Thursday, September 22, 2016

Piranha Party Fundraiser Success!

We raised a little under $4,900 during our fundraiser and from donations during the past week!  We would like to give a warm thank you to all of our supporters.

Sarah J playing at our Piranha Party Fundraiser, at Trackside Station Restaurant in Rockland, Maine

This brings us to a little under $9,000 to fund next year's activities.  The chief things on the horizon are:

  • maintenance and improvements to the village dock and stairs
  • the creation of a small yuca processing plant (our first major business venture with the Association of Fishers, Farmers, and Artisans of La Libertad)
  • maintaining and upgrading our volunteer guesthouse (with the possibility of having solar-powered 24-hour food refrigeration)
  • building a second community garden
  • giving scholarships for up to eight village children to attend elementary school for a year

Our new emerald displays

The lobster trap rocking chair

With the raising of additional funds during the remainder of 2016 (our Giving Tuesday campaign will follow Black Friday and Cyber Monday) we may be able to start a small nursery for cacao clones.  This will be the first major step towards chocolate production in the village!

Will we raise the funds to start a nursery in 2017?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

52 years later ... a ceasefire. Art workshop on peace with the children of La Libertad, Colombia.

This post was originally published by Julio Baron, a volunteer with the project in July, 2016.  It was translated from its original language, Spanish.  The original post my be found here.  Thanks Julio!

After more than 200,000 people dead and more than 5 million displaced, in an internal war that destroyed many homes and left many orphaned, the national government of Colombia achieved a ceasefire and negotiated demobilization with the FARC, the world's oldest rebel group. FARC's later objectives were far from a struggle for the rights and freedoms of the population for which it stood during its beginnings in the 60s.  Extortion, kidnapping, murder, disappearances, displaced persons, as well as the business of illegal mining and the drug trade were all in their repertoire of death.

Part of a reflection on these issue is to involve the village children to develop the ability to resolve conflicts peacefully, to care for who they are, for their environment and for that which defines them as Colombians.  To help to do this I read a book about peace to the children of La Libertad.

Through reading the "Book of Peace" by Todd Parr, the children and I came to a definition of peace that did not necessarily relate to not using a weapon. We simply realized that making peace is something that has to do with simple, everyday actions:

Peace is helping neighbors, peace is apologize when we offend someone, peace is caring for the environment ...

Peace is to help our neighbor

Peace is keeping the water clean for all the fish

Peace is planting a tree

Peace is asking for "forgiveness" when you hurt someone

Thus, through reading and imagination, children drew pictures on the theme of peace.  This was a contribution to reflection and above all, helped to instill in them the idea of ​​resolving differences and problems through means not having to resort to arms, offenses, or hatred. The La Libertad children's drawings are a testament to their views and how they see the country they want and a need to live in peace as part of the ideas of ​​progress and freedom.

Two children shaking hands in friendship and peace

My village in the Colombian Amazon

Reading the book of peace.

"Peace is painting, peace is fishing."

52 años después...cese al fuego. Taller de arte sobre la PAZ con los niños de La Libertad.

Después de más de 200.000 muertos y más de 5 millones de desplazados, en una guerra interna que destruyó muchos hogares y dejó huérfanas a muchas familias, el gobierno nacional de Colombia logra el cese al fuego y desmovilización negociada con el grupo insurgente FARC, el más antiguo del mundo. Ya sus objetivos estaban lejos de una lucha a favor de los derechos y libertades de la  población como en sus inicios se plantearon, en los años 60. Extorsiones, secuestros, asesinatos, desapariciones, desplazados y también el negocio de la droga y la minería ilegal estuvieron dentro de su repertorio de muerte.

Como parte de una reflexión en torno a este tema y parta inculcar en los niños la posibilidad de resolver los conflictos de forma pacífica, de cuidar lo que somos, nuestro entorno y lo que nos define como colombianos, estuve con los niños de La Libertad leyendo y un libro sobre la paz.

A través de la lectura del "libro de la Paz" de Todd Parr, los niños y yo fuimos llegando a una definición de paz que no tenia necesariamente que ver con no usar un arma.  Simplemente comprendimos que hacer la paz es algo que tiene que ver con acciones sencillas y cotidianas:
Paz es ayudar a los vecinos, paz es pedir perdón cuando ofendemos a alguien, paz es cuidar el ambiente...

De esta forma, a través de la lectura y la imaginación, los niños realizaron dibujos en torno al tema de la paz, como una contribución a la reflexión y sobre todo, para inculcar en ellos la idea de resolver las diferencias y problemas a través de medios que no tengan que acudir a las armas, a la ofensa ni al odio. Los dibujos de los niños de la Libertad son un testimonio de sus opiniones y de cómo ven ellos un país que quiere y necesita vivir en paz como parte de la idea de progreso y libertad. 

Dos niños dándose la mano en señal de amistad y paz

Mi vereda, en el Amazonas, Colombia

Leyendo el Libro de la Paz

"La paz es pintar, la paz es pescar"

Monday, September 12, 2016

Art for the Amazon: Painting and photographs

We will be having beautiful art for silent auction at our Piranha Party fundraiser this Saturday at Trackside Station Restaurant in Rockland, Maine, USA.  Thank you Julio and Joe!

Thank you very much to Julio César Barón, a professional photographer from Bogota, Colombia (and a volunteer with the project) for six photos that he donated for the fundraiser.  We have printed and framed the images.  The dimensions are 18" by 12".

This is a link to his website:

We would also like to thank Joe Rizzo for his donation of a matted print of his painting Ravens.  This is the second year that Joe has supported us at the fundraiser.  He most recently exhibited his work at the Gray Fox Gallery in Rockland, Maine.

This is a link to find more information about his work:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Preparations underway for the Piranha Party 2016 at Trackside!

We are getting ready!
The 2016 Piranha Party fundraiser is almost here.

The location is confirmed, Trackside Station, in Rockland, Maine.  The date is Saturday, September 17, from 4 until 8 pm.
Trackside Station Restaurant, 4 Union Street, Rockland, Maine, USA

The dining room at Trackside.  Sarah J will be playing
to the left of the floor.

So what have we been doing to get ready?

Printing forms!

Organizing materials!

The masks are new items for this year.

Handcrafts made by the villagers of La Libertad.
More handcrafts

We have new jewelry display stands.

And new for this year, we have gift baskets up for silent auction!

Plus many other auction items.

And we are getting ready for the raffles.  All raffle tickets also serve as event tickets.  So each entry gives people a chance to win one of our three raffle items.

So please mark the date on your calendar and join us to hear stories from the jungle, live music, and to have a great time!