17.06.2010 80 °F
Wow, it has only been just over a week here and already I feel like I have been here for a month. Not because the time goes on forever and I am constantly bored but rather the opposite; its because I have already learned so many new things in just one week and its hard to believe one could absorb so much in such a short amount of time.
Let me provide a short list of some things I learned: making sourdough bread, making bagels, making glasses from recycled bottles, making candles from pig fat and palm oil, making starfruit jam, making hibiscus jam, building a wall with 'daub' (a concrete-like mixture of sand, clay, manure, and straw), make homemade organic fertilizer called bokashi (a fermented mixture of soil, sawdust, charcoal, rice hulls, wheat bran, molasses, bacteria, and manure), cooking a meal for 30 people, making chocolate starting with the beans, and much more.
I have gotten signed up for being co-managers of a reforestation nursery project. I will be working side by side with one of my fellow interns, Celine, to raise trees from hand collected seeds and then organize planting projects in nearby disturbed areas of the rainforest. I think it will be a great thing to dedicate a large portion of my time to.
Another thing I am particularly interested in is natural building, which will mostly involve using daub, wattle & daub, bamboo, and timber-frame construction. Right now we are working on a new composting toilet structure. Eventually we will be breaking ground on a community library. My ultimate goal is to be able to leave here after these next 3 months knowing how to build my own house with renewable materials and a sustainable design.
Before coming here I didn't realize just how much of a communal living experience it would be. Everyone splits cooking and cleaning jobs and everyone is constantly helping each other with daily tasks. We also live in "houses" (really more like tree-forts) that have very minimal privacy as they are open air and mostly made of bamboo. It think this will be a good lesson for me to push myself to be more umm well cooperative I guess. I think it will definitely be good for me since I have been called fiercely independent at times.
With very limited and intermittent internet access I will try to keep this up to date and add pictures but it is very difficult, so be patient. If there is anything you want me to write more about then leave a comment or suggestion. I hope you all enjoy following along.