Dear donors of the Provide Vegetable Gardens for Families in Brazil project.
I have postponed this conversation with you since last year but now I cannot delay it anymore because it will explain the reason that this project is on hold at this time.
In May 2013 I was diagnosed with cancer in the liver which radically changed my life because I had to start a serious treatment against the disease.
In August I was operated and I had to move to Rio de Janeiro, where I have to spend 20 days per month for chemotherapy, one every 15 days. I still have to go through another surgery in March or April.
I feel good, no major physical problems, the treatments are working, and I hope to recover soon. But one never knows how long it will take.
For this reason it has not been possible to develop the "Provide Vegetable Gardens for Families in Brazil" project as I did for so many years. Just to remember we intend to move this project to a larger project of Permaculture this year.
This is the reason I have not submitted new project reports.
At this moment I am negotiating with GlobalGiving about the best course for this project since I do not want to have it retired from the GlobalGiving site.
Wish me well and thank you for your understanding.
As I said in the last report our project Provide Vegetable Gardens for Families in Brazil is still in a transition phase to the new theme were we will work primarily with Permaculture. For now we are practicing different permaculture methods and trying out various technologies. We used some of them at the construction of the new Visitor Center at the Concordia Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary.
Please see here: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/provide-vegetable-gardens-for-families-in-brazil/updates/
The evapotranspiration basin building we showed in the last report was completed and is now in operation as you will see in the attached pictures that follow. (Please see the previous updates to follow the steps of this construction).
These basins are filled with several layers of different materials: large rubble, fine grit, earth and good soil.
We also made some benches with the superadobe technique that you will see in the photos we are sending.
I hope that we can decide with GlobalGiving if we can continue this project with these new items or we if we will have to discontinue it and come to an end to initiate a new one.
Please accept my sincere thanks for your help and support.
PS 1: Please see here what we do in our other GlobalGiving Project: Trees and Education Protect Rainforest in Brazil -
In this last period between reports not much happed in the field due to the fact that I was recovering from an illness that affected me in October and reduced greatly my capacity of displacement and also at the end of the year all activities are reduced in this town.
I have to mention that we were still very busy building new facilities at our Wildlife Sanctuary that is taking a much longer time than we expected to finish.
This Visitors Center is partially being built with funds provided by the 2011 GlobalGiving/Neutrogena Wave of Change campaign prize to our other project. Please see here: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/protect-brazil-rainforest/
Anyway, project "Provide Vegetable Gardens for Families in Brazil" is arriving at a defining moment when we will have to make a decision, to close or to change it, because providing tree nurseries and green houses to Brazilian rural families did not have the appeal and interest we were expecting and we can’t not find the families to help.
As we believe that if we apply the Permacultural principles we will be in a much better situation to assist families to become more self reliant through the design and development of productive and sustainable communities and its gardens and farms, we want to change this project into something bigger where the present project will be an item of the 4 parts of a new project.
Just to remember, “Permaculture is a branch of ecological design and ecological engineering which develops sustainable human settlements and self-maintained agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems”.
This new project will be called: “The vision of your future. What do you think about this? What can you do about it?”
This project or the continuity of this one will be composed of:
1. Bring information to the communities about important issues in order to develop the Environmental Awareness that will allow citizens to contribute more effectively to neighborhood preservation and local and municipal environmental protection.
2. Promote Citizenship and the organization and training of community residents, in order to find new opportunities and forms of welfare, labor, employment and income through training and professionalization courses.
3. Produce locally fresh food in communal or domestic organic gardens, as well as fruit and other useful plants in backyards and idle areas in the neighborhood. (The original purpose of the project).
4. Introduce the concepts of Permaculture that will enable a much better planning and development of communities by applying basic principles of nature and integrating people with plants, animals, and buildings in a productive environment, aesthetic and harmonious.
We have now to decide with GlobalGiving if we can continue this project with these new items or we if we will have to discontinue it and come to an end to initiate a new one.
Soon you will know the decision.
Please accept my sincere thanks for your help and support.
I am sorry to be late with this update report, but I became ill with a very serious infection and had to stay out of business for almost one month. I am well now but this fact retarded our actions and delaying things I wanted to show to you in this report.
Project "Provide Vegetable Gardens for Families in Brazil" continues to think that the Permaculture concepts, with its procedures and techniques, are those that can be better employed in our work with the communities here in Valença.
According to Bill Mollison, co-founder of the world-wide Permaculture movement, this science works to ecological design systems for sustainability in all aspects of our lives. Permaculture teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities, take care of waste and much more.
The philosophy within Permaculture is one of working with rather with than against nature, and of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than premature and thoughtless action.
As I said in the last report, we decided to attend a 7 days PDC, Permaculture Design Course, the basic introduction course on the subject, to live the experience and to learn more about the subject. The Permaculture Design Course was developed by Bill Mollison to teach principles and foundations of sustainable design.
