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Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon

by YACHANA Foundation
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon
The Institute
The Institute

Hello Supporters of Yachana!

Firstly, I would like to thank you all for your incredible support! Over the last few months we have continued building out the final phases of this project to complete the new classroom thanks to the generous donations we have received. We are happy to report that the framing structure is complete. We have to wait to start the final thatching of the roof until we can coordinate around the new moon. Our students know that that one should harvest when the moon is in menguante (after the full moon when the moon is waning). This is important because natural pesticides found in the thatching material are released at this time and prevent insects from damaging the roofing and assuring that it is waterproof. We expect to do this very soon and out new classroom will be 100% complete. Take a look at some of the photos from the final construction phase.

I would like to share a story about Andrew, one of our students at the institute and the gift he presented to Douglas [Director Yachana], David [lead teacher] and Elder [education assistant].

One afternoon Andrew raised his hand asking for permission to speak and said: I want to give a gift; it is the work of my grandmother, to Douglas, David, and Elder who helped us during this time. Andrew presented three necklaces made from forest seeds strung in a small halter of sisal. These gifts are a request of my grandmother who is 87 years old.

The reason Andrew and his grandmother wanted to give the gift is because Andrew had been fainting and after Yachana took him for treatment to the doctor in Loreto he has stopped fainting and he can study and be active like all the other students. This was very important to the grandmother and Andrew because he could continue to study and learn at Yachana. I have attached the entire story in Spanish for all to enjoy.

While this story is from Andrew all of our students feel gratitude to Yachana for the opportunities they receive to learn and grow within the institute. These stories, the new classroom and future projects are only possible because we have donors who care. This will be the last update on this project but we wanted to invite you to participate in our other on-going projects [Recycled 1956 Chevy Truck Become 3-D Teaching Aid or Yachana Foundation Fund ].

Thank you again for your support and hope that you will enjoy our updates from our new projects.

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A Student Excited About the New Classroom
A Student Excited About the New Classroom

Thank you all for your generous support!! We are extremely grateful for the response we've received for Build a Classroom, Save the Amazon. Because of past contributions and two very recent generous contributions; one from a US Rotary organization and the second from a husband and wife in Switzerland, we are now able to finish building our classroom! Having met our goal, we will be closing down this fundraising project. Until that time please consider a final contribution to help with supplies and furniture for our NEW CLASSROOM! We will be kicking off two smaller agricultural projects to coincide with the start of the new school year – please watch for this to appear in the next couple of weeks on Global Giving.

Early this year we reported that we had completed the Aquaponics portion of this project. Our students work daily at monitoring, testing and harvesting fish and vegetables that are thriving on our campus. In the fall last year’s students training new students in the operation and maintenance the Aquaponics farm.

Finishing the classroom is going to fill a huge gap on our campus and provide much needed space for our new group of students. Here are some interesting facts about our new classroom:

  • 165.7 SQUARE METERS OF NEW CLASSROOM SPACE
  • THE WALLS WILL BE 3 METERS HIGH
  • THE ROOF IS ANOTHER 5 METERS HIGHER IN THE CENTER.  
  • THERE WILL BE TWO THATCHED ROOF CONES.
  • THE CLASSROO CONSISTS TWO OCTGONS ADOINING ON ONE OF THE 8 SIDES.
  • THERE WILL BE A SLIDING WALL BETWEEN THE TWO OCTOGONS.  THIS WILL GIVE US 2 CLASSROOMS! 
  • IT WILL TAKE 800 GUANGOS.  [THIS IS THE KICHWA NAME FOR A GROUP OF 100 LEAVES] SO A TOTAL OF 80,000 LEAVES TO MAKE THE ROOF! 
  • EACH LEAF HAS TO BE HAND WOVEN INTO THE ROOF. 

To cut down on costs we are having the students help with the thatched roof weaving. They are all experienced in doing this work at home and allowing them to help in the construction will give them a feeling of ownership and pride for their new classroom. Right now the leaves for the roof are being collected, trucks are bringing in river rock to form the floor, the footings are done and wood is being secured for the framing and roof joists. We will post in progress pictures and the finished classroom pictures in the near future. We just completed the construction of the composting toilets that will service the new classroom. The pictures show how nice this project has turned out too.

