When Yannick was here in 2009 he started our recycling program. She too was a believer in the project and wanted to get the littlest kids involved. She made up a story of a make-believe person named Alegre and a tree named Pepe. The kids loved it and we continue to tell this story today. Here is her story.
On my home from Katitawa one afternoon I met a magician, who told me about a secret meeting that took place, between all the trees, flowers and all the inhabitants of the forest and Pachamama, (Kichwa for Mother Earth). Everyone at the meeting was complain about feeling ill because of the contamination in the air and soil. The group decided to start with the children of the Katitawa School and see if they could help solve this problem. So Pachama chose me to deliver the message.
Once upon a time there was a peaceful little forest that was very close to a little road. Close to this road was the most beautiful and its name was Pepe. All the creatures of the forest would visit here to play and rest in the shade the branches provided. They all loved Pepe. The humans also love to come and picnic and rest. They too loved Pepe.
As more and more people came they started leaving all of their garbage behind. All kins of plastic, cans and bottles and even the diapers. It was terrible. The animals started to get sick. The plants started to die and Pepe started to loose his leaves and felt really bad. His trunk hurt. As the garbage piled up people started leaving other things. All the garbage from their houses that they did not want....Old refrigerators, TVs....You name it and you could find it there.
Very close to where Pepe lived, there was a little school named Katitawa. He heard from the animals and the Owls who live there that the children were starting a program to clean up some of the nearby areas. So,....One day he visited and found that the children were indeed helping to clean up the forest.
Pepe, returned to his place beside the road and called a meeting with all the inhabitants of the forest and Pachamama. They decided to send Alegre to help tell their story.
So one magic night, Alegre appeared. The children loved him. He told them many things about loving and taking care of everything in nature. And now when you see one of the children with their ear very close to Alegre you can be sure that he is passing on some very important information.
Thank you Natacha.....If I missed any important parts of the story please let me know. We will do our best to keep the legend alive. Natacha is now working in Spain.
Every Friday the children bring in recyclable items from their homes and what they find on the roads. All of the items are counted and each child puts new leaves on Pepe's branches.