Francisco La Geria
By: CACT Lanzarote On: 08/06/2016 In: Lanzarote

When he started digging in La Geria, as a young man, someone asked him to finish the task where it had come out of the hole, because Francisco was so meticulous and prepared, he left no trace behind in the black sand.

He had already instructed hundreds of holes in gullies to plant tomatoes, a tough job work which, as with all jobs out in the field, he learned from his father. It was with him that he began to work with animals, at the age of six:“I started with the baby goats, and when I was nine I was doing work in the field,” Francisco de León tells us, a pro farmer, a farmer of the old farmhouse, of which there are few left, although he says that “it is not the lion it is portrayed to be.”

The truth is that Francisco, born in San Bartolomé on 24 January 1930, has the semblance of nobility that many men and women from the Lanzarote countryside have managed to draw with years of effort and reward under the Lanzarote wind.

He, who always dug barefoot, can boast of being considered one of the best diggers to have set foot in La Geria. In fact today, when things slow down, a friend counts on him to perform on his farm one of those jobs with digging and walling that only the finest workers know how to do:“Every stone can be used to make a wall” the maestro explains to us, while showing us the last farm of grapevines made by his hand.

“It’s something that I liked; I liked being in the earth and digging”, he says drawing out the last syllable, with the satisfaction of memories of the many great moments where he was very good at what he did.

We ask him about La Geria at the moment, and he does not give us a good review, because it is not like before, “when all the sand was raised, and all the vines up.” But what has not changed is the sacrifice of the farmer, its a job that needs a lot of sacrifice, he says. We ask about the new farmers and he encourages them to do the job and learn from their elders: “But they don’t know how to use the shovel like we used to; and so they’ve got to take an interest,” he suggests.

There was an experience for everything in the countryside, and “Pancho” knows it; so they furrowed the land from east to west, “so that the jable was falling into the furrow, which was new jable that he picked up and was good for the field.”

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He had already instructed hundreds of diggers in gullies to plant tomatoes, a tough job work which, like with all farm work jobs, he learned from his father. It was with him that he began to work with animals, at the age of six: “I started with the baby goats, and when I was nine I was doing work in the field,” Francisco de León tells us, a pro farmer, a farmer of the old farmhouse, of which there are few left, although he says that “it is not the lion it is portrayed to be.”

The truth is that Francisco, born in San Bartolomé on 24 January 1930, has the semblance of nobility that many men and women from the lanzarote countryside have managed to draw with years of effort and reward under the lanzarote wind.

He clearly remember when his father died in 1982, leaving behind many memories and teachings. He tells us many things he has experienced, but without nostalgia, and with an eye to what tomorrow will bring. One morning when his granddaughter is also there – or one of his granddaughter – who comes to greet him while we take that last photo of her grandfather for this story, in a monument erected to recognize farmers like him; the good barefoot digger.