Experiencing the Migrant Work of Turmeric Harvest



noun: migrant worker

a worker who moves from place to place to do seasonal work.

synonyms: immigrant, emigrant;


Turmeric or tumeric (Curcuma longa) /ˈtərmərɪk/ or /ˈtjuːmərɪk/ or /ˈtuːmərɪk/[2] is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae.[3] It is native to southern Asia, requiring temperatures between 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive.[4] Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season.


Kendra Dawn/

proper noun

a gal who’s hobby as a van driver gets her in on the most unusual experiences

adjectives:  adventure, blessed

I guess the best place to start is the beginning- once upon a time, I received a phone call that made me scratch my head a little. “Would you be interested in taking us to Florida in January for turmeric harvest?” She had me as soon as she said “Florida”, but what on earth is turmeric and how is it harvested?

Fast forward 2 months, and our jovial band of 5 ladies were southern Florida bound. We made the 915 mile trek without incident and were transported back to our childhood thanks to an audio series of Pollyanna- so many reasons to be glad. 🙂

Our destination was White Rabbit Organic Farm, where our base was the second floor of this big barn- which was very comfortable living quarters. (pictured is the nearest neighbor- a goat that lived downstairs)


We had the free reign of the house, except that they left an entertainment committee in charge of our gang… Bijou (French for jewel) was a 23-year-old cockatoo that stole the show and possible damaged a bit of hearing… She was a very endearing bird that seemed determined to help me get over my fear of fowl. After the week was up, we had made some progress, but there were no good-bye hugs, to state it mildly.


And we were 10 miles from the Atlantic. No more words needed.


But anyhow, all the preliminaries aside- we were summoned to harvest. There is a lot of info on the benifit of turmeric right now, maybe you’ve noticed, it’s kind the bandwagon thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are health benefits, but I’m a bit skeptical that it eliminates all arthritis, Alzheimer, AND cancer… But that’s great if it does.

Our product was heading to a whole foods market, where I understand it’s popular as a juice…

So Step One: The plant grows to be about 3 feet tall, and was dying down when the farmer’s daughter came through on their 1655 Oliver and dug the plant- we were interested in the root.



Step Two: The plant was then placed on the washing table, where the tops were cut off and the roots received their first bath. (pic of the harvest crew)


The product is then wheelbarrowed in to the next station…


Step Three is mainly where I was joined in the efforts… Here we separated the original bulb (the mother) from the new growth, trimmed the roots off and sorted the fingers for shipping.


Here is where we strengthened friendships and fought the common cold that threatened to kill a number of our group. We also did an intense nature study:


We solved a few world issues, and even prevented a murder. We discovered that a lizard can lose multiple parts of his tail. Wilda rescued the brown one from the jaws of death of the green-eyed monster. He thanked her by kicking off a part of his tail, beating a hasty retreat. The next day, she met him again, and recognized him by his stub tail… And was amazed when he kicked off the second section of his tail and left it writhing in the dust as he scurried for greener pastures…


We basked in the glorious southern Florida sun and really it was the perfect temp, even if at one point I thought for sure I saw a mirage- a Dr Pepper with my name on it. The next day, my mirage came true 🙂 There it stood on the final washing table (Step Four) in all it’s beauty- I had to blink several times to make sure I was seeing correctly. (I blame the cold for a semi foggy brain)


Step Five: the finished product- drying before being boxed for market. In the 4.5 days we worked we had approximately 1500 lbs ready to be shipped.

The only rain cloud on our project was that we didn’t finish the job as we’d hoped, but the boss’s wife assured us that in India, it takes 100 workers to harvest an acre/day. Small wonder our group didn’t suceed in the alloted time.


As the sun set, and I trudged for the house in my rubber boots, occasionally I found myself lost in an imaginary world of a migrant worker- depending on the harvest in various communities and the generosity of the farmer to exist.


