Well, we finally have a new project off the ground - or maybe I should say in the ground. After months of talking and planning with officials, my Peace Corps friend Chrystal Smith and I have broken ground at the Escuela de Cuba in Caldera. Caldera is an Afro Ecuadorean community about midway between Ambuqui, where I live, and Pueblo Nuevo, where Chrystal lives. There are 139 students in the school, from grades 1 - 6. We will be working mainly with the 5th and 6th graders, harvests from the garden will be used to prepare mid day meals for all the students, and extra produce will be sold in the community to provide future funding for the project. We have almost 6000sf available - for this season we are building beds on one half of that, and later we will plant fruit trees and cover crops. The staff at the school are energetic and supportive, the students enthusiastic. At this point the parents are wary, but as we proceed, and hopefully have some success, we will bring them in to the project.
So, for the handful of persons who read this blog, I would like to ask for a little help. A small cash donation, a box full of seeds, a care package of twine and rope, or what have you. If you are interested, contact me for details at email@example.com. Cash donations will be used to buy tools, ornamental and medicinal plants, fruit trees and fencing materials. The school has a limited amount of funding for this project - but an unlimited supply of energy and workers.
Once this project is well underway, I will be looking at smaller but similar school projects in nearby communities. Meanwhile, my other work, with my demonstration garden and with local farmers in the North of Ecuador continues.