Planet Drum Foundation
Report: June 11-June 15, 2007
With six volunteers staying in the Planet Drum house and five volunteers staying in the Bahia B&B Inn we manage to get a lot of work done. New people keep showing an interest in what we are doing. We got an 11th volunteer to help us out this week when Tom, a traveler from Australia, passed through town and offered his work skills. It hasn’t rained for a while and usually this means watering every day, but because of the big group, we managed to get a lot more done than just watering including a field trip to our good friend Orlando’s farm at the end of the week.
The week started off by sending two volunteers to the greenhouse to water, weed and empty the compost. Having so many people working for Planet Drum also means that the compost bin fills up twice as fast! The rest of us filled up Ricardito’s truck with Caña tubes, sacks of rice hulls, the hole diggers and machetes and went to El Toro to install the very last load of tubes for our trees. Watering from now on is going to be a lot easier and more effective because of Caña tubes. While there, a few handfuls of rice hulls were placed at the base of each tree to help maintain soil humidity and provide mulch. Rice hulls decompose more slowly than leaves so we don’t need to replace them as often.
[Caña tubes ready to be installed]
Ecuadorian life can have an unpleasant surprises at times. On Tuesday three of our volunteers stayed in bed with food poisoning. The rest went to sites at Maria Dolores and Don Pepe to water. Usually watering these sites means that each of us has to carry 4 gallons of water on the 20 minute walk from the greenhouse, after we fill up the jugs, to the sites. However, we were lucky as the local petrol station offered to supply water, so from now on watering these two sites is going to be an easier job.
On Wednesday we split into two groups. One group went with Ricardito to Bosque Encantado to water and put rice hulls on the trees there. In the afternoon one of the volunteers went to help out Ramon with Bioregional Education, while the rest of us went to La Cruz to water. We also managed to establish a water source there as one of the residents nearby has offered to supply water from now on. It is really nice to see how interested and helpful the residents are.
On Thursday most of us went to the greenhouse. A lot of the seeds planted in the seed beds have sprouted and the morning was spent transplanting them into plastic bottles, where they will continue to grow until the planting season next rainy season. Also, new colorful signs made for each tree species in the greenhouse as well as the repainted entrance sign were installed. The greenhouse is shining! On our way back we passed through sites at Don Pepe and Maria Dolores to water there for the second time this week. It has not rained for a while, and because these two sites get a lot of sun exposure they need watering twice a week. In the afternoon three volunteers went to Bosque en el Medio de las Ruinas to water. Afternoon watering is beneficial to avoid the hot midday sun and if our schedules demand doing more of this. The residents in this neighborhood are also supplying us with water, so even though this is our biggest site, watering does not take that long. All of our sites now have on-location water sources, minimizing the amount we have to move water around, just in time for the dry season, too. Our afternoon group also started painting a second entrance sign to Bosque en el Medio de las Ruinas.
We finished off the week by going on a field trip to Orlando’s farm in San Isidro on Friday. His family has a house in a beautiful spot an hour’s drive inland from Bahia. We feasted on fresh bananas and oranges, cooked fresh fish on a wood stove for lunch, and went on a hike up to a little waterfall in the afternoon.