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Reports from Planet Drum Staff

2003


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In January 2003 Planet Drum hired Brian Teinert as the Field Projects Manager for the Eco-Bahia Project. He will work in this capacity for at least a year and hopefully for longer.  He has sent several Reports of the progress that has been since January.

Index to Brian's Reports

Report #1

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
January 26, 2003

Megan arrived on Thursday and is doing well. She enjoys the greenhouse project and has proved to be a good worker and a self-starter. The projects are going well, except for the fact that I have not received the worms. We are getting seedlings transplanted, we are finding seeds, and I am making new connections all of the time.

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Report #2

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
January 27, 2003

 Maria Auxiliadora:

We had a park clean up day. The crew got together and picked up all of the trash and cleared the trails of brush and debris. We have plans to build the steps and repair benches in early February.

Fanca:

A meeting was held at the house in which I got together with Patricia and Shannon. We discussed how we would approach the residents. We are making new copies of the brochure that describes the composting procedure at the patio. We will distribute these and meet the residents by going house to house. We are drying fruit seeds to plant under the roof at Fanca. I am going to Rio Machacho this week to view their worm beds and get a description of how they operate by Dario. I still have not received the worms. I spoke to Galo this morning and he told me they would be here for sure this afternoon. That didn’t happen (surprise, surprise). I am waiting patiently. It gives me time to educate myself on vermiculture, which I have been doing by consulting with others (i.e. Dario and previous Rio Muchacho volunteers). After viewing the other worm beds, I will commence construction of ours. Perhaps I will try to visit Jacob’s brother as well to see his beds. I have a fresh pile of unturned waste reserved for the worms, when they arrive. I hope to get Megan interested in the project at the meeting tonight

Universidad:

I have been in contact with Eric Horstman. I will be taking an overnight trip to Guayaquil to meet him, get seeds, and advice on germination and planting techniques. His consultation and the seeds are all free. They seem very eager to help. We acquired about 300 algorrobo seeds from the wild. I was told by Horatio that the best way to plant them is to open up the pod and remove the seeds. Then, if they are wet, you dry them for a couple of days and plant them. We are doing this. One more of the sections in the greenhouse has sprouted seedlings. This one is labeled "little red seeds" which I will identify when I meet with Mike Morgan or when I see Marcello Luque. We have transplanted the seedlings into sacks, with about a 90 percent success rate. My technique was 100 percent successful, and the ones done by Simon and Megan were about 80 percent. They didn’t seem to take the time or use the soft touch necessary when doing the transplanting. I showed Megan how to be gentle with them, and today she did it perfectly. I will be moving the rest of the sacks from Fanca to the Univ. tomorrow with the use of Ivan’s truck. The sand was picked up from Guacamayo last week. I think I told you this in the e-mail that was lost. We will also transport more compost, rice hulls, and manure to the greenhouse so that we can complete the rest of the beds. The greenhouse looks good. It is filling with more green every day. The plan is to plant the Universidad on Feb 3rd (if the rains have begun). Jacob seems to think they will start this weekend. He says the locals think it has to do with the moon, and he buys into this. So hopefully we will get plants in the ground starting Monday, February 3rd.

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Report #3

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
January 28, 2003

Quick update:

The worms arrived this morning and are in the organic waste now. Work on the worm beds commences tomorrow. I got quite a bit of info. on how to manage them.

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Report #4

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
February 4, 2003

I went to Guayaquil over the weekend to meet Mike Morgan at Cerro Blanco. I got back at 2:30 this morning. He was very helpful. From him, I acquired many seeds. Pechiche, Cabo de Hacha, Caimito, Guasmo, Guayacan, FernanSanchez, and Colorado. I was also educated on the procedures for germinating them. He was pleased to have someone come in person, after the fiasco with the seeds left at the bus station last time. I just read that you would prefer me to do this long distance. I am already back, having gone over the weekend.

Before I list the projects individually, let me tell you house news first.