All PDC courses offered throughout the world must follow the same format to assure that the integrity of certification process is upheld. A PDC course is something like this:
We travelled to a place called São Tomé das Letras, in Minas Gerais State, 250 kilometers from Valença, to spend the next 7 days in PDC, Permaculture Design Course.
Our group was composed of Katya and me from SALVEASERRA and two guests, Julio, a master mason from Cambota Community that was very much interested in the ideas of Bioconstruction and Permaculture and Lucas from another community called Passagem, an intelligent and keen youngman that works with Julio.
Please watch here a slideshow of our PDC.
It was a fantastic journey that brought to all of us the certainty and assurance that we are going to transform the Project "Provide Vegetable Gardens for Families in Brazil" into something bigger and with a wider view, considering many different subjects, where the vegetable gardens and tree nurseries will be one item among many others as was seen in this PDC, Permaculture Design Course.
Coming back from the PDC course, we decided to start practicing some of the permaculture techniques we learned and as we are building a new Visitors Center at the Concordia Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, an Evapotranspiration bed sewage system, designed for disposal of black water, the domestic wasteD water originating from the toilets in being built.
This system is unique in its ability to dispose of wasted water into the atmosphere through evaporation and transpiration by plants, without necessarily discharging it to the surface water or groundwater reservoir.
In an evapotranspiration system the main components are a septic tank called an ET bed, wasted water distribution piping, a bed liners, and fill material, monitoring wells, overflow protection and a surface cover. Large leaves vegetation has to be planted on the surface of the bed to enhance the transpiration process.
In a sealed tank the black water gets in trough a tunnel made of different materials, old tires, cement pipes, etc. The tank is filled from the bottom with stones, construction debris, bricks, then a layer of small crushed stone, and one of sand, and one of fertile soil.
The black water effluent flows into the lower portion of a sealed ET bed. Capillary action in the fine sand causes the wasted water to rise to the surface and escape through evaporation as water vapor. In addition, vegetation transports the wasted water from the root zone to the leaves, where it is transpired as a clean condensate. This design allows for complete wasted water evaporation and transpiration with no discharge to nearby soil.
Please see attached pictures of the construction of our system.
We planned to show you also our first bio-constructions in superadobe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superadobe) be because of my illness and other delays this is will not be possible.
We believe that with Permaculture we will be in a much better situation to assist people to become more self reliant through the design and development of productive and sustainable communities and its gardens and farms.
For instance, this method of onsite wasted water treatment and disposal offers an alternative to conventional soil absorption systems for sites where protection of the surface water and groundwater is essential, and can be widely used in many low income communities everywhere.
I hope you enjoy our recent work, pictures and presentations and please accept my sincere thanks for your help and support.
Project "Provide Vegetable Gardens for Families in Brazil" continues to work with the Cambota Community where we are presenting them a new proposal that is to discuss with the neighborhood their future and what possible actions can be taken to prepare them for it.
As I told in the previous update, this new project in the project is called: The vision of your future. What do you think about it? What can you do about it?
But, do you remember the soccer field in the Cambota community where the changing rooms needed badly repair and where there is was an abandoned square that we visited a few months ago to propose to the community a partnership and a collective effort to renovate and recondition the place applying different permacultural construction techniques? Well, after some meetings with the Directory Board and many essays to explain what and why we wanted to make a partnership with then, we discovered, what we already suspected for some time, that an internal neighborhood dispute between groups for the Resident’s Association, was impeding the President to accept our aid to restore the changing room and adjacent square. Unfortunately he could not change this situation and nothing advanced so far.
That was when we decided to approach the community differently and instead trying thought the Resident’s Association we are now contacting local residents that we already know, after more than one year of acquaintanceship and familiarity with the neighborhood and this way getting to know their families.
The first action we undertook was to invite a group of the community to visit us at the Concordia Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary and do the “A Day in the Forest” environmental and ecological trail, that their sons, relatives and other 300 students from Cambota had already done with their neighborhood school.
Please see here a slideshow of the last group of students that visited our place:
And here, a few days later, the slideshow of the bus with the community members.
This tour was an excellent opportunity to take a group of people, from this very simple community, older people, many with rural origins, and young and very young urban people, to the countryside, in our case to a forest, many for the first time, what was a delight to all. Even those that complained they had to walk for a couple of hours, at the end were very happy and satisfied with this unique experience.
All want to go back and we are thinking of taking another bus soon, this time with members of another part the community.
As we think that the Permacultural procedures and techniques are those that can be better employed in this community, the project decided to attend a 7 days PDC, Permaculture Design Course, the basic course on the subject and take two members of Cambota to come with us and learn what permaculture is. So we invited the president of the local Association and a master mason that is fascinated by this new way of work. The president could not go, but we are leaving tomorrow morning with another guest from another community called Passagem where we are going to initiate a similar project.
Just to remember: "Permaculture is a method and movement developed to assist people to become more self reliant through the design and development of productive and sustainable communities and its gardens and farms".
To know what is a PDC see here: http://www.permaculture.org/nm/images/uploads/PDC_cert_book_.pdf
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Thanks to 63 donors like you, a total of $3,171 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving.
Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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