This is the translation of the “Rancho Bienvenido” project, but it is also the name of the Vice-President and elder member of the Maleku Tribal Council, Bienvenido Cruz Castro. We met Bienvenido over one year 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 for their housing is found in the forest, much of their food and even the bait used for fishing come from the fruit of a native rainforest tree.
The Maleku Tribal Council needs a new traditional “rancho” for their frequent meetings, receptions for important visitors and ceremonial rituals. This past December representatives from Sole Technology, makers of Etnies shoes, came for a day of meetings and lunch at the Maleku Reserve. Etnies is the major contributor for the Rio Sol Biological Corridor, planting 35,000 trees in a contiguous native tree corridor along the river. For this important meeting Bienvenido’s sons had to cover the old rancho with a large sheet of plastic to help keep the thatched roof from leaking.
The Tribal Council is hosting another important day of meetings with the CEO of Sole Technology and Vice-President of Sales and Operations at the beginning of February and then a huge international media event in March to launch the new “Buy a Shoe, Plant a Tree” project that Etnies shoes is promoting with their spring line of tennis shoes. Let’s help them have a headquarters to be proud of before March. It takes less than a week to build it with all natural materials.
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