Well – we did it – the students are happy, the Yachana Foundation Staff is happy and we hope that you are happy that our campus has the classroom we need and a fully functional Aquaponics farm. Please let us know what you think about our progress and of course if you have any ideas for new classroom projects this fall please send them our way.

Here is link to a great video about our agriculture and permaculture projects at the Training Center. Please share with your friends! 

 

http://www.amara.org/fr/videos/6CBLO7vtQD7G/info/agriculture-permaculture-by-yachana-lodge-foundation-amazon-ecuador/

This Is What the Classroom Roof Will Look Like!
This Is What the Classroom Roof Will Look Like!
Our Happy Fish
Our Happy Fish
One of the New Composting Toilets
One of the New Composting Toilets
Our Footers are all Done NOW!
Our Footers are all Done NOW!

Links:

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Hair Cuts for All
Hair Cuts for All

Since my last update we have had a full house of students with both Yachana Future Builders [boarding] and the weekly Distancia groups. Our aquaponics project is running and in production with Tilapia and vegetables, but more on that later. There are some changes coming for next year’s students and we will need your support for our classroom project to make things happen. We also have a new video that features are students and projects around the training center. Please feel free to share the link with others! Video direct link:  

https://www.dropbox.com/s/riv6scidsh6v9mk/yachana%20movie.mp4?dl=0

Right now our teachers are exposing our Distancia group to new and wonderful things. David taught them about fungus and different types of decomposers in the jungle. Mariana introduced the students to the techniques of making meatloaf. This dish is not often eaten in Ecuador, maybe the start of a new eating craze in the Amazon. Lena did a review lesson of Water, DNA, and Global Warming. These are all topics that our students would never learn about in their traditional classes but and we realize this topics are important to understanding sustainment of the environment and life in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

The aquaponics system is doing well. The fish are growing and seem to always be hungry. The tomatoes have fruits on them! They are still green but look great. The garlic that we planted from the clove directly on the rocks is growing, and the melons are taking off. The lettuce is not doing very well so we are experimenting with their growing set up.

Mariana led the students in planting the living wall in the recently completed science laboratory. We collected plants from the jungle to use for the wall. It is a learning experience, as we will be seeing which plants successfully growing in the non-soil medium, and which ones aren't. We also used the organic fertilizer that David made a few weeks ago out of cow pies. It has a strong smell, but we are hoping the plants love it.

For the Yachana Future Builders it is not all classroom study, they have a few chores to keep our training center running! See the pictures of cleaning the bathrooms and trying to cook lunch when the power has gone out. Cristhian is giving Saul a hair cut (a fairly common occurrence).

The school year in the Ecuadorian education system is coming to an end [all of our students attend traditional classes too]. Students in their junior and senior years begin to wrestle with exams and defenses of their “project”.  The seniors have to present their project to a board of judges to determine if they will graduate or not.  One of our students has chosen our new aquaponics project as his project and because of our very practical, hands-on approach to teaching he is quite well informed on all of the aspects of this impressive project.  We are sure he will impress the judges with his knowledge of aquaponics.

Changes for the next school year! We will soon start the process of selecting candidates for next school year. We have decided to open up the opportunity to students throughout the provinces of Orellana and parts of Napo. We feel that our success with the current local area has been so great it is time to let a broader group become exposed to Yachana!  But to do this we really need that larger classroom. Donations have been slow to come in recently to support this goal. We are pleased that we received enough to enable us to complete the aquaponics project but we are sad that the classroom is still just footers in the ground. Please think about donating again or sharing our needs with others who have the desire and means to see our project complete.

Cleaning Chores
Cleaning Chores
Aquaponics Products
Aquaponics Products
Planting the Living Wall
Planting the Living Wall
Cooking in the Dark
Cooking in the Dark
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85 New Members Yachana Training Center Family
85 New Members Yachana Training Center Family

A lot has been happening at the Yachana Training Center since last we reported a status in December 2014. Our Yachana Future Builders [YFBs] boarding students and day students have both returned to classes after winter break. Volunteer Lena arrived to take over for Christy – we all miss Christy but Lena is a perfect replacement. She is trained in biology. Her knowledge and help has been a jump-start to the Aquaponics project!