A girl came to the house the other day because she had heard we were doing good work and wanted to volunteer for about three weeks. I interviewed her and she seemed like a good fit. Her name is Chela, and she is a good fit. She has worked as a translator for her father’s business (which is with fair trade in Ecuador), so she speaks beautifully. She has taken a liking to Fanca and has been working with me there. The girls really get along well.

House:

The three of us made much progress. We painted the back bedroom (next to the kitchen) a nice orange. We also painted the small bathroom--yellow walls and an orange floor. It looks great. Emilia helped the girls pick out the colors and they all had fun working on it.

So the house stays clean and we have worked out a good system for communal meals, which allows us all to save money and learn from one another how everything is going. The spots have been removed from the floors, screens have been bought, but not put in place. Both showers and toilets work. The small bathroom has been transformed, with fresh walls and a new shower curtain. Megan is doing a job on the shower floor like the one in the other bathroom sink. Five plants including two herbs have been added.

Much of this housework has been paid for by myself, for which I will seek no reimbursement. It is just a contribution. Megan and Chela are sharing the rear room while we work on the other one. They are both dedicated workers who seem genuinely interested in urban sustainability and bioregionalism. They like to work at least 7 hours a day. Megan loves working with the plants and is going to help with Fanca. Chela is interested in everything.

Bosque:

We had a meeting on Tuesday with the folks from Maria Auxiliadora. They are pleased with the works for publicity (i.e. the sign). They want to ride around in a decorated truck (with a nature theme) during Carnival with a bullhorn and drum up publicity. Elba gave salsa lessons after the meeting. We discussed forming a minga to repair the steps, and plant the bald spots. The minga to repair the steps will take place the first fifteen days of Feb. We also hope to repair benches during this workday.

Work on the mural outside of Elba’s shop will begin soon. She is waiting to hear from an artist friend of hers.

Fanca:

Worms are in a completed worm bed, thriving at last check. I spent some time last week studying vermiculture. When the worms arrived, I realized I needed to learn a lot. I spoke with Nicola, who has working beds at Rio Muchacho. She gave me some good pointers on worm bed construction. We used black plastic, with holes punched in it for the bottoms. This was suggested by Nicola and was in the literature I dug up around the apartment.

We used some old roofing supplies lying around the patio to make a top for the beds. This is to protect the worms from birds and especially chickens, who freely roam the patio looking for snacks. I learned there is little you can do about ants, except cross your fingers. You must have ventilation holes for the compost to breathe. Otherwise, it will rot and this kills the worms. Having holes breaches the defenses against ants, and makes the worms vulnerable. So far, so good…. no ants in the bed. I will continue to study vermiculture and speak with others, including Cesar Ruperti and Jacob’s brother. I need to learn how to expand the beds.

We had more informative fliers printed for Fanca. These detail the procedure for separating household waste. We will go to Fanca soon to distribute them, meet residents, and talk composting and set up a meeting. The purpose of the meeting would be to form a Resident Association. The RA would then discuss ideas for making Fanca profitable.

One note: I have been talking to residents to get and idea of why the current system failed. I have received interesting feedback. Many say we should not have two bins, one for organic and one for trash, right next to one another. It seems like they would prefer one or two centrally located organic-only bins. We are thinking of doing this and posting a detailed sign with pictures showing what would and would not go in it.

The triciclero driver confirms this would help. The residents suggest we place these two centrally located bins somewhere they do not stink up one family’s house. They told me the trucks would have easier access to the bins with this new system as well. They think maybe the trucks were not collecting the organic waste under the old system was because there were too many receptacles. So, I would like to repaint and put in the ground these two centrally located organic only bins before going house to house, so the new system will be in place, not only in theory. Trash cans will remain up in other places. The mystery employee has been quite present lately. He is a younger guy and seems eager to help. I don’t know where he’s been, but lately he’s been out there every time I go.

Universidad:

The green house has more green every day. It is really filling up. Megan and I have been transplanting, seed planting, watering and moving trees into full sun to get ready for the plant. The result has been great progress in the greenhouse. We are ready to do the University planting, which will commence this week. The rains have yet to start, however, I will water them myself.

