Sunday, March 30, 2014

Greenhouse Project and Celebration

We went to the village of Jironkota because it is the first village to construct greenhouses in conjunction with the Center for Ecological Agriculture, a part of Mano a Mano in Bolivia. The idea of the greenhouses is to provide a place to grow vegetables to supplement the corn and potato diet eaten by most villagers. The greenhouses will also extend the growing season 3-4 months divided between the start and end of summer. The greenhouse will also allow the villagers to make good use of scarce water.

The greenhouses are not made of glass; rather the walls are constructed with abode brick. The abode will retain heat over night or on cloudy days.

When we arrived the villagers had constructed the walls for two greenhouses. They had hoped to do more but the summer in Bolivia had been very wet and they had experienced difficulty in getting the abode to dry.

When we arrived the two greenhouses looked like this. The four sides were built and logs were across the top to support the roof. I was surprised to see they were indeed logs, not lumber. (But later in Santa Cruz I saw a building of new construction that had the sides being constructed again with logs not lumber studs as I was expect to see in the United States.)

One villager was making "mud" to anchor in one last row of abode that would anchor in the roof logs.

Next then a yellow plastic roof was put on. Later when someone asked why yellow, the answer was: "That's what we have."

That's were work stopped on the first day of our visit.

The next morning I saw the doors being made.

The inside of the greenhouse is divided into six plots with a path down the middle.

Here is one of my trip colleagues getting onion seedlings ready for planting.

Then work began throughout the village for the dedication/inauguration of the new greenhouses. This happens each time a project is completed.

Village women were peeling potatoes and a couple of pitched in to help. I was truly awkward doing this because they use a very large knife for this, not a small paring knife for which I am accustomed. But feeding the peelings to the pigs seemed a very familiar activity!

When lunch appeared for us however it was pasta!

After the lunch one of my trip colleagues thanked the villagers for the wonderful hospitality.

Then someone from the village said, "We have a gift for each of you," and we were presented with the floral wreaths.

The celebration ended with dancing.

This dance may look very simple, but 2-3 minutes of it was all I could do at the altitude of 4100 meters.

Later the musicians brought out some pipes to play, made from PVC pipe.

About 3:30 we finally had everything packed up and started our way back to Cochabamba. I timed it and it took us 45 minutes to drive the 20 kilometers back to the main highway.

The only stop we made was for a couple of minutes when we saw llamas along the road.

We got back to Cochabamba about 7 PM. Our trip leader suggested getting pizzas rather than going out to dinner. We all that a very good idea as it had been a very busy two days with our trip to Jironkota, and all were ready for an early night.

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