It’s not too hard for me to relate- the love of the land, the addiction of the fresh air and sunshine: and the challenge of producing another crop.  No, these are not foreign to me at all…

And then, we loaded up in our stationwagon  van, and waved cheerfully out the window, as we headed on for the next adventure…

My God who promises rain and sunshine, seed-time and harvest, is a Good God!



Bonus Pic:

The icing on the cake was a morning kayak tour through the Indian River Lagoon, where our very knowledgeable tour guide had us paddling right through the middle of a dolphin feeding grounds which we watched amazed… And I got practically splashed by a little shark. And she had us lick the leaves of the mangrove tree. These hearty plants have their own salt filtering system which sends the salt onto the leaves, where it dries in the sunshine, and falls from the plant. God’s World is Wonderful.




12 pics from Christmas


For the 12 pics from Christmas, Nicaragua showed to me:



12 Old Colonial Churches (This is Central… I actually didn’t see all 12, but I love seeing the beautiful churches strategically placed throughout the city)


11 Pelicans Fishing I love watching the flocks of pelicans flying up the coast in a line- skimming along each wave- rising when the wind current changes- Fascinating


bonus pic: the sunset over the Pacific was breathtaking


10 Cottons Snowballs Deborah found cotton snowballs in the supply closet and we had quite a few rounds of battle during my visit. Here the troops (neighborhood children) are advancing fearlessly.


9 Hunted Geckos Every night Deb picks up her beloved cat Moron, and proceeds through the house. Both of them craning their necks to the ceiling hunting Geckos. They really have put a hurting on the population too..


8 Launched Bottle Rockets I think this number was closer to 8,000…. The city exploded day and night with fire crackers. And, thanks to my little sis who thought it was necessary to set off a few herself- in the house while I was cooking- Pretty sure I lost some hearing. I’m sorry, were you saying something?


7 Stands of Fresh Produce I love the action and the colors of the market place- so much takes place here and it’s so different than what I’m used to… I do not love the smell…


bonus pic: the meat part of the market is hard for me to deal with. Guess how far it’s possible to walk without breathing?


6 Exploding El Veijo We sent 2016 out with a bang again… This year was almost more traumatic because we just missed witnessing a motorcycle wreck, and the ambulance came rushing through the crowd, and a bunch of drunks set off their dummy at 11:53 and THEN we discovered that our truck was parked between 2 firecracker strips- a hissing snake of fireworks that shot explosives back and forth and cinders flew through the air and we smelled like a firework factory. More hearing loss for KH. (Last year’s version of this tradition can be read here : Out with the Old )


5 Excited Children We went visiting through one of the neighborhoods, and I loved watching Deborah interact with the children from Children’s Church. When the little guy in the orange was younger, he dipped his hand in hot oil, and wiped it off quickly on his shirt>>>which melted into his skin… He has a pretty decent scar that he was sure to call to our attention.


4 on a bicycle This pic needs no explanation


3 Smoking Volcanoes I was reading Ps 104 in my devotions while I was there. I think the Psalmist had Nica in mind:

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.


bonus pic: this crater lake wasn’t smoking… but a refreshing place to swim! Not sure what the bull was doing here, but I wonder if he was responsible for pulling the cart that was left up at the top of the crater


2 Iced Mocha Frappes (and one mint drink) I loved spending time with these ladies. Sadie moved in in October and her sense of humor added a sparkle to everyday.


And 1 Loro Staring at Me Can you tell that I don’t trust that pointy beak? 


Deborah, Thanks so much for sharing another incredible adventure! May God continue to give you grace for the day!

Love you,




The Ways of Waslala

Waslala has held a spot on my bucket list for a long time. I tried to visit during 2011 when I was on SMBI’s WATER program, but that didn’t work out. And then after Deb moved here-I knew it was closer to happening-but the drive was long and challenging and her vacation days were few and rapidly spent on connecting with people in the States…I honestly wasn’t sure it was ever going to become reality.