We have moved the small bags from Fanca, added new soil mixture to the seedbeds. Today, we will begin planting the seeds I received from Mike Morgan.

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Report #5

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
February 10, 2003

All is well. We have had rain for a few days in a row.

House:

Things here are good. The house is in a calm and clean state with Megan, Chela, and myself. We made light fixtures out of wire and colored paper. They look good. I have made an agreement with Juan, the carpenter who is building the bar in town. He is going to construct our wall for the middle bedroom. All we have to do is purchase materials, which should be cheap. In exchange, we are going to help him paint his bar.

We are working on sealing the house with screens before the mosquitoes get too thick. As of now, I have only replaced a couple of screens on windows. We have yet to seal the holes between the walls and the roof.

Maria Auxiliadora:

We have not done much here this past week, although we have plans to fix the stairs this week. Heavy rains last week delayed this process. We took advantage of the rain to do other projects.

Fanca:

I have been in Fanca working in the compost/worm beds. They are under construction. We have continued moving the sacks to the Universidad.

Universidad:

Most of our efforts over the last week have been focused here. We planted many of the new seeds I got from Guayaquil in new seedbeds. We have continued to transplant algorrobo and achote (this is the plant that grows from the little red seed, which were used by natives to make face paint).

We planted the Universidad site on Thursday and Friday. We planted Pelo Caballo and Algorrobo on the slopes, and Moyuyo on the flat parts. We have had at least one good rain every day since then. We will begin fencing this afternoon.

This is all for now.  On a personal level, I am really enjoying my time here. The re-veg project was wonderful. During lunch at the university, I met some biology students. They asked what we were doing and I told them. They asked if I would release a Mata Caballo snake into the wild for them, since we were working in the hills where they wanted to release it. "Okay," I said, not really thinking about the moment of truth. I released it artfully. It came out of the bucket it was being held in, turned sharply to check me out, decided I was a friend, and climbed up the nearest tree, where it was practically invisible.

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Report #6

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
February 17, 2003

 Bahia has had really inconsistent weather. Early this week we had good rain. However, on Friday the sun came out and it has been nothing but clear nights and radiator sun since then.

House:

Chela has moved on. Meagan and I are the only ones here now. There is a couple coming at the beginning of March. They are Canadian and have done reforestation work in their homeland. They have committed to staying here a month. No house repairs were done over the last week.

Bosque:

We worked hard in the Bosque the past week. We had a minga to repair stairs, build new stairs, and clear trails. The work went well. Later on, there was a bar-b-que at Elbita’s. The park is looking good.

Fanca:

I began the campaign to get community participation levels up. As of now, about 2 houses out of 300 are separating garbage. Many claim that they do not have buckets and need new ones. Many claim never to have received buckets. Bucket cost about 50 cents each. I know we don’t have money in the budget to buy new ones, so I am not sure what to do. Things will have to be worked on with much effort in Fanca. The more I work there, the more I realize that this project is going to be a challenge. We will continue to work there with persistence.

The composting beds are developing good compost. What I have learned about vermiculture is that compost needs about 4-5 months to be ready for worm production. They need to have a stable Ph, stable and cool temperature of about 25 degrees Celcius, and developed a blackish color without odor. I am not sure why Cesar Rupeti told us to put the worms in the freshest pile, but this was the worst thing I could have done. The worms are not in the compost. We are pretty sure they perished, as the temperature went up to about 45 degrees Celsius. The good news is that Jacob’s brother is willing to give us more worms for free.

Before adding them to the compost, I want to make sure the conditions are perfect. The beds should be raised above ground level, so that they can have proper drainage. To do this with concrete would be very expensive. I have an estimate of about 200 dollars. I am going to try and do it with filling in dirt, then putting a thin layer of concrete. After the compost is stable, with a good Ph and temp, then I will reintroduce worms. I was told by Jacob’s brother and Nicola that he both killed worms several times before having success. This made me feel a little better. I just realize that we need to do better research and consulting before jumping in headfirst. I will make it work with time.

