A pig, a rooster and a trillion stars

One of the many joys of field work is sleeping under the stars at night. And the stars from La Soledad are as clear and bright as I’ve ever seen them. The village is nestled high in the mountains and in a tropical rain forest so there is no dust, pollution or ambient light to dim their brilliance. My host family thinks I’m a little “loco” to sleep outside with the animals, but I definitely think it’s worth it.

I’ve been living with the Rosario family in La Soledad, and they are fortunate to have several pigs, a horse, many chicks, chickens, roosters, a cat, and two dogs. It’s lots of fun except at night: one of the pigs seems to be an insomniac who likes to pace back and forth a few feet from where I lay my head. Normally, this would not be a problem, but this particular pig must be congested because she grunts and snorts loudly while she paces. I usually fall back to sleep after a few minutes but the muddy little pig likes to nuzzle up to me on cold nights. Not long after she settles in, the friendly but flea-infested dog curls up next to the pig. I’m pretty tolerant, but that’s where I draw the line and shoo them away.

Of course, as soon as I doze off again, they always come back. So last night I decided to build a barricade out of some fire wood and the only two chairs from inside our shack. Bingo! Everything was cool and I slept like a baby…until the confused rooster began to crow at 1am.

Guess the farm animals just want to make sure I get to see the stars…