September 16, 2012
I’m long overdue for an update, haven’t posted in a while. This is because I was busy most of August remotely finishing college (finished! YESS) so the tourism project had to be put on the backburner. There’s been a gradual accumulation of ideas, a long term plan crystalizing, shifting and growing more defined. It’s quite daunting all that needs to be done.
But there hasn’t been much to report. We haven’t begun building the forest cabin yet, the one we received funds for, despite the fact that summer is almost over. The rains will begin soon. The reality is that Fernando hasn’t had a breather all summer. He’s been busy planting and harvesting, immediate survival demands all his energy.
Usually on Sundays everybody descends to the pueblo. But Chero (Fernando’s wife) won’t come because there’s no money, and Fernando will come only for the morning to sell the Naranjia that’s been harvested.
But I don’t doubt his will to see this project develop. Eduardo (founder of Intag tour) said, it’s a good thing that it goes slowly. It shows he is grounded and focused on reality. Not madly and rabidly rushing in for an alternate source of income. It’s true we have a long way to go. It is not going to happen all at once.
But… things are beginning…Fernando has his hands tied but his brothers, German and Patricio have taken the initiative and begun to build a cabin. Not the forest cabin, but the ‘estadia.’ This cabin is probably even more crucial to the project since it is located at the beginning of the trail up to the forest. Right now there is nowhere for tourists to stay before setting off for the forest. From the pueblo, the closest hotel, it is a 45 minute drive up the road to the trail head. The only cars that reliably make this journey are the lechero (milk truck) which leaves at 6am and involves clinging for your life in the back of the pick-up truck trying not to be shunted out by the milk tanks, or the bus, which arrives in the afternoon. With the estadia tourists can arrive on the bus, stay the night in the cabin, and head up to the forest the next day. The cabin also is in an ideal location to serve as ‘basecamp’ for a trip to the highlands (see last post.)
The cabin design is exciting. First off, it is located tucked away from the road next to a gurgling stream and is enclosed by a patch of forest. Second it has a massive rock as a wall, and they’ll be a third floor balcony on top of the massive rock. Plus various other balconies and a bridge over the stream.
I’ll be there the rest of the month documenting the progress of the estadia cabin, lifting rocks and shoveling sand about, helping where I can. So far they’ve diverted the river to give more clearance, dug the foundations, and prepared the steel columns. More intensive work begins next week.
In other news I got done with school so spent the last 2 weeks up in the forest thrashing about with a machete. I only cut myself one time, and I now have a much better idea now of the work that needs to be done up there. I know where there is a patch of zurro (species of bamboo with a thin stem and grows really tall and is hard to cut, and when cut makes a jagged edge that hurts you, and rots on the ground and is slippery, and grows in dense thickets) and how to avoid it. I cleared an existing trail; I have a vision for other trails and the basic trail system/ viajes within the forest incl. vista points. And other possible additions. There’s lots to be done up there too not just a cabin. Also its hard manual labor of the kind I’m not used to. DAMN I knew I should have taken ‘introduction to machete hack’ in college… (I literally get a blister after 10minutes and have to wrap my hand in straggly bits of cloth…)
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