A few days shy of Christmas 2014, we reached our goal; a sum of funds that would make it possible to spread holiday cheer throughout Escamequita and it’s neighboring communities. The ‘christmas buckets’ are an annual project organized by Rancho Chilamate, but made feasible by the contributions of guests and riders past, who found this little piece of the world to be special enough to make a part of their holiday season. With gratitude, we are delighted to report that the community buckets, were once again, a success. So if you’re just tuning in to the happenings at Chilamate, here’s a recap of what went down Christmas week in our neck of the Tropics.
With 150 buckets to put together (the number grows every year), and all your generous contributions gathered, Cowgirl Blue set out to the local distributor in San Juan to purchase everything from soup stock and cooking oil to blankets and machetes. There was a slight problem as the local pulperia (corner store) used in past years had changed owners, and didn’t have what we needed in stock. Quick in her boots as she is, Cowgirl Blue called in reinforcements and detoured up to Rivas with Surfer girl Noelani to get the goods. A five-hour Rivas mission with an epic cocktail interlude, cash counting in backrooms, and some pretty classic characters ended with two truckloads of supplies ready to get bucketed. Shout out to neighbor Byran, who backed us up with an extra pick up, and special thanks to the tire gods for keeping our wheels from popping under the weight of it all!
Fast-forward two days, to Christmas dinner at the Ranch amongst friends and neighbors. The food was plenty, the wine was pouring, and the group was merry…. but the buckets were empty. We were about 15 people, who quickly turned into elves before dessert was served. Each person was assigned an item and responsible for filling all 150 buckets with it. The music got turned up, and the bucket packing party commenced with the occasional dance interlude in classic Ranch form. Toilet paper, coffee, sugar, cookies, salt, spaghetti, dish soap, laundry soap, and a number of other goods made up each 5 gallon bucket, and in the end they were so stuffed Cesar and Ito had to help us hammer the lids on!
Each step of the project was a community labor of love, including the delivery, the following Saturday. Our neighbors lent us a trailer, Bryan showed up again with his truck, and some of the Rancho staff even came in on their day off to make sure we had enough hands. We began with the furthest community, ‘La Libertad’, which is nestled upon the ridge high above the Valley. It’s the kind of place where the view literally does take your breath away.
This is the first year La Libertad has been accessible by truck, and even so, there were some spots you’d be better off taking by foot or horseback, as the residents do daily. Up on the ridge we traded buckets for soccer players, since most of the boys were headed down to the field in Escamequita for the weekly soccer match.
From there we completed the rounds, stopping at the community ‘Las Parcellas’ on the way and ending with the families who wave to us daily on our riding route. Once the last bucket had been delivered and the final machete handed off, Christmas finally felt complete. Needless to say, the community members in the area were grateful for the extra Christmas cheer, and the crew at Chilamate was once again humbled by the worldwide family that has organically formed throughout the few years that we have been riding. Sure enough, 2015 was right around the corner, full of all sorts of adventure and excitement. With gratitude, we wish all our riders, friends, family and community members near and far a Happy New Year and the best of Spring tidings. Stay tuned for more adventures from your favorite Ranch somewhere in the South of Nicaragua!
– The Crew