I have a meeting with the priest today. I am going to get his help. Hopefully, I can get a speaking spot during a church meeting. This could give us a little more influence and respect. Fanca, you gotta love it.

Universidad:

We completed planting the Universidad. I made a map of the project. Pelo Caballo, Algarrobo and Moyuyo were planted. Despite fencing, leaf cutter ants have had their way with a few of the plants. I’d say they got about 20 percent of the Pelo Caballo and Algarrobo. There is no way to stop them. They do not care about our fences. Otherwise, I consider the project a success. We have been planting and transplanting in the greenhouse. As before, this is going well, and the greenhouse gets greener every day. The next step this month is to re-vegetate Pedro’s land and survey the next few sites.

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Report #7

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
February 20, 2003

Yesterday, we selected places to plant at M.A. Park and cleared them with machetes. We have algarrobo to plant, but they need a little more maturity. Stakes can go in now, but we don’t have much flat space that needs planting. I am planning to go to a vivero (greenhouse) in Portoviejo on Saturday with Ivan Iguirre in one of the Municipio trucks. There is a greenhouse there where I think I can acquire plants for M. A.Park and Pedro Oterro’s land. The only thing slowing up the re-veg sites are a lack of plants ready to put into the ground. We have many young plants at the greenhouse (300 algarrob0, 50 achiote, 100 pechiche). The algarrobo plants only need 1 to 2 weeks to be mature enough to plant. The others need more time. Regardless of the long hours we are putting in at the greenhouse, we just need time for the plants to grow. Acquiring native plants of the dry tropical forest has proved to be a challenge. I just got word from Ivan that we could go to Portoviejo, so that is my next move.

 Re. reveg sites

Pedro and I met the day before yesterday to discuss the plans for reforesting. He seems to be interested only in fruit trees. I told him we could work with him only using native trees (some fruit trees such as Pechiche and Guava will work).

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Report #8

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
February 27, 2003

The RAFE (Network for Agro-Forestry in Ecuador) meeting in Guayaquil went well. I met Eric in person and I made some other connections. I also received some good information on planting techniques based on the lunar calendar. I am going to do what I can to help RAFE.

They want to form a regional branch composing of three provinces including: Manabi, Los Rios and Guayas. Much of the meeting was spent talking about how to fortify this new regional scheme. I will help them by being the local networker

Before I start, just let me say that my major roadblock at the moment is getting plants to use in our re-veg projects. I am trying new avenues and always looking for new opportunities. My main holdup is acquiring transportation. Ivan has assured me that we can go to Porto Viejo in his truck. In fact, we were supposed to go a week ago. When I showed up, he told me his tires were bald and he was waiting to get them replaced. Now we enter into the slow grinding wheels of the Municipio. So, I will use  Ivan’s truck if I can’t find anything else first. Yesterday, I spoke to Jacob about this. He told me I should ask Flor about renting one of her many pick-ups. This would of course take more money than going with Ivan, but may make things happen faster. Soon, I will be taking a trip to buy trees. I just don’t know exactly when it will be.

 Universadad Católica

Greenhouse seedlings:
This is going very well. If only I could have started it two months earlier, we would have many good plants and trees. At the moment we have several hundred algarroba. These are the largest. We have small seedlings of Pechiche, Guayacan, Fernan Sanchez, Achiote. In all, we have around 600-700 plants in the greenhouse, and it’s growing every day. I just received more seeds from Mike. They are of a type called Aquia, and they can be planted on site or in the greenhouse. We continue to make progress. We now have five species in plastic bags with 3 more in the seedbeds.

 Re-veg sites:

I have not completed the planting of Pedro’s land. He wants particular trees, and this is linked to the search above. I have been in contact with Pedro, and he knows that I am looking for trees. He knows what hewants, but he doesn’t know how to find it.  