The Aquaponics project is up and running! This was possible because of the donations that we have received through this GlobalGiving project. We really appreciate the support and thank you very much.

One of our YFBs, Cristhian, has really taken the lead in helping to get this project where it is today. All the YFBs have worked on the project to help clear the space, build the structures and install the piping but Cristhian shows the biggest passion and hopes to bring a smaller scale version to his home community.

Last week the YFBs made two trips to a Tilapia pond, about half an hour away by truck, to pick up the newest members of the Yachana Training Center family, 85 Tilapia! Starting with ½ pound “seed” fish was necessary but the hope is to be self-sustaining from this point forward. The fish are doing wonderfully. All appear Happy! The first plants to grace the rocks of the aquaponics system were tomato plants that have been growing for three months in buckets. These tomoates were planted by our students in preparation for this transfer. The plants have been doing well with the transition so far. There are also lettuce sprouts growing. The plan is to add more plants to provide food for the training center meals and perhaps transfer some of the extra to the Yachana Lodge for use in meals for our guests! 

Check out our new photos that show the pool, tank, growing beds, etc. All these new additions were from your contributions. Just to the left of the blue filter system we built an observation platform and added a mirror.  If you come to visit the Yachana Training Center now everybody, short or tall, can see all the aspects of the total system.

We still lack our new classroom and need additional funds to get this done. We have poured the footers but we must wait for more money to be raised to complete this structure. Thank you all again for your support to date! Watch for more updates very soon.

Cristhian our YFB with Aguaponics Passion
Cristhian our YFB with Aguaponics Passion
New Aquaponics System at Yachana Training Center
New Aquaponics System at Yachana Training Center
Harvesting Baby Fish For Aquaponics
Harvesting Baby Fish For Aquaponics
Transferring the Stock
Transferring the Stock
New Home for our Tomato Plants
New Home for our Tomato Plants
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YFB Enjoying School
YFB Enjoying School

A couple of weeks ago the Yachana Future Builders [our boarding students] finished the 2014 term at Yachana Training Center. Before leaving for end of year break they made good progress on Aquaponics project [see pictures] and the work will continue when they return January 2015. We taught over 180 day students this fall.  With so many students wanting to attend our enrichment classes we had to add Saturday sessions just to have enough time to teach them all.  We will miss our students over the end of year break and we wait anxiously for their return early January 2015!

We were sorry to say goodbye to volunteer teacher Christy. All the students loved her and she assured us that this was one of her greatest teaching experiences ever. She returned to Canada over the holidays but is off on her new adventure to Bali and Australia in January. Have fun Christy and come back to visit us often! We have three new volunteer teachers starting in January 2015 and we are looking forward to their arrival.

As part of the tropical permaculture curriculum everyone participated in planting banana and plantain circles. Now we have added yucca, squash, and pineapple to the mix. All the products are looking good. With the additional vegetables coming from the aquaponics farm and fresh Tilapia, teacher Mariana’s cooking and nutrition classes will be very exciting, and delicious, in 2015.

In addition to teaching our high school students we hosted two teacher’s conferences this fall, each with about 40 teachers from Yachana Inty. Educating teachers is one way we can make a big impact on the quality of education in the region. Yachana Future Builders, with the help of Mariana, prepared all the food for these conferences.

On a sad note a local parrot dined on our Internet cable. The Internet has never been the same since. We hope that donations we receive in 2015 can be used to get us back to normal. Life in the Amazon!

Look for regular updates on our progress early in 2015. We will introduce you to our new volunteer teachers and share some stories the students bring back from the end of the year break.   We still have a long way to go in meeting our goal for the new classroom. As you plan your 2015 gift giving donations remember to factor out some dollars and support for this project.

Nutrition Class
Nutrition Class
Tug A War with Yachana Lodge Guests
Tug A War with Yachana Lodge Guests
Teacher Training Day
Teacher Training Day
Early Stages Aquaponics Building
Early Stages Aquaponics Building
Laboratory Building Under Construction
Laboratory Building Under Construction
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Organization Information

YACHANA Foundation

Location: Quito - Ecuador
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Yachana_Lodge
Project Leader:
Colleen Ebken
Operations Management
Quito, Ecuador

Funded Project!

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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