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Week 3: Final touches | Nourish International

June 16, 2011 | Posted in 2011, Ecuador, NC State, UC-Davis, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest | By

So after building the structure of the greenhouse to near completion all that remained was place the plastic as well as securing it and planting the flowers.  Our job was almost done. After checking over all of the bamboo pieces to make sure that none of them compromised the structure we began the initial process of taking the plastic top and measuring it.  Once again requiring ourselves and our leader Luchito to ascend to the top of the structure so that each and every measurement could be absolutely precise.  After figuring out the dimensions we began to cut the necessary length of the plastic to be placed directly on the top part of the structure.  As soon as this process was done we made a few quick trimmings in certain locations and began a VERY TEDIOUS AND DIFFICULT process of stretching the plastic to its greatest tension and then taking wooden poles to nail down the plastic.  We did this so that any bad weather wouldn’t destroy the greenhouse by placing air pockets in the flaps and causing a rip in the plastic; which, in effect would destroy our entire project.  So a few days went by and this securing process was done over and over again to each and every side of the greenhouse and multiple times.  Along with the roof we also secured plastic to the foundation as well as the mid-piece of the greenhouse (the space in between the ground of the greenhouse and the roof). After many long arduous hours we finally finished this task and all was complete.  All that remained in the greenhouse was building and securing a doorway and forming the actually garden for the tomato plants.

In our eyes, this was probably the worst part of the project we had faced yet.  Kunal and I (Binoy) had to first form a ditch for the irrigation pipes and also to begin forming mounds on which the tomato plants would lie.  After placing the main irrigation pipe within a water ditch we began the tilling process.  This had to be the most difficult part of the project because this was the first time that a language barrier between us and Luchito took a toll on us.  After an hour of back and forth movements and arguing with Luchito, we finally understood exactly how he wanted us to build the mounds.  3 hours into the project and we had finally finished the base for the garden in the scorching hot greenhouse.  As soon as we stepped outside into the normal atmosphere we felt a huge cold wave come over us.  Even though it was around 70 degrees Fahrenheit outside it felt like we stepped into a cooler.  As soon as this was done we had to move to the next part of the project, which was making a mural.

Harsh began a detailed drawing of the mural, a soccer goal that was very detailed…almost too detailed.  While he did that, myself and Kunal began finishing the door and its supports (so that it wouldn’t fly open in the event of a windy/rainy day) and also planting all of the tomato plants (which totaled to around 140 plants).  After putting down the small irrigation pipes for each and every tomato, me and Kunal finished planting all of the plants and we also finished the structure of the door.  All of this work combined exhausted us.  The heat of the greenhouse was nothing to play with, and we learned that the hard way.  By the end of the day, a small drawing of the mural was done…we had so much to do and we worried that we wouldn’t finish because it was completely ridiculous to make a drawing so detailed.  We simply didn’t have the time.  But I went in the next day knowing I would have to take control and get this mural done.

On our final day of work we finally began the mural.  The curtains for the greenhouse were completed by Kunal and Luchito and me and Harsh began the mural.  Quickly I employed the help of all of the school children, allowing them to paint everywhere that I had guided them.  Within no time, the entire sky, and soccer field were done and all that remained were the two players (a tomato and banana I decided) and a scoreboard.  Before lunch however, the entire school, its leaders, principles, nurses, all wanted to congratulate us on the work we had completed.  All of the friends we had made, the kids, the adults all were there to hold a celebration for what we had done.  Feeling honored and like celebrities we were rushed by the school children for autographs.  Wow, I never knew something so small could blow up so huge.  For lunch, we got a special treat.  GUINEA PIGS! Me and Kunal had been craving this the whole trip because it is a delicacy here in Ecuador.  After a few weird and new tastes we decided this was an experience in itself.  After lunch, I jumped right into action with my Bon Ice in my mouth (best icepops ever).  After saying goodbyes to our young friends (it was a heartfelt moment, the last time we’d see the boys and girls) we finished the tomato and the banana and the scoreboard.  And finally at 3PM we finished the entire project.  The mural was complete.   Now all we had to look forward to was a well deserved vacation in Puerto Lopez (a beach side resort on the West Coast of Ecuador).

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