In the past two weeks, we have made great strides in our projects in the community. As of yesterday, the chakra de guayusa is complete. Students, teachers, and community members helped prepare the land earlier in the week by clearing the vegetation in the area. Yesterday, by using surrounding resources such as sticks and branches, the padres de la familia measured out a grid for the guayusa saplings. About four hours later, all three hundred saplings were planted, and everyone who contributed headed back across the river, with machetes in hand. In about six months to a year, the guayusa leaves will be harvested and sold back to Runa.
Last week, Kaley and I led a community clean-up, as well as a short presentation on the importance of proper trash disposal. Littering is a huge problem in Puni Kotona, so we hope this event, as well as a proposed schedule for regular clean-ups, controls the garbage issue.
Because of the help of our host-fathers, we now have a beautiful roof for the school garden. We are eagerly waiting for the seeds in the seed beds, which include watermelon, cucumber, and various flowers and medicinal plants, to germinate so that we can get the garden in full swing before we leave.
We are now in the process of handing our projects off to people in Puni Kotona that we think will successfully carry on the initiatives. For example, my host-mother, Nancy, has agreed to spreading the word about the compost pile next to the school garden. She will also ensure that the materials in the pile (which will mostly consist of yucca and platano peels) are turned once a week.
Kaley and I have loved watching people in the community grow and learn from our projects, whether it be mastering numbers in English or asking questions about how humans impact the environment.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading, hasta luego!