March 19, 2004
The house is full with Koke’s cousin from Argentina here and all of us. The other volunteer, Ramona, who was supposed to come this week decided to volunteer elsewhere. It was a bit of a disappointment. With Brian’s illness holding him back and the other two volunteers taking some time to travel this month we will be short a few hands. Not to worry, I’m confident we’ll manage. We all have been working extra hard to take the day off on Friday. With the Spring Equinox this weekend we decided to go some place special to celebrate.
In addition to the normal tasks (greenhouse maintenance, planting etc.), we have been working on a number of other smaller projects. We selected and cleaned another wall in the apartment to do a mural. Jimmy, a local artist, came to today and started a wonderful picture. It is an encircled painting of Bahia surrounded by the several other nature-based themes. He is only half way through but it is already pleasing. Brian and I spent the majority of Monday and Tuesday taking care of a number of tasks: switching the bank account to my name, going through old files, sorting and referencing seeds, printing invitations for the next Amigos de Eco-Ciudad (AMIEC) meeting, which will take place on the 25th. We also had a long meeting to discuss our agenda for the next month. Everything is going smoothly.
We planted along Jorge Lomas barrio canal this week and have done a lot of work at the greenhouse as well (see following journal entries for more details).
I meet with Jacob Santos to discuss renewable energy. We brainstormed a few ideas and identified a few obstacles. The report George Tukel wrote gives two recommendations, one for a house and one for a city. We discussed the possibility of a house project more in depth. The report supports a passive cooling system and solar hot water heating. Shrimp packing factories and hotels would probably be interested in the benefits of these systems however we have no connections to these people. We both agreed to start a support group of community members that might be interested in renewable energy. A city scale project would be more ideal for this area because much of the electricity is used for lighting and electrical appliances. We intend to put it on the agenda at the next (AMIEC) meeting. From there we hope to form a committee that will work toward starting a larger support group. I plan on targeting Eco-Amigos, the community group from Maria Auxiliadora. As I might have mentioned before, they have plans to build a community center. They already have land that was given to them. What better place to do a renewable energy pilot project then a community center? There are two Peace Corps volunteers who are coming to Bahia in early May who will be working with Planet Drum as well as a number of other groups in town. They have the ability to apply for grants from the US government to do projects they are interested in. This could be a potential source of funding if they are interested in this project.
The city is finally going to hire someone for the specific purpose of environmental affairs. This is a huge achievement for AMIEC…we have been pushing for someone to fill the position for a while.
PS. the computer monitor would not turn on this morning…I literally had to carry the pc to the Genesis to email this to you….I think we may need a new computer.