May 5, 2003
Physically I am feeling much better. I was surprised at how long it takes to recover your energy after getting dengue fever.
The soil in the greenhouse is still fresh. I have started a separate compost pile right there at the greenhouse, and have been taking our personal household waste. When it comes time to freshen the planting soil we will have our own compost on site. There are now worms in the greenhouse.
Last week I helped the plant in town with Marcello Luque and volunteers from Cerro Seco. It was basically a city beautification project. The Mayor and Ivan Aguirre from the Sanitation Department appreciated the effort. Marcello promised to give full cooperation with our Jorge Lomas project in return.
I visited with some men out at Fanca and we talked vermiculture (raising worms). Although we have some worms in the fanca beds, they are not near the quantity that we put in originally. Now that planting is coming to an end (although a few more tree seedlings will be put in at Maria Auxiliadora, more on that later) I will be able to dedicate more time to Fanca. I want to work out all of the technical difficulties with composting and worms.
I also want to work more with the community and elementary school on separating. The men I met with in Fanca are somewhat interested in getting a group formed to manage the end-product compost.
This past week I have had quite a few meetings, due to the fact that I am the only one here right now. I met with Horatio at the University. They are pleased with the effort that was put in out there with the planting . They want to work together on the watering. They said the students could help. They want to do 15 days of planning (pretty typical university time frame) before we start the actual watering. They would like to put in a tank above the site which will have water pumped up from the cistern and then a hose which will run from the upper tanks to water the plants. They would also like to start a sort of workshop for the students, led by me or a volunteer. So it seems we are getting into a little more cooperation out there. I think they were feeling us out to see if we would get the planting done. They also have been monitoring the progress in the greenhouse itself, which was very full at one point.
At Maria Auxiliadora we only planted 50 Guayacan, Fernan Sanchez, Achote, and Cascol because I wanted to test where these did well. It turns out that the big trees like Guayacan, Fernan Sanchez, and Cascol do well in the shade. Some were taken out by leaf-cutter ants, but most that were planted in the shade have taken root and look good. We will plant a few more in this manner, with ant barriers.
At Genesis School the composting project has begun. I started it with the students last week. It was complete with pictures and applause. Vladir will begin giving me free internet services for my help out there. The students brought in the organic waste from their houses. They are an enthusiastic bunch. I hope that we can model this in the future and take it into the community and public schools. It is something we can easily train people about and then take our hands off it with periodic follow-ups.
All timeline activities for May are under way. I have this time to go back and try to catch up with Fanca. I will also begin contacting landowners for next years planting.
I should have a volunteer arriving on the 14th of May. A 29 year old woman from Canada. She will stay until the end of June. The way it looks now is that I will have 4 volunteers form June through August. When the Canadian (Renee) leaves, another from the States arrives.
Breaking news in Bahia:
The residents of Fanca have set the streets to fire in a demonstration. They are angry about their water situation and what they consider are empty promises to fix it. So they have blocked off the streets with large fires and are picketing. They are also mad about an outside organization who have come here with plans, but have yet to do anything. I actually met with some of the Fanca leaders yesterday on the street and they told me they were going to do this.