Friday, February 18, 2011

President of the World

Last week, the President of the World came to stay with us. He's actually a really nice guy. You'd think that with a title like that, it'd go to his head, all that power. He stayed with us in our little house and we shared a bathroom and he pet our cats. He didn't even come with an entourage.

Oh. I forgot to put the rest of his title. He's the President of the World..... Federation of Merino Producers. I guess maybe that brings it down to Earth a little bit.

The POTW happens to be the cousin of the guy we bought out sheep from (who, by the way is the President of Australia....Merinos again) and he happened to be in Argentina this month and wanted to stop by to see our little farm and get to know a little more about the Chilean sheep industry.

We were happy to oblige because, if I'm being honest here, we have never been received so well or so genuinely as we were in Australia, and particularly by his family. I admit that I left that continent a bit infatuated. It sounds so trite, but it's true-- people there were SO NICE. Even at the farm supply store we stopped at, a stocker engaged me in a conversation about what I was doing in Australia and where I was from, and he really seemed to CARE. I guess maybe some people would find this intrusive, but I do come from Ohio, after all. We are a culture of people who are interested in one another and after a year in which most of my human interaction occurred in a major city full of self-absorbed and antisocial pedestrians, it was a big breath of fresh air. (Yes, I said it, public interaction in Santiago can be on par with getting teeth pulled in terms of pleasant experiences.)

But I digress. So the president arrived and we had a whirlwind 3 days with him. Rob, as those of us in the elite circle call him, is a fascinating person. Born and raised on a large farm in South Australia, he is more cultured than many people I know who were educated and lived in more cosmopolitan places. While we showed him our sheep culture here, he educated us about eh sheep he has seen around the world and how they vary so much by region and climate, but all with the humble charm of a shepherd.

The important thing that we did while he was here was to plant the seed of having a breeder's organization in Chile. Right now, that doesn't exist, and we are sort of at the mercy of of corporations who buy our product and even that borders on monopoly here. Unfortunately, it can't be at the top of our list of priorities at the moment because of the pressing issues of sheep mating and crop planting (nature waits for nobody), but I am looking forward to it as a big impact we can make on Chile in the future!