Wednesday, March 4, 2009

how is this lemon the size of my face?

Weeks ago while i was in Adelso´s shop i met Joel, a very friendly man who was actually the instegator behind the whole, high-end-fashion-in-guatemalan-textiles scheme. The other day, he approached me again with another idea: to turn his nearby urban farm plot into a place for Maya Pedal volunteers to stay. He didn´t mention it, but permaculture was my first thought.

From the way he described it, it seemed like he wanted to build several types of beds, indoor and out and have volunteers pay him to stay there. Something reasonable i´m sure. He impressed upon me to come visit his farm, that the others should come as well. We set a date and, knowing how guatemalan time works, i asked him to come find me at the shop at that time. He was the earliest i´ve seen a guatemalan yet.

Anneliese was the only other one willing to wander off to this mysterious farm, so she and i meandered out there together with Joel leading the way.

We took a path i had always been curious about, i was excited to see where it went (there are so many of those here!) The walk was short, and on the way there was a beautiful sky. The setting sun hit a big cloud and it cast a giant light streak, almost a full rainbow in a perfectly straight line across the sky.

When we first entered, i thought, boy this place will need a bit of work to be an attractive get away. But when we saw the back my mind was changed. In the first section we entered there were a variety of small farm animals, not what either one of us was expecting.

A turkey that made loud gobbles at us. (Anneliese was impressed by my return gobble).

A small but noisy pig. He was very cute, like a puppy.

We then passed through a small gate into the back section. Joel envisions a grand wooden gate at this entrance.

The rear was filled with fruti trees mostly, something a lot like lemons, small hard but sweet peaches, other berries and furits, sugar cane. It was really cool back there and i started getting excited about it. I envisioned little huts much like the ones i had built out in the woods in upstate NY, just posts with corrugated metal on top. Underneath could be cob beds/shelving structures that have a rocket stove built into them to heat up the cob and make a radiant heat bed. I´ve seen plans for them before and the look amazing. The lanscape of the inside could be restructured some to optimize water use, the trees could have smaller complimetary plants plated around them to encourage healtheir growing. The whole thing could get sheet mulched, and it would be long before he would see the benefits.

Ther was a bunny back there that made me think of my sister. (She loves bunnies).

Joel was very nice, he showed us all around and told us about his ideas. He even climbed up into a few trees to pull down fruit for us. A little exaggerated, but a kind gesture. We were very happy to receive the most gigantic lemons we had ever seen, one was seriously the size of a cantaloupe. We also got big sticks of sugar cane and Anneliese got flowers (how did he know I didn´t want flowers?) His pitch was that he wanted money. But both of us are smarter than to just throw money at this guy. Anneliese offered her labor while she´s here. And i offereed to brainstorm designs with him to come up with a plan that would be the first step toward applying for funds. The whole thing has me really excited and i would love to see it happen, i don´t have a good enough sense of Joel yet to see if thats really realistic (people can get pretty behind the ball here, there are some significant inefficiencies built into the culture, like never being on time).

Its a cool idea, we´ll see what comes of it.

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