The Universidad has been planted. The algarrobo and Pelo Caballo that survived the leaf-cutter ants are thriving. I now have trees and a system in place to get more when needed. Many plants in the greenhouse are ready or close to ready.

Supposedly, if I plant at a certain phase of the moon, the chance of insects bothering the trees goes down (sounds a little new-age to me, but this is the local knowledge that I acquired, and it is actually very "old-age.") I have yet to survey the new sites.

We have been using moyuyo stakes at the university and Bosque. I will also use them at Pedro’s, but he does not want many. We are planting all this week. It just took too much time to get plants together. Now we are ready to go. I have surveyed the dairy farm. Marcello showed it to me. We will have to return to speak with the owner. I don’t know anyone else to ask about where the sites are. Marcello was just married and now on a honeymoon of sorts. He is difficult to reach because of this.

Fanca:

I have been making contacts (i.e., the priest) in Fanca. I have been circulating and talking to the people. Many of them have told me that they have no interest or time to participate. Many have told me that they need new buckets if they are to participate. I don’t think anyone has a bucket that is not broken or in another location. Replacement seems futile. I think we can offer ideas to the families about how to take their garbage to the bins. I don’t think providing more containers is a good solution, as they will get used elsewhere. A few people are positive and they have told me that if we put an organic-only bin on the main street in Fanca, where it intersects the street to the patio, that they can drop it off there on their way to the bus. I could also get the kids involved (who I have met at the Comedor (cafeteria)), by asking them to take organic waste on the way to school.

I have visited with the nice lady that you introduced me to. She seems to have no problem taking her waste to the bins we installed in a bag. The only problem with the bins that we installed is that the streets in Fanca are that the vast majority of citizens do not respect the division of organic and inorganic. If half of the citizens do, and the other don’t, we will never have separated compost.

 I have a source for the worms, which I told you about. I will use it when the time is right. Whew! Fanca. I have been thinking about ways to do large composting programs throughout Bahia that I believe would have a much higher chance of success than Fanca. I do not want to abandon Fanca, in fact I want to help them, but they don’t want to help themselves. I called a meeting in Fanca to discuss the possible profitable uses of compost, and nobody showed up. The priest told me this is typical of Fanca, which he calls a community with no roots. He was very discouraging about my chances for success. We will see what happens with time.

Bosque:

Steps have been built and replaced. They are great. We have built a new trail that leads to a great view of Bahia. The plan is put a bench in  this location. We have put some plants in, with more on the way. Work continues here. The park looks great. The new trail is a nice one. We would like to make a new map soon. They want to name the trails after previous volunteers.

 House:

Megan is gone and so is Chela. That leaves me here alone. I have not had much time for home improvements. The couple has arrived. They are nice, smart, have tree experience. They do nice work. Unlike Megan, they usually work the minimum hours   necessary. I never ask them to do more. They are enjoying Bahia. The girl, Shannon, from Canada came back to work with us as well.

 I have completed my side of the bargain with Juan Brown. I finished painting his bar. When he gets time after the grand opening tonight, he is going to build a wall and make some doors for the apartment. It should be nice. (A few days later...The new wall has been built!)

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Report #9

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
March 26, 2003

Weather and Bug Report

We are having one of the driest rainy seasons in recent history.  It has not rained in about  12 or 13 days.  I believe there were about 3 or 4 days of rain in all of March.  My sources confirm this.  Dust was in the air at the University site yesterday, as I gave a tour of our work there.  I have learned that the lack of rain is why there are so many ants.  Usually the rain keeps the ants in check.

Leaf Cutter ants have eaten a number of the plants we have put in.  However, I have recently learned of a few methods to combat them.  One is to get the volunteers together and do a rain dance.  This has been done and has proved to be totally ineffective.  Perhaps the intention was not there. You must really believe it will rain, and I think some of them lacked faith.

The second method, which Dario told me about, is to plant a non-native shrub next to the natives, which somehow wards off the ants.  I didn't even consider this method since by solving one problem with a non-native, we could easily create a bigger one. 

