April 17, 2004
Sorry for the delay, we had some electricity problems yesterday in Bahia.
Just to clarify, do you think we should continue to plant the dry-tolerant species and transfer the others into larger sacks? Is it possible to get burlap sacks rather than plastic bags…they are biodegradable and more organic than plastic?
Attached is a detailed report of our activies for this past week. It hasn’t rained in over a month so we have been watering and mulching all the sites this week.
April 12, 2004
The weekend prior to this week concluded the traveling and schooling of several of us in the household. Now with the fluctuation of so many of us coming and going in the previous weeks and with the recent departure of Brian and Koke, there was much to be done. The week began with a heavy loaded schedule of greenhouse maintenance and watering of our recently planted sites. I have come to accept the fact that the rainy season is not late or in remission but simply over as we phase into the second of the two seasons here, summer. Verano or summer in coastal Ecuador is the eight months of dry, cooler weather that follows the rainy season. Although we are in the southern hemisphere and are experiencing cooler temperatures, it is still referred to as verano, whereas as the hot, humid, wet season is called invierno (winter).
Bevan and her friend visiting for the day tended to the sprouts at the greenhouse, while Riitta and myself tackled the more strenuous task of watering Jorge Lomas Canal. Just shy of a hundred plants residing on fairly level ground, one might assume the task to be much easier when compared to the challenges presented by our other sites situated on steep hillsides, containing hundreds of saplings. The obstacle to overcome with this site is not defined by the characteristics of its landscape nor the number of plants to be watered but more by its rural location. It is situated about half a mile behind the nearest barrio, Jorge Lomas, with only two impoverished households residing just adjacent to the site. We decided the best way to approach the job was to carry as much water in as our backs could withstand and ask for water from residents only if we ran out. Every empty plastic container we could collect from the apartment was filled to the brim and stuff into our backpacks. We headed out to the site earlier in the morning with the heavy loads suspended on our hips and shoulders, carrying gallon jugs in the grip of each hand. After we gave each transplant a health dose of water, we used a particularly abundant plant with wide leaves and a celery-like stem to mulch each individual plant. We did run out of water towards the end and asked both the families in they could spare a few gallons to nourish the plants. They happily agreed and offered to assist us in the future.
After a late lunch, Bevan, Riitta and myself headed out to the Bosque in Maria Auxiliadora to water the plants there. On our way out we ran into Cheo and another local man and they assisted us with our duties. Watering the Bosque proved to be a much easier job. When we got there several children from the neighborhood decided to participate and water was provided by a nearby resident. With the community’s assistance we finished in little time. Since our last visit to this site, someone had removed all the markers we use to find the plants. We discovered the markers stacked in pile off one of the trails. I also took notice that an immature Ceibo tree had been struck several times with a machete. This was even more upsetting then the frustration caused by our markers being removed. It is my understanding that mischief and ill mannered behave has previously occurred in this park and apparently continues to do so.
April 13, 2004
Today we started a through cleaning of the entire house quite literally from top to bottom. The bat feces and spider webs were beginning to overstep their bounds. In times of significant transition I always feel the need to purge and so it seemed necessary at this time to completely clean and reorganize the entire apartment.
In the latter part of the afternoon we watered and mulched Jorge Lomas hillside using the same method described previously. Again the community supplied us with water. A juvenile armadillo was spotted snooping around our belongings at the base of the site. Her presence is a good indication that wildlife is returning to these revegetated areas.
April 14, 2004
We spent the morning at the greenhouse today. Aside from the traditionally tasks of watering and weeding, we also began some minor repairs to the seedbeds and replenished them with soil. Next week we will undertake some larger repair projects.
After a hearty lunch and quick siesta, we concentrated our efforts back at the house, finishing the cleaning we started the day prior.
April 15, 2004
Again, we were in the field watering and mulching on this day. Although some of the transplants are struggling with the drought, most are doing quite well. I feel that if we continue our efforts throughout the dry season the success rate will be high.
April 16, 2004
Riitta and Bevan went to the greenhouse this morning while I hung around town speaking with people regarding the Amigos de Ecocuidad meeting that afternoon.
Despite my efforts the attendance at the meeting was low. But we were productive. We mainly brainstormed prospective future events and addressed current environmental concerns. One idea was the possibility of having an “Environmental Awareness Week” starting May 31st and ending June 5th. The idea is to visit local schools, elementary through university, providing environmental education for all. We also debated doing another mangrove planting.