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Eco-Bahia Letter from Patricio Tamariz

[Photos courtesy of Flor Maria Dueñas. Click on each image for larger version.]

Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador
April 12, 1999

Real happy to say that the meetings with the Eco-Bahia Learning Center are proving to be of execution of things to be done and not just a bla bla bla meeting.

Niño sembrando un árbol de guayabaYesterday was a wonderful day. One of the Fanca settlements, remember the one on the right hand side on the small little hill? We saw the people dancing there once. Well guess what ... that little hill has turned out to be a very large Indian burial mound. Have just got here with an archaeologist from Guayaquil who did the Chirije project and he has confirmed this. (This was through a petition from my mom). The settlers there found 2 skeletons on one of the sides of this hill. There is a lot of seashell waste and ceramics. Javier (archaeologist) Veliz says it could be a very interesting mound. He is going to write a report to ask the municipio for a permit and also the national cultural patrimonial institute to excavate. The goal is to leave an onsite museum with a very green park on the top of hill where there is plenty of space (about 300 sq. meters or more). The people there can work with folkloric artifacts for tourists and also charge an entrance for the benefit of the park.

Barrio Las Brisas (Leonidas Plaza)In the same area we had brought many fruit trees (guava) for the settlers there to plant. But it came out to be very, very special yesterday afternoon. All the kids hollered for a tree, and it was beautiful the way each one had a fruit tree and thinking about how these trees were going to give them fruits once they were big. They climbed from the bottom of the hill to the top part where the front of their houses were and asked their dads and moms to make holes to plant the trees. Some of the kids (4-9 years avg) themselves made the holes. Once they popped the tree in and filled in the sides they ran up to their stilt houses and brought down any type of container with whatever amount of water they could. Then each one would chant (as they were sprinkling the tree) "arbolito ... arbolito ... Te echo aguita, para verte crecer bonito." I tell you, this was so emotional for me, my mom and every adult that was there (there were about 30 kids).

Niño sembrandosYesterday we planted more than 300 trees, visiting disaster areas at Fanca 2 and Bellavista. When we were with the kids, some homeless people from the Paco Marazita area, Maestro Loor and Janette, gave a talk to the kids' moms and dads about what they were doing with their organic waste and how they were waiting for it to be composted for the gardens that they had made. Also Janette explained how in one of these beds she had planted tomatoes and they were doing great.

We have made contact with the recycle center "Reipa" in Guayaquil and they have offered us hope for selling some of the recyclables to them. They have a center of collection in Portoviejo an hour and half away from Bahia. Roads are still bad and it is still raining but now it is raining a little softer.

There is a weekly radio program from the commission of environmental education about our pre-foundation. We are getting our statutes organized for the legalization of our foundation. I would say there are now about 30-40 members and hopefully this number will grow.

Today we went to the mangrove planting area and planted some more mangrove. Checked on mangrove planted on Mangrove Day and glad to report 80 percent survival and growth.

Little by little it is moving but initiative is coming from us, not from government.

Click on map for larger version.