February 17, 2003
Bahia has had really inconsistent weather. Early this week we had good rain. However, on Friday the sun came out and it has been nothing but clear nights and radiator sun since then.
Chela has moved on. Meagan and I are the only ones here now. There is a couple coming at the beginning of March. They are Canadian and have done reforestation work in their homeland. They have committed to staying here a month. No house repairs were done over the last week.
We worked hard in the Bosque the past week. We had a minga to repair stairs, build new stairs, and clear trails. The work went well. Later on, there was a bar-b-que at Elbita’s. The park is looking good.
I began the campaign to get community participation levels up. As of now, about 2 houses out of 300 are separating garbage. Many claim that they do not have buckets and need new ones. Many claim never to have received buckets. Bucket cost about 50 cents each. I know we don’t have money in the budget to buy new ones, so I am not sure what to do. Things will have to be worked on with much effort in Fanca. The more I work there, the more I realize that this project is going to be a challenge. We will continue to work there with persistence.
The composting beds are developing good compost. What I have learned about vermiculture is that compost needs about 4-5 months to be ready for worm production. They need to have a stable Ph, stable and cool temperature of about 25 degrees Celcius, and developed a blackish color without odor. I am not sure why Cesar Rupeti told us to put the worms in the freshest pile, but this was the worst thing I could have done. The worms are not in the compost. We are pretty sure they perished, as the temperature went up to about 45 degrees Celsius. The good news is that Jacob’s brother is willing to give us more worms for free.
Before adding them to the compost, I want to make sure the conditions are perfect. The beds should be raised above ground level, so that they can have proper drainage. To do this with concrete would be very expensive. I have an estimate of about 200 dollars. I am going to try and do it with filling in dirt, then putting a thin layer of concrete. After the compost is stable, with a good Ph and temp, then I will reintroduce worms. I was told by Jacob’s brother and Nicola that he both killed worms several times before having success. This made me feel a little better. I just realize that we need to do better research and consulting before jumping in headfirst. I will make it work with time.
I have a meeting with the priest today. I am going to get his help. Hopefully, I can get a speaking spot during a church meeting. This could give us a little more influence and respect. Fanca, you gotta love it.
We completed planting the Universidad. I made a map of the project. Pelo Caballo, Algarrobo and Moyuyo were planted. Despite fencing, leaf cutter ants have had their way with a few of the plants. I’d say they got about 20 percent of the Pelo Caballo and Algarrobo. There is no way to stop them. They do not care about our fences. Otherwise, I consider the project a success. We have been planting and transplanting in the greenhouse. As before, this is going well, and the greenhouse gets greener every day. The next step this month is to re-vegetate Pedro’s land and survey the next few sites.