Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Garden Is A Team Effort.

 

In A Couple Of Months We Should Have Eggs.

After a sad beginning we now have six healthy, happy and contented young chicks....We all hope. They have almost doubled in size in the past three weeks and we hope to soon add eggs to the lunch menu.

The idea is to keep the coop in the same location for six weeks or so and then move it to the next row in the garden. The chickens will fertilize the soil, clean out any unwanted seeds and bugs and condition the soil for the next planting.
 
Because of the bad luck we had with the first batch of chicks, the first stop each morning as we arrive at school is to open the door and count the chickens as they leave the coop. One, two, three, four, five six...So far so good.
 

 
Are they getting bigger or is it just my imagination? They love broccoli by the way.
 
Photo taken on May Day.
 
Three weeks later. May 21.

Volunteer Complex In Salasaca.

 
The Volunteer Complex is located in central Salasaca. The complex also houses the Salasaca Central English School
 
and the Rosa Maria Library which also serves as the headquarters of the Sumak Kawsay Yachay Foundation.
We have three bedrooms which can can sleep four volunteers, a nice modern kitchen and dining room, pictured below.
 
 
A fireplace when the nights are cold.
 
And a modern bathroom.
 

 
Hot water is sometimes a problem.

Soccer Is Always Number One

Other interests come and go but SOCCER is always the most popular pastime here at Katitawa as it is in almost every country in Latin America.
 
There are two things that I have observed in the way students here play the game that impresses me. The field is small and often contains hazards that change during the course of a few minutes. The first is, as illustrated in the picture above, where they play around the obstacles without any bad feelings on either side.
 

 
The other observation is the make-up of the teams. Here you will find the ages of the kids range from five years to 14. They play a serious game and want to win, but the youngest are included in the game as part of the team. Two words come to mind....Inclusive not exclusive. This attitude seems to prevail in most activities here....Not only when playing soccer.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Story Of The Compost Pile.

It started more than a year ago, when Rosa Maria talked to the people at the Sanitation Department in Pelileo and inquired about the prospects of getting a load of organic waste delivered to the school as we needed it for our new garden. They agreed to her request and assured her that it would be free of other rubbish. Shortly after her visit (it had to be a record for getting request through bureaucratic departments) we were visited by two garbage trucks whose drivers deposited their loads in an area close to entrance to the school.

We were really not ready for the this much garbage and while we were wondering how we were going to use it, it started to smell and breed flies by the millions. The smell at the school was not too bad as the breeze took it down hill, however it was very annoying to a farmer who had a field about two hundred yards down the hill. He became very angry at us and kept yelling up at us to do something about the flies.

One day Rosa Maria disappeared around noon and a short time later we see a tractor coming up the hill, and there was Rosa sharing the seat with the driver. It took about 10 minutes to push all of the garbage into a corner and then cover it with dirt. The fly and smell problem was solved.

And now for the rest of the story....The very next day, we had a visit from an inspector from the sanitation dept of Pelileo. The farmer had filed a complaint stating our flies had killed his cow. Clemente, our maintenance man at the time, looked at him with this confused look on his face and said " Flies? We don´t have any flies here. Look around do you see any flies?" After a few minutes the inspector left and the whole smelly mess was forgotten.
 
After a year of fermenting and doing what ever compost piles are supposed to do, we are now using the garbage, that has been transformed, I hope, into a high quality organic fertilizer on our crops.

We did find however that the clean organic waste was filled with what seems like a ton of plastic articles. Since the consensus is, of all the volunteers and students who have picked through this smelly mess to rid it of unwanted materials that we have a lot to learn about compost piles. In a few weeks we are going to start a new pile and are reading up on how to do it right. We would welcome any suggestions.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

And Another One Hits The Road

Although Justin was here only 10 days he made a difference in a lot of kids lives that they were begging him to stay.
 
As is the custom here at Katitawa School, when a volunteer leaves all of the kids make something, a card, letter or drawing that does a good job of conveying what they feel. One child made a drawing of a clown, which was quite apropo.

He is a man of many talents. He taught them origami and did magic tricks. He made juggling balls from balloons filled with rice and taught them how to juggle.
 
There is just no end to his talents and his way with children and teenagers was wonderful to watch.
 
Adios Justin....It was great to have you here and we all will miss you. We hope to see you again next year.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

English Classes Start Again In Salasaca Central

The volunteers complex in Salasaca central houses the Rosa Maria Library, quarters for the volunteers and the Salasaca Central English School. This school is for the children from Salasaca who attend other schools in the area and want to supplement their English studies. We suspended the classes for a year because of a lack of volunteers but started them again three weeks ago.

Maria, from Budapest, painted the classroom the first week she was here and then taught the first two weeks of classes before she had to move on.
 
These are small classes with a maximum of five students in each class.

Friday, April 4, 2008

When Friends Leave....They leave an empty space.

Today Wendy and Adam, had to go....They came for a few weeks and stayed for six. In that time all of us here at Katitawa got to know them well.
 

 

 

 
They came as volunteers and left as friends. Alberto Cortez, who many may be familiar with his music, sums up the feeling of most of us here in Salasaca who have had the opportunity to be part of their lives for a short time....Cuando un amigo se va, queda un espacio vasio.
 
Yesterday my friend Lorenzo, who has been a big help at the spa and hostel in Ambato left for Mexico. He was here for three months and I will miss him.

Wendy, Adam and Lorenzo....This is for you.

Maria, From Budapest

 
Maria from Budapest has been here for two weeks now and has been both painting and teaching English. The chimney gets its first coat ever as well as the maintenance building. The maintenance building is a part of the schools history as it was the second classroom that was built more than ten years ago.
 
 
Before.
After.
 
Next week Maria is heading off to the jungle, but will return. Have a great trip, and thanks for your help.