Saturday, October 19, 2013

On Language and Perspective
Cotopaxi, courtesy of wikipedia
Traveling anywhere long-distance always lends me new perspectives to try on about the size and complexities of our world. Seeing the highest place on earth, the volcano cotopaxi from the plane lent me one of those perspective shifts. She was towering above the night landscape, her snows illuminated by full-moon light. I had to cheer aloud from the sheer excitement she provoked in me. She is the highest volcano on earth, and near to the highest place, too.
 Humans are little in comparison to so much on earth, yet the impact of human actions can be immense. I felt tiny, with mixed emotions touching down in Ecuador/ 
At the sight of cotopaxi I was struck by its magnificence and moon-lit mystery/ her impact could be life-changing/ What impact will my journey be in a strange, but welcoming land?

It's day 2 of maybe 192/ I have found myself in Quito, a so-called 'dangerous city'. So far I feel grateful that the only street danger has been some uneven pavement and trying extra vigilantly not to be hit by cars/ I can sense some streets maybe shouldn't be walked down... But all that said we spent most of the days in the botanical garden where I made friends with the hardworking, fast speaking gardeners trying to understand more about plants useful for attracting or repelling types of insects. It's a bit special for me to finally be able to converse so readily in spanish, and about many topics. It's hard to believe that just one year ago I was crying in frustration that spanish was so difficult to pick up, and I could hardly understand anything.
Being in a place and not able to understand the people somehow pre-excludes a layer of reality from that place. Language creates reality in so many ways. Language and landscape are somehow deeply related.
Sure, there are aspects of sharing human experiences that go beyond languages; like laughter from being pushed and tickled today by the throngs of people in the ultra-packed public buses... but to be able to joke or share stories about place, pace, passion, dreams and history: for it, I feel humanly privileged. 
Now, