El Sobrador, and asking for permission to plant on El Torro

January 30-February 5, 2006

I just came from a “sobador” who cures things by moving things around in your body. Supposedly something had sunken in between my ribs and is now cured!  We’ll see tomorrow when I wake up. He also supposedly cured some other things which he guessed I had but I hadn’t even told him!  

This weekend Valentina and I went to Rambuche in Jama to get some trees donated from the municipal greenhouse in San Tomas (further inland). Baron Cevallos was our contact, but the road was so muddy that we ended up walking 6 km and back just to see the greenhouse, without being able to take any trees by truck. Baron will bring them down himself when it gets passable. He also suggested opening a branch of Planet Drum in Jama because there is a great deal of deforestation there. 

I have written a letter, at Flor Maria’s suggestion, to the mayor to ask for permission to plant on the hillsides of the El Toro land donated to the Eco-Clubs. I’m not exactly sure what the legal arrangement is, but that’s what she said to do. I am waiting on the response. I visited the land with some very endearing young representatives of the Fanca Eco-Club. 

I finalized the agreement with the Espinozas to plant on their land. He suggested individual bamboo fences for the areas where animals might be a problem. We also finally got the trees onto the Espinoza property, after a failed attempt earlier in the week when the road was too muddy and we got stuck. We had to go another day in the afternoon when the sun had dried up the mud a bit. It is next to impossible to get as far in as Pedro Ortero’s land now. And to plant on the other side of the creek may be difficult because we would have to take the bottom road which is even worse than the top road.

We did another planting in El Bosque Encantado. Ricardito, owner, and his workman helped to clear the trails for us. It is quite an extensive site.

Another small planting was done at Maria Piedad’s, who wants me to give an informative briefing to her and her staff about caring for the land, and will help us source the reforestation project signs cheaply.

The new trees at Inter-Americano are all doing well. We have been having a good deal of rain, but we still water immediately after planting just in case.

Caroline prepared more bottles for transplanting and more fishing net for shading in order to be prepared. We are almost out of the bamboo pipes now, but I think the local method of digging a “curco” around the plant is also effective for watering.

At the greenhouse, we transferred one of the compost piles to the storage area, and are now letting the other one rest. It is soaked right through because of the rain so we are thinking to build a platform to raise it up off the mud layer a bit. We transplanted a lot more Aguia saplings, and started on the Bototo. We have begun to add crunched leaves to the soil mixture to lighten it a bit, making it more like the naturally-occurring “tierra monte” [prized rich humus from the leaves of the Tierra Monte tree]. The mixture we were using before was very heavy and compacted easily. The Guasmos, Tillos and Moyuyos that find their way into the soil, are all coming up now.

El Bosque en Medio de las Ruinas was maintained, and Valentina arranged to do clean-up and other activities with the children of Maria Auxiliadora through the Grupo Eco-Amigos that Elva heads.

On home improvements, the sole remaining screen was put in the back room, a shelf made, and one of the water storage tanks cleaned out. Vicky and Caroline finally departed (although Caroline missed her bus a couple of times!), and the spur-of-the-moment German couple, who had inquired earlier, moved in last night. They will only be staying for a little over a week to fill in the gap before the next volunteer, Brooke, arrives on February 15th. We have enough volunteers to do the work ahead of us. I believe Blas will be around when you are here, and probably during the summer too.

Nicola is aware that events are being planned for the Eco-Semana but she hasn’t been directly involved in the process so far. Johnny says only El Bosque en Medio de Las Ruinas will be visited on the Eco-Paseo. I will invite the Port Captain to that one.

Hasta luego!

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