January 10, 2008 Letter
Things have been moving so quickly around here lately with the rains and the holiday season. I can’t believe how far behind I’ve fallen with my reports already. Everyday I say I’m going to do one and then a dozen things come up and the day is gone. (Rewiring the electricity in the house, getting kicked out of the bodega by the landlady, getting Freddy, the muralist, settled, etc., etc.) My dad and sister are finishing up a short (8 day) visit which has added to the mayhem, but in a good way. My dad did a bunch of cooking for the house, it was great and they both have had an excellent time.
My knee is effectively better. I went on a 3 hour hike in Rambuche this past weekend without any problems. I’m at work everyday (machetes and hole diggers). I haven’t tried carrying watering jugs because that hasn’t been necessary, nor have I been playing sports or surfing yet. I’m still taking it relatively easy; I want to do another week or so of bicycling before trying to strain it like that.
Freddy (Fred Alvarado, the muralist from San Francisco, CA) arrived without any problems. Monday I got him going at the school. We met with the Director, got him hooked up with a class of kids (9 and 10 year olds), and bought supplies. It appears that he can do the job for under $60 of our funds. He’s donating over $100 worth of ‘nice’ paints that he brought, plus his time obviously. He decided to only tackle a portion of that mural given his time. So far progress has been great and he’s ahead of schedule. He starts painting with colors tomorrow.
I’m going to present the Eco-Mandato for immediate public changes to facilitate creating an eco-city to the eco-amigos at a meeting this afternoon @ 4. This is the meeting that was supposed to happen several weeks ago and got postponed. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Eco-Noticias (Econews) has been very slow. One volunteer is going to work on an article about a new Saiananda jam that is being sold around town. I’m going to talk about this at the meeting as well and maybe find some outside collaborators.
Volunteer numbers have been good. There are two vacancies in the house right now, one of which will be filled by the end of the week. One girl seems to have flaked out on showing up, I’m still waiting for an email from her. The crew is great, some really hard workers, we’ve been digging holes like crazy for the past week. We have 659 dug so far. The volunteer schedule is packed through February and into March. Emailing has died down slightly recently, maybe because of the holidays/new year?
It’s looking like we’re going to revegetate with approx. 2200 plants this season. The sites are coming together very nicely. Water sources so far are ample and very, very close to the plants, which is going to be supremely critical for watering next dry season. If I can get one last site in Jorge Lomas (or that vicinity) I will be in excellent shape. I’ll have a detailed report of sites soon.
Weather has been exceptional. Lots and lots of great rain. The really heavy stuff hasn’t started yet, but most nights there’s at least a drizzle, and often a heavy downpour. There’s even been some daytime rain as well. Last year’s trees made it through the dry season strong and are taking off! The sun finally came out yesterday after a week of clouds and rain. The soil has been penetrated about 6 inches deep with water, so we could still use just a bit more for planting, which works out well with our schedule. We’ve been opening the holes ahead of planting so that they collect some water before trees go in them, I think this will help with moisture as well. My goal is to have everything planted by the end of the month. I think we can do it.