You know those moments when God opens a random door and completely surprises you? This week I stood in one of those doorways and literally pinched myself. One of the girls (named Darling) from Waslala had been helping the church here in Leon and she needed a ride home, so the board graciously allowed us to accompany her and worship with the church of Waslala during their Church institute. (Bless you, OBMM board) I can’t believe this opportunity presented itself right in the middle of my stay!

We were gone for 5 days and packed as many experiences into that time as possible.

We met Mr Sloth on our way as he was inching along the road. He had such a humorous deliberate gait… He wasn’t too sure about the truckload of lady tourist all raving over him. They tell me that he’s more of a rare breed because he has 3 toes instead of 2.

We stayed at an office on Pablo Yoder’s property. Their place was incredible. Someone spends a lot of time tending the out of doors. And not to mention the monkey on its own island and an alligator that lives in the moat.

We went over the river and through the woods to the CAM clinic. They weren’t open this week, but we still got the full tour. They see between 60-120 patients in a day’s time and are able offer the medicines at reasonable rates, thanks to their generous donors.

Beth caught an exotic bird. This wide eyed creature is called a “Red-capped Manikin” and is only found in higher elevations… not sure what brought him down to see us, but he only last for 2 days before he couldn’t stand the heat and melted died. Not sure what temps he was used to because we found the 60 degrees chilly. Ah well, may he Rest In Peace.

Another highlight was heading out early one morning to Darling’s brothers farm and helping him milk cows. Six year old Kenny and his hilarious dog Ranger led us down the trail across the creek and over to where the cattle waited. The birds sang and the vegetation was so lush and green and water gushed along. It truly sounded like the “rainforest” option on that old alarm clock I used to own.

They tie the cow’s back legs together with a rope and tie her calf to her front legs to encourage her to let down her milk, and then milk away-making sure to leave a little for the calf at the end of milking. Deb and I are happy to report, we have not lost our milking ability-but admittedly our wrist strength gave out more rapidly than those who do the task daily 🙂

Upon return to the house, the Mrs had whipped up fresh tortillas ( so fresh she’d ground the corn that morning) rice, and frijoles. AND Cafe con Leche (coffee with milk we’d just harvested). What a feast! Nothing can imitate that open fire flavor.

But I think the most outstanding part of our experience wasn’t possible to photograph. Every day at 1:45 we marched across another river and through the town crossroads. (There was always some sort of animal excitement going on here, whether it was a loose cow, or 2 guys walking along with their pigs on a leash) We continued up the dirt road to where about 60 brothers and sisters in Christ gathered together to lift their voices in song. Such jubilant singing is hard to describe-but it is the sound of the redeemed praising the Redeemer.

We were given the privilege of hearing the brief version of some of their stories-testimonies that tug at your heartstrings

  •  The man who was running from the law and the Lord spoke to him through the death-and miraculous healing-of his oldest child; the pardoning of his crime and now he’s leading a mission church-fervently dedicated to his Saviour.
  • The young girl who’s dad (although once a member himself) doesn’t bless her church attendance and will likely beat her if he discovers where she’s been.
  • The child who was born prematurely but survived after they prayed that God would raise him up a preacher  and now even though he’s to young to learn to read-he carries his Bible storybook around (because the pictures remind him of which stories to tell) and preaches Christ to those who listen…
  • And so much more


The truth is we all have a story. And while mine might not be the type of miraclous “remind me to tell you her story after church” type- it is still a story of equally noteworthy reminders of God’s love, grace and forgiveness.

I’m extra thankful for this tonight.

Happy New Year, y’all!


P.S how many bananas do you suppose $1.20 ( C$35) will buy you in this land flowing of milk and bananas? Well honestly I got a little confused counting them on the hanger we purchased-but I’m pretty sure we came home with at least 105 bananas ☺️ just realizing how many dishes using bananas we need to dream up