April 2-7, 2007
This week we had two new volunteers show up, Christine from California and Roxanne from Scotland. We said goodbye to our Canadian friends from the Children of Ecuador foundation. We celebrated Semana Santa (Holy Week), a national holiday, and we got a bit closer with the Bellavista community by celebrating the opening of their lookout tourist attraction.
On Monday I went out with a group of 15 from the Children of Ecuador volunteers. We helped the municipality with the planting of Algarobo trees along the road that goes by the trash dump and composting facility. The city is planning to plant roughly one thousand trees along this road. We started this process with about one hundred trees or so. Although the premise is somewhat superficial, planting trees to block the view from the road of the city dump, the project involves planting these native trees, which were donated from Provincial greenhouses. It was a good way to give the Canadian group a glimpse of some of the municipality’s projects and the way they operate. It wasn’t the most inspiring project but it involved using native trees, which we are always in favor of. Helping the city out with some of their projects now and again also aids when Planet Drum needs to ask a favor of them.
While I was out on the roadside with the Canadian volunteers, Liz and Lise remainedback at the office to work on preparing materials for our Bioregional Education class which is going to start sometime within the next month. We’re making progress, but there’s still a lot that needs to get done and the beginning of the classes is rapidly approaching.
On Tuesday I led all the forty-something Canadians from Children of Ecuador up to Bellavista to give them a tourist’s visit of the community after some of them had already gotten the chance to do some work there. We walked through the community, and had a tour of the school, its cafeteria, and their community greenhouse. We then all went on a hike through the Cerro Seco Nature Reserve which led us out onto the beach and then back into the community. We hiked up to the Bellavista mirador (lookout) and were served a typical lunch of delicious shrimp viche (soup). It was a whirlwind tour of the community, but a nice way to show off a lot of the hard work they’ve been doing in order to develop themselves. The lunch also provided a test run for cooking up large amounts of food to serve community visitors at the mirador. The Mayor came out at the end of the visit to thank the Canadian group for their work around Bahia which include: volunteering for Planet Drum, helping with construction at a local school, and cleaning up at the hospital. Afterwards we thanked them for all the hard work they did for us, said goodbye, and they then took off to Canoa Beach for some relaxing.
At the same time as I was leading the Bellavista tour, the rest of our volunteers went out to water the El Toro site. The trees are looking good given the marginal amount of rain that has been falling.
On Wednesday the Planet Drum crew headed over to our Ruinas site for some more watering. A brief lull in rains required us to resume some watering; fortunately it was disrupted by some light evening showers which saved us from getting into full watering mode for a bit longer. The resumed showers allowed us to take a break from field work to get some much needed house cleaning done on Thursday, and take a well deserved vacation with the rest of Ecuador on Friday to celebrate Semana Santa.
On Saturday the celebrations continued. In the afternoon all of Planet Drum and some of our eco-amigos returned to Bellavista for the opening of their mirador. We joined in with their festivities by participating in traditional dances. Liz sang some songs and played guitar and I gave a speech about Planet Drum’s history with the Bellavista, which includes years of working together in ecological restoration. I congratulated Bellavista on the great strides they have made in developing their community, and stressed the need to continue the hard work of protecting and restoring their natural environment, and also that Planet Drum is proud to be able to work with such a dedicated community. It was a special occasion and quite amazing to be part of a real celebration of the accomplishments they’ve made. Long live Bellavista.
Until next week,