Thursday, January 23, 2014
Farewell to our Future Forest
SMC Amazon 2014: Day 15
It’s Ali’s birthday!!! More on this later in the entry . . .
Today was our last day to wake up in our fabulous hammock hut and bounce off each other to get out of bed. We got a bit of a late start to work, mainly because the kitchen staff had been among the last to quit the cultural night last night, keeping the music going long after most of us had hit our pillows.
Our job was to bring the nursery as close to completion as we possibly could. That meant finishing the standing planter boxes and creating some new ground boxes to fill the space under the shade cloth. We got it done.
We also had some time to reflect on issues that are related to a question we got from the Happy Hollow sixth graders: “How does cutting down trees help the forest?” We spent a lot of our time clearing spaces for future plantings, all in the name of reforestation. What we learned during this clearing process was that many of the trees that are left are not hardwoods, as those have already been harvested, and few of them are fruit or nut trees. Those kinds of trees belong in this area but the spaces they should occupy have been taken up by other trees and plants. The work that we are doing will help to reverse this process.
When the community finishes the workspace (for which we prepared the roof thatch), the nursery will be a place to nurture the new growth of desired trees and a distribution site for the community to start reviving the native trees that are currently in short supply. It should be obvious to all readers that this project is not an “instant gratification” one, as it is more about the very, very, very long view of what the future will be.
We left a beautiful little tree nursery behind when we trudged home to pack up our voluminous baggage once again. We gathered all of our power tools, our first aid, our technology, our group shared items (including all of the items needed for our water supply) and – most daunting of all – our LAUNDRY, which was still hanging everywhere it could possibly be, including on clothes lines, bushes, ladders and trees. It was still just a little damp (as usual) but we packed it up anyway.
We made quick work of the packing job and got the hammock hut and bathrooms pretty clean pretty fast as well. Shawny and Jesse hired some motorcycles to take them out to a remote part of the area where, strangely, there is cell phone reception and the prospect of posting blog parts. They didn’t have much luck posting anything but they dumped some more items on DIRT veteran Bryan Navarro, our “man on the ground” in California. Hopefully those items have been posted by now.
When we got on the big boat again (after a nightmare loading process that included some impressive bucket brigades of luggage), we celebrated Ali’s birthday. Louro had made a dairy-free cake for Ali and we all presented her with a big feathered head dress that we had gotten in Santarém before we left there.
We got to reconnect with Jaclyn, Ana, our friend Josy (and, of course, Louro) once we were all on the boat. Jaclyn, by the way, has clear x-rays and a good MRI, so she is in a Velcro brace and is using crutches. She doesn’t move around a lot on the boat (where she sleeps on an air mattress rather than a hammock) so things are working out just fine. She still has some pain and swelling but the situation seems as good as it can be at this point. We are glad to have her back.
We have two floors of sleeping space for hammocks here, so we all established our spaces and tried to get the bags tucked away as well as we could so that they are not in the way when we are trying to move around on the boat. The personal bags are crammed too tightly together to really be convenient, but we are all realizing that convenience isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
We look forward to the next few days on the boat and hope that we manage to report in from out on the water. One thing is for sure: we are really, really, really in the Amazon . . .