Watering a particularly vulnerable spot, the earth below gave way.

October 1, 2004 

The week started off great.  We repaired the fence at Jorge Lomas.  Upon closer examination it seemed the pole snapped at the base. We replaced the pole and tightened the barbed wire.  We also added fallen vegetation around the end points to act as a further deterrent.  It is more secure now than it was originally. The plants that were nibbled are already recovering.

We spent the day at the greenhouse watering, weeding and transplanting.  To our extreme excitement a few seeds have started to sprout.  The site was watered as well.  The saplings here are thriving; leaf buds are emerging into thick foliage. There are few plants that have not shown improvement over the last few months with this new watering system.  We are continuously transplanting saplings from the small black plastic bags into larger plastic soda bottles.  These saplings are adjusting to their new environment with success.  The larger, heavier containers will be more difficult to transport to sites in the rainy season however they allow the saplings to form more extensive root systems and achieve greater height and durability.

To Jorge Lomas hill we went with our watering containers in hand.  Sol and I proceeded up the hill to the upper portion to attend to the arbolitos (saplings) planted there.  Jack remained on the lower hill and began watering.  The lower portion of the hill is the section that is most unstable, where we have placed and replaced numerous cribbing bars.  As he was watering a particularly vulnerable spot, the earth below gave way.  He slid down a ten-foot span and tore the ligaments in his left knee.  When we returned we found him hunched over his injured leg in agonizing pain.  We immediately gave him some painkillers, finished watering the site and headed off to the hospital were we spent the remainder of the morning.

The doctors at the hospital confirmed, with x-rays, that the knee was not broken, just badly sprained. We were sent home with a list of instructions and a prescription for stronger painkillers.  The doctors suggested that the injury should heal itself in five days or so.

Once we returned to the apartment Jack was put to bed and Sol and I headed out to water the Bosque.  As we climbed the stairs leading into the park we encountered a man heading out of the forest with a machete and several fallen trees.  When he saw us he immediately diverted his trek and headed in an opposing direction.  We called after him to wait, informing him that it was prohibited for anyone to cut down trees in this area.  He ignored our pleas and continued to hurry along.  Deciding not to chase after him we continued into the Bosque and completed the task we had set out to do.

On our way out another local man that had witnessed the incident approached us.  He expressed his concern over the occurrence, stating that the community is upset with the vandalism (the cutting and burning of trees, garbage, etc.) that has been taking place.  I had not noticed trees being cut or anything being burned in months. We explained to the man that we could only support the community if they themselves took action.  He agreed and promised to meet with the barrio president to hold a community meeting.  (I have heard this before I thought to myself.) As it turns out, he did indeed talk to the president and other community members. They stopped by the Planet Drum office the next day to inform us that they would be holding a meeting the following week and that our presence is requested.  The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday night.  We agreed to attend, reiterating that it is the community’s responsibility to safeguard their natural spaces and we would contribute to their efforts in an appropriate manner.

We began the day setting Jack up with the Project Seed Bank spreadsheet to continue translating information and plugging it in the computer.  Because of his immobility, it seems he will have to participate in only administrative tasks for some time.  Sol and I headed into the field to water the last site.  We also paid a visit to Ivan at the Department of Hygiene to see about getting compost delivered to the greenhouse in the near future.  Our supply is dwindling quickly and I want to secure a good amount before we need to start transplanting the seedlings. Ivan was unavailable however his secretary claimed I could get a hold of him this weekend.

With Jack in front of the computer again Christina and I went to the greenhouse.  While watering, weeding and transplanting, we became distracted by Shasta the dog’s excessive barking at what appeared to be nothing. Upon further inspection, we discovered an entire HERD of COWS in our site. Completely livid we ran up the hill and began herding them back home.  The terrified cows, being chased by to crazy gringas and a pint sized dog, reluctantly retrieved. The little boy looking over them was watching us from a safe distance on the edge of his property.  Once the cows were back in their pen, we gave a stern talk to the boy and his mother (who made her way over at this point).  I led then up the hill and pointed out where the cows had chewed our plants (thankfully they choose the much larger, resistant plants rather than the smaller plants placed this past year). 

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