This is “Rancho Bienvenido” translated to English, but it is also the name of the President and elder member of the Maleku Tribal Council, Bienvenido Cruz Castro. We met Bienvenido over four years ago when he told us of the Maleku tribe’s situation concerning the loss of their ancestral lands and their heartfelt desire to restore the forests that have been destroyed at the hands of non-indigenous landowners.
The Maleku people depend on the forest for resources to live their traditional life style. Everything from housing to clothing and medicine is found in the forest. Their food and even bait used for fishing come from the fruit of a native rainforest tree.
The Maleku Tribal Council still needs that new “rancho” for their frequent meetings, receptions for important visitors and ceremonial rituals. We only need a little more than $500 to finish the funding and watch the tribal council build it. It takes less than a week to build with all natural materials.
The council was instrumental in the implementation of the Rio Sol Biological Corridor where 35,000 trees were planted in a continuous native tree corridor along the river. Will you please help us in this final push to see this exciting project funded, something we can all be proud of?
We are almost there for funding on this project. I can’t tell you exactly until we receive the next month’s disbursement but many hundreds of dollars in donations to this project were received from the generous employees of Hewlett Packard here in Latin America.
The photos in this progress report really tell the story of Rancho Bienvenido. LRFF and the Maleku tribe created the Maleku Tribal Council within the original rancho, held ceremonies for that purpose and to entertain the sponsors of the Rio Sol Biological Corridor, Sole Technology. Even at that time the rancho was in need of much work, notice the plastic to cover the deteriorating roof in the first photo. It has burned down this past year, second photo, and the Tribal Council needs a place to meet.
In the past few months the Maleku Tribal Council has made much headway in their work to recuperate their territory. One farm was successfully returned to them and another two farms are in process. I’m sure that the next time you hear about this project it will be built and in use by the Tribal Council. Just in time now that their dream of recuperating their lands is coming true.
This project is one of our favorites at La Reserva Forest Foundation because it symbolizes the alliance we forged with the Maleku people in 2009. It was in October and we met in Palenque Tonjibe within the old rancho that this project is attempting to restore.
Bienvenido Castro Cruz walked into the meeting wearing a bright blue shirt and hair slicked down. He told us passionately about the Maleku experience, the loss of their ancestral territory and consequently their traditional way of life. As a powerful speaker for the Maleku community he told us of their desire to recuperate their lost lands and restore 2/3 back to native tropical forest. Well, of course, he had us hooked.
Since 2009 LRFF has helped create the Maleku Tribal Council, planted more than 35,000 trees in the now famous Rio Sol Biological Corridor, provided income for landowners and other families buying the trees from their nurseries and work for many young Maleku men planting, transporting and maintaining the new fast growing forest.
And, all of this because of that first day within the “rancho” in 2009, when Bienvenido initiated it with his powerful intention. For me, it would be the “ultimate gift” to give the Maleku Tribal Council this Christmas, a place where they can meet and continue their work.
Thank you all for your generous support of this project. Please share this precious project with your friends and family. Happy holidays and see you in 2013.
Rancho Bienvenido is a unique project. It's aim is simple - to create a place for the community-run MalekuTribal Council to use for their development and future prosperity.
The other day, I went to see the old Rancho with Roberta on a routine inspection of our projects at the Maleku reserve. The Rancho stands centrally within the village, burnt in a fire earlier this year, it remains a great shell, a powerful symbol of the potential of a people. As I toured the village, it became clear that there was really nothing but a football field for the community to call their own.
With the generous donations we have received so far, we are on our way towards our goal of $2000 to rebuild the ranch. The need is there, the desire is there - we could even construct it in a long weekend. We thank you for your support and interest as we search for the remaining funding.
We would like to draw attention to a new and easy to use feature on our site. You can now calculate your carbon footprint on our site and purchase offsets in just a few clicks. Your offsets go directly to our projects, so what are you waiting for? Pass the link below to all your friends and family, and let's heal the planet together:
Without even the old rancho in which to meet, the Maleku Tribal council are struggling more than ever to meet and remain a united force. After the old ranch burnt down we hoped to have the new ranch built by June, but unfortunately we still lack the funds to do so. We continue to help the Tribal Council in every way we can but every day the need for a communal meeting place becomes more urgent.
The Tribal Council formed with our help to unite the tribes 3 villages and govern the tribe’s communal lands. The council is essential if the Maleku are to reclaim, and regenerate the ancestral land that was taken from them and destroyed by non-indigenous farmers. Without somewhere of their own to meet and plan this reclamation, they must rent a venue which costs them greatly.
We are continually working to secure the $1000 we need to get this much needed ranch built before the council fall apart. Please wish us luck.
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