Sunday, January 24, 2016

Day Seventeen: Cooped Up

Friday, January 22, 2016




Last night we got invited to a class for the locals to help them learn more about tourism.  Many of our local friends are in the class so the whole thing turned into a big lovefest.  They gushed about what great guests we are; we gushed about what great hosts they are.  We have some footage so we can show you some of what happened.

As for this morning, we got up early and waited for our local partners to arrive.  They finally came with a chainsaw to cut chunks from the beautiful jacaranda tree that is part of the debris pile from the clearing we did here at the guest area last week.  Jacaranda is an incredibly valuable wood but because we are in a forest preserve, it is illegal to sell it.  The locals can us it for whatever they wish, as long as it stays local, so they are opting to use it to support our newly made roosts.  Some of us are struggling over this use of resources, though they are not our resources so we are finding a way to carry on. 

Because jacaranda is very dense and hard, it is also very heavy.  So the manageable chunks into which the tree was cut were still quite unwieldy to move.  Of course, we could use our beloved oxcart, but even lifting them onto the oxcart was quite a challenge and then pulling an oxcart with four or more chunks tied onto it was an even bigger challenge.  Lots of people were involved in the loading but Matt and Carlos were the stars at pulling the cart. 

Once we got to the garden, there was still quite an obstacle course to navigate with the huge tree trunks and the oxcart could only get us about half way there.  So from there we either had to hoist them up on our shoulders like the Brazilians do, share the load with someone else or push them in wheelbarrows.  We used every method available to us and got all of them to the end of the path where the clearing for the chicken coop is. 

Of course, getting them there was not enough.  We had to dig holes that sunk them about 40% into the ground and then leveled off three of them to support each of our long roosts.  As we mentioned yesterday, there is also room under each of our long shelves for chickens to roost as well.  So we will be supporting almost 50 hens on top of each and just a few fewer underneath.  It turns out that three big slabs of jacaranda are enough to hold all of this chicken housing together.

It took all morning to sink those trunks and set up the final version of the roosts.  While many of us were focused on that job, the rest cleared the cluttered path from the garden to the coop or cleared a new shorter, straighter path between those two sites.  We could carpet those trails right now if we wanted, as they are completely flat and clear. 

We went home for lunch and the first of many closing interviews for our multimedia projects.  We had a schedule of some of our favorite local friends where we sat them down for interviews for different teams’ use in their final projects.  While others waited, they busted out the visual vocabulary cards that last year’s DIRT group and this year’s DIRT group collaborated to produce.  (But when it came down to the final push, Suzanne did it all!).  We sat around in pairs and fours to practice learning each other’s language. 

We struggled with pronunciation of a lot of Portuguese phrases and were surprised to learn which English words and sounds were the toughest for them.  The word “teach” is quite a stumper to a Portuguese speaker, as they don’t really have that “ch” sound in their language in the way that we do.  We learned a lot by teaching and so did they.

In the afternoon, we cranked up the chicken coop faster than ever.  We set the res of the posts around what they are calling the “dormitorio,” and hung the chicken wire except for the gates.  We also cleared another long path to become the final edge of the perimeter of the chicken run.  We felt a real sense of accomplishment that we were leaving something real and useful as a community benefit.  Ahhhh. 

We need sleep tonight as we are realizing we are really tired. We’re crashing early and sleeping in so we can rest for our big day on Saturday.  Stay tuned.


 Zé pulling an ox cart full of jacaranda from the Pousada over to the work site.


 Zé leveling out the jacaranda stump being used for the base of the coop. 


 Shawny, Jenny, Coop, and Phil hard at work putting the coops in place.


 Tonico and Coop sink another jacaranda stump.


 Zé, Aldaír, and Eucledson take a break from putting up posts around the chicken coop. 


Diorlando and Audaír pose for a photo. These great buds, more like family, have been major helping hands with the projects. 


After clearing a pathway, the posts have been installed for the outer fence where the chickens can freely roam. 


Later in the evening, the roosts, posts, and fencing are up! 


Robert digs holes for the posts to be placed in — the chicken coop is almost done! 


Taking a moment to capture the beauty of our worksite. We often forget were in the rainforest! 


We were blessed with the opportunity to work alongside Zé every day while in Anã. Here, we preparing the pathway to the future chicken coop.


Robert Garcia working on preparing land for future post holes that will be uses to enclose the grazing area of the chicken coop.


While on the trip many students have suffered from bug bites. Pictured is Annie Dao applying Doctor Tichenor’s to prevent the bug bites from itching.


Tonico sinking posts around the perimeter of the chicken coop.


Students began to nail the first yards of chicken wire after days of digging post holes and gathering wood. 



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