Maleku at Cano Negro in the olden days (no date)
It takes four workers only eight days to construct a $2000 town hall of natural, traditional supplies in the Maleku Reserve. Simple!
Unless you happen to live in a rainforest.
The Maleku tribe, who inhabit 600 hectares of that rainforest, are struggling to recuperate their ancestral territory--just under 3000 hectares--depleted by cattle raising, returned to them by the Costa Rican government in 1976, although now, 35 years later, that land still has not been returned. In order for the reclamation project to function, the tribal council needs a reliable venue, called a rancho, for meeting, planning, and conducting ceremonies. The current rancho is in dire condition--roofed with plastic sheeting and falling apart around them. Constructing and subsequently maintaining a new one would employ several local men.
Sufficient funding would supply nails, lumber, and vines for construction; transportation of materials; and labor costs. A cheap and simple matter, really.
But in a rainforest, nothing comes cheaply or simply--a daily, commonplace fact for the Maleku. Gifts totalling just a little over $1,300 (we now have over $500 in donations for this project) would yield a wonderful transaction: four dedicated men + eight productive days = one traditional and essential rancho = 3000 hectares of recuperated territory of which 2000 will be restored to native rainforest.
A simple investment yielding remarkable dividends.
Change in forest cover 1961-1992, Maleku Reserve
Assembly, the Maleku Tribal Council is born
Bienvenido Cruz Castro, President of the MTC
Map Maleku Reserve. They reside in the blue area.
Angel Silva Silva, Treasurer of the MTC