December 17, 2004
Happy Winter Solstice.
The week [Dec. 12-17] started early on Sunday, as Hanna and I headed to Guayaquil to pay a visit to Mike Morgan and the folks at Pro-Bosque Cerro Blanco. As always Mike was very hospitable, spending the entire morning on Monday showing us around, discussing trees, seeds, restoration techniques, and offering us suggestions for our nursery. He gave us seeds of ten different species of trees from his collection. They consisted of some species we have grown in the past, such as Colorado, Guachapeli, and Amarillo, and many new species: Seca, Cedro, Saman, Laurel, Ebono, Tamarindo, and Pechiche. I would estimate that we got about a thousand seeds in total, a very generous gift from Mike! He also suggested that selling us hundreds of saplings if we had a truck to pick them up in Guayaquil. He offered to give them to us at cost, which is 20 cents each. (I don’t necessarily think we are lacking in the amount of trees we have for the upcoming season but I still think getting these saplings is a good idea.)
Meanwhile back in Bahía, Riccardo and Ryan covered the watering responsibilities and continued publicizing the Renewable Energy Project. I feel Riccardo has been keeping you well informed about the progress of the project so I will not comment much further on it except in regard to the Municipality. The current administration responded to us with enthusiasm. We delivered the information to several departments and they offered to make photocopies and distribute it further. Monday evening is our first general meeting and Riccardo intends on spending the day reminding people to come, including the Municipality. (We have had several people stop by inquiring about the project after hearing it announced on the radio or reading a flyer.) Unfortunately, the new mayor is in the US for the holidays. I completely understand the need to meet with him as soon as possible and will do so when he returns.
The remainder of the week has been spent in the field and at the greenhouse (with the exception of Riccardo who spends most his time in front of the computer making PowerPoint presentations for the renewable energy course, researching the accessibility of tools and supplies, spreading publicity and working out other related matters.) The rain predicted by CNN has yet to present itself so we are continuing with the watering schedule for the sites.
The activities at the greenhouse have been demanding to keep up with. Seedlings being transplanted, seedbed being turned, soil and compost being added, compost being picked up (this time from Fanca Produce patio, there is still quite a large pile of available compost there that is of much better quality then at the city dump) seeds being sown, etc has left us with sore backs and aching muscles. Well worth it for a goods day’s work. The greenhouse is in really good shape.
To finish off the week, we headed to the Interamericano Colegio for an open house. We had a little stand set up with various trees species displayed and two posters on Bioregionalism. We also had a two page write up (in Spanish) on Bioregionalism and a Bioregional Quiz worksheet that we handed out to passers-by. One class put together presentations on the different tree species we planted at the school and presented it to their fellow classmates. It went well. A few of the kids where really excited to fill out the bioregional quiz, some of the adults, too.
Around town everyone is filled with the Christmas Holiday spirit. Each block has built a nativity scene displayed in a public place. Each family contributes some aspect to the display: lights, decorations, paint, etc. The one on our block is located just across the street from our house. Each night all the neighbors gather around it and play bingo or read Christmas poems. It is really a nice component of living in a small town. They have even organized a Christmas pageant, which will take place on December 23rd. Riccardo and I have been asked to play Saint Joseph and Mary, and Ryan will be playing Papa Noel! It should be really great; we have costumes and everything!
The group dynamics of the house have improved since our discussions last week. We decided to have assigned responsibilities around the house (rotating cooking and food shopping for example) rather than trying to make it work out on its own. This system is working to everyone’s liking and everyone has been in good standing with one another.
I still have not received any response to the Bioregional Educator ad. In fact I haven’t received any general volunteer inquiries lately either. I looked at the volunteer schedule for the next few month and we do not have any volunteers lined up for the spring/summer. I will make it a point to reconnect with past inquiries I haven’t heard from recently.
Hanna will be away for most of Christmas week and then when she returns the boys are taking off to celebrate the new year in Colombia. I volunteered to stay local for the holidays and take an extended weekend in mid-January.
Have a wonderful time celebrating the Winter Solstice. Are you having a gathering on the beach again this year? I can hardly believe a year has passed since I first met you all in San Francisco.