It is amazing how fast time flies. We have been here for 3 weeks now and so much has happened. I have decided to plant a medicinal garden in the valley as my main project and, in addition, to teach English in San Miguel two days a week. This past week I went to the valley for 3 nights and helped gather materials for the construction of the third rancho.
The materials are sourced from the valley which include collecting and milling tree wood for the posts, palm for the roof, and rocks for the floor base. On this trip, we helped bring the palm off the mountain. Before I had arrived, the directors climbed up into the palm trees and used a machete and to break off the dead palm to use for the roof. In the dead palm holds venomous snakes and spiders which is only one of the many difficulties they faced. This process actually primes the tree and encourages more growth. The palm trees are located in various points throughout the jungle up the mountains in sometimes difficult to access locations.
When I had arrived we pulled the palm from these locations and to an easier access point. The following day we did “palm runs.” Imagine hiking 7 minutes up a trail to grab 4 15 foot palm leaves, turning around, bringing it straight back down to the road, only to turn around and do it all over again. This work was strenuous, but also so rewarding. Everyone working together and pushing themselves made it easier to keep going and I look forward to the next time I am able to help out. I have so much respect for the current directors living out there and the past interns who have done this work day in and day out and continue to do so.
After a hard day’s work, we were rewarded with blue skies and beautiful weather to head down to the rio for dinner on the beach with Duran by our side. That is something I will not be taking for granted. In comparison with the city, you can’t beat the beauty and serenity of the jungle. It is safe to say that I am in love with the valley!