The third, which I just learned yesterday, is to cut the bottom and top off a 2 or 3 liter plastic bottle, and use it as a perimeter around the base of the plant. I was awe-struck.  Why hadn't I thought of something so simple?  We will employ this method. We will try to recover our steps and re-plant the ones that have been devoured by our little friends, the incredible and efficient Leaf Cutter ants. 

That is all for now.  Please try and do a cross-equatorial rain dance in the PDF office in San Francisco. It couldn't hurt. Que le vaya muy bien.  

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Report #10

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
April 27, 2003

 We have been planting because seedlings we have in the greenhouse need to be put in the ground this year. Luckily, we have had quite a bit of rain over the last week. We planted big, secondary level plants in the Bosque. If they take, we will have Guayacan, Fernan Sanchez, Achote and Cascol: four new species to add to the list. The soil is moist and both the new and old plants look good.

We are going to do an environment class at Genesis School one trimester only. This will only be until July, and Elise II will handle it. About expanding environmental education in Bahia, we have the opportunity to teach classes in a couple of places in more underpriveledged public schools. These would be the Rotary School in Fanca, and at an Eco -Kids Club in Maria Auxiliadora.

I have a meeting with Mayor Vitteri this week to discuss Fanca. He is in pretty good spirits about the project. I think only 3 or 4 houses are separating Household garbage right now. Perhaps we could make some progress in the school with the kids. It may be better for the kids to tell their parents to separate than me. I did an interview on the radio for Earth Day. I was able to promote our projects and talk about environmental issues in general. Many people heard it and complimented me.

Some plans:
I am teaming up with Marcello Luque next Wednesday and Thursday to do some planting, which is good because I have zero volunteers at the moment, and he has 6. We will plant an area in the middle of town. A sort of dusty, scraggly spot in the median of the road on the Malecon, near the entrance to Bella Vista Barrio. We will also plant some on our project above Jorge Lomas if time permits.

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Report #11

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
May 5, 2003

Physically I am feeling much better. I was surprised at how long it takes to recover your energy after getting dengue fever.

The soil in the greenhouse is still fresh. I have started a separate compost pile right there at the greenhouse, and have been taking our personal household waste. When it comes time to freshen the planting soil we will have our own compost on site. There are now worms in the greenhouse.

Last week I helped the plant in town with Marcello Luque and volunteers from Cerro Seco. It was basically a city beautification project. The Mayor and Ivan Aguirre from the Sanitation Department appreciated the effort. Marcello promised to give full cooperation with our Jorge Lomas project in return.

I visited with some men out at Fanca and we talked vermiculture (raising worms). Although we have some worms in the fanca beds, they are not near the quantity that we put in originally. Now that planting is coming to an end (although a few more tree seedlings will be put in at Maria Auxiliadora, more on that later) I will be able to dedicate more time to Fanca. I want to work out all of the technical difficulties with composting and worms.

I also want to work more with the community and elementary school on separating. The men I met with in Fanca are somewhat interested in getting a group formed to manage the end-product compost.

This past week I have had quite a few meetings, due to the fact that I am the only one here right now. I met with Horatio at the University. They are pleased with the effort that was put in out there with the planting . They want to work together on the watering. They said the students could help. They want to do 15 days of planning (pretty typical university time frame) before we start the actual watering. They would like to put in a tank above the site which will have water pumped up from the cistern and then a hose which will run from the upper tanks to water the plants. They would also like to start a sort of workshop for the students, led by me or a volunteer. So it seems we are getting into a little morecooperation out there. I think they were feeling us out to see if we would get the planting done. They also have been monitoring the progress in the greenhouse itself, which was very full at one point.

At Maria Auxiliadora we only planted 50 Guayacan, Fernan Sanchez, Achote, and Cascol because I wanted to test where these did well. It turns out that the big trees like Guayacan, Fernan Sanchez, and Cascol do well in the shade. Some were taken out by leaf-cutter ants, but most that were planted in the shade have taken root and look good. We will plant a few more in this manner, with ant barriers.

