house and a large adult pig, “hog tied” is delivered… Peta turns white. The juxtaposition of pork stew lunch and pig delivery is rather off-putting and Peta explicitly asks our host if they could postpone the slaughtering of the pig until after we are gone. They look dismayed and quizzical about the concept of “vegetarianism” and assure us that said pig will not meet his fate today.