Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Friends of the Rockland Public Library DONATION!

A big thank you to the Friends of the Rockland Public Library and Steve for their donation following the presentation.  This is greatly appreciated by the project, volunteers, and the people of the village of La Libertad!

In other news Howard and Sarah have submitted the first parts their report, which gives us an excellent look at the current state of affairs.  The report will greatly help the project to chart it course in the coming year.  I hope to post it next week.

And speaking of next week, Daniel and Diane, our next two volunteers, will be staying in the pueblo for about a month, starting on April 7.  Daniel is a nurse and Diane an English teacher.  They are from Spain and the UK and have been traveling recently within Colombia.  They will be assessing the health needs in the village in more detail and continuing with the English teaching program.  We wish them luck!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Presentation a SUCCESS! / A New Ecotourism center?

18 people attended the first Amazon Pueblo presentation, at the Rockland Public Library, last Thursday night!  The slideshow and discussion lasted about an hour, with informal talk and display of handcrafts (including blowguns) which followed.  The next presentation is to be at the Camden Public Library on May 7, at 6:30PM.  I hope to double my turnout for next time!

This week I have been busy presenting to the various Spanish classes at Camden Hill Regional High School, en EspaƱol.  It has been good practice for me and gives me a chance to brush up on my Spanish.  The kids asked many good questions.  Maybe someday one or two will visit the village. 

A New Ecotourism Center?
We are looking at the cost and getting the money together to possibly fund a new ecotourism center in La Libertad.  Yes, this is exciting!  We are hoping that this, once completed, will give the village an opportunity to act a base from which to lead guided activities for groups of up to 10 people.  In turn the money from the tours may be used to help fund other areas of the project.

If perfect, the center would have:
Three bedrooms each with bunk beds, for a total of 10 beds.
A large common area with table, chairs, and a vented fireplace.
A kitchen and dry storage area with a stove and small refrigerator (for the storage of food and medicine).
A bathroom with shower, sink, and toilet.
Two 300 gallon tanks for the collection of rainwater.
170 watts of solar panels to power low wattage lights, the refrigerator, cell phone and data signal amplifier, battery charger, and small laptop computers.

But we'll see what we can do.  Here are the floor plans.  Click on the link below the photo to see a larger version.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Howard and Sarah's Photos from La Libertad

Here is a slideshow of Howard and Sarah's pictures from their time in the village.  Click on the image to go to the photo album.

Thanks for the great work and pictures!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Howard and Sarah Back from the Jungle!

Howard and Sarah Back from the Jungle

From Howard:

“Hi Ben
Just to let you know we are back in Leticia! The second week went well, in much the same vein as the first. We are writing up our report with our thoughts/recommendations to send over to you.
I´ll also send through some photos when I get a chance- definitely in time for your presentation next Thursday.
All the best,

I am eagerly awaiting the report and look forward to adding their pictures to the presentation!

Slide-Talk at Rockland Public Library this Thursday

I have been feverously preparing the PowerPoint presentation for Thursday.  In it I have placed 224 pictures and other assorted slides.  I will be giving it the first dry run on Tuesday, so this number will probably be decreasing.  I am also bringing 3 blowguns, piranha necklaces, bead and bloodwood crafts, and a pirarucu (the world’s largest freshwater fish) scale lamp shade.  I hope to see many people there!

To read more about the fish, which is facing extinction but is legally hunted as food by indigenous peoples, please click on the picture.

Volunteer Guide 2nd Draft

The second draft of the volunteer guide is now available online.  While nowhere near complete, it does have more detail in many areas and an enlarged special projects section for future volunteers to tackle.   

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Great News from the Jungle!

I received an email from Howard and Sarah today.  They have made it through their first week and are back in Leticia for resupply.  Here is part of the message:

"All is very well with us in the pueblo. We are being looked after well by Gustavo and his family, the volunteer accommodation and facilities are comfortable, and we have been made to feel welcome by the villagers. And importantly, no health issues so far!

We had a useful couple of days with Enrique the translator who helped us get a good understanding of life in the village and helped us collect a good bit of data and general information on the problems faced by the villagers. We also met with the chief and spoke with a number of other villagers. This has helped us form a view on the current priorities that the Amazon Pueblo project should be focusing on - we can feed back more to you later on this. 

English classes started on Sunday (4 so far) and are well attended by 20-30 children for 2 hours each day. We have also been giving additional one-on-one lessons to adults and additional time with Gustavo´s family. 5 more classes are planned before we head back on 7th July

We feel there is definite capacity to increase the eco-tourism potential of the village and have also developed some thoughts along these lines. Re the biofuels, Gustavo`s eye`s lit up when we discussed this idea, but it is complex and will require some planning. Some other ideas were also discussed which we can feed back to you on."

Thanks Howard and Sarah!

In other news we now are registered with Wiser Earth, an online social network for sustainability.  Here is a link to our page on the website, Wiser Earth Amazon Pueblo.

And in two weeks from tonight I will give my first public presentation about the Amazon Pueblo project.  It will be held at 6:30pm at the Rockland Public Library.