At Genesis School the composting project has begun. I started it with the students last week. It was complete with pictures and applause. Vladir will begin giving me free internet services for my help out there. The students brought in the organic waste from their houses. They are an enthusiastic bunch. I hope that we can model this in the future and take it into the community and public schools. It is something we can easily train people about and then take our hands off it with periodic follow-ups.

All timeline activities for May are under way. I have this time to go back and try to catch up with Fanca. I will also begin contacting landowners for next years planting.

I should have a volunteer arriving on the 14th of May. A 29 year old woman from Canada. She will stay until the end of June. The way it looks now is that I will have 4 volunteers form June through August. When the Canadian (Renee) leaves, another from the States arrives.

Breaking news in Bahia:
The residents of Fanca have set the streets to fire in a demonstration. They are angry about their water situation and what they consider are empty promises to fix it. So they have blocked off the streets with large fires and are picketing. They are also mad about an outside oprganization who have come here with plans, but have yet to do anything. I actually met with some of the Fanca leaders yesterday on the street and they told me they were going to do this.

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Report #12

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
May 12, 2003

Things planned for this week include: several trips to Fanca to work on compost/worms, a meeting with Horatio from the Universidad to begin our planning, a meeting with the Maria Auxiliadora folks to discuss projects for June and July, maintenance at the greenhouse to get ready for new plants en masse, and a meeting at Jorge Lomas.

On watering, maintenance and new landholder arrangements:
The largest area to water will be the Universidad. This will be carried out by a process that Horatio and I will plan. Luckily, after a very dry rainy season, we have had rain the past week and a half almost every night. Ireviewed the re-veg procedures that we drew up in January and I understand that watering should commence when we have an entire week with no rain. I check the sites about once a week. We have had many survivors and some casualties. I don’t always know what gets the plants, but I am learning that sometimes it is insect pests, and other times bad soil, and other times animals.

New landholder arrangements are going to be carried out by the new consortium I mentioned in my last e-mail. I am having dialog with two future site owners right now, the lands at El Toro and at JorgeLomas. Although these are not new contacts, they are both on board for next year. Pedro Otero fro El Toro and I are on good terms, and he seems happy and pleasant enough. Hopefully between now and December we can come to a concrete agreement! I hope to find the elusive owner of the dairy farm site as well.

I’m looking forward to the new volunteers arriving. We will have some good projects lined up for them to work on.

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Report # 13

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
May 19, 2003


I have had a few meetings this week with landowners. [A new revegetation project is being planned, this time on private, rather than public land.] Things are going well with the University [where a greenhouse has been built and plantings done to prevent erosion]. This week I have plans to work at the greenhouse, Fanca, the park, and the University. Since I am the only one here right now I am making the rounds so that everything stays together.

The weather has been hot, and overcast, with an occasional shower. We had a good rain last night. The most important thing I will need money for soon is the watering. I do not think this rain will last much longer and I am ready to put in new watering systems. I just need to purchase a few materials and we should have no problem keeping everything wet.

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Report # 14

Brian Teinert, Field Project Manager Planet Drum Foundation
May 26, 2003

When the volunteers get here they will hit the ground running. We are going to work at the greenhouse, Fanca, the Universidad, etc. Over the past week I have visited all of our projects. At the universidad, I spoke with Horatio and the head of the biology department. We are finalizing our plans to work out the watering system and a workshop with the students. Next week I meet with the students to discuss the workshop and watering procedures. I have also worked in the greenhouse with seed beds. I planted chirimoya and tamarindo. They have started coming up. These will be transplanted and taken to Fanca. I went to a meeting in Maria Auxiliadora. This was a meeting that they put together about improving the neighborhood. They would like to get the eco-kids club going again and want to know if we can participate. I worked some at Genesis [a local school]. I went there on Dia de los Arboles (Arbor Day) and planted trees with the kids. We have been composting there for about 5 weeks now.

So this is where we are at the moment. One volunteer arrives on Thursday, and the rest will be here within a week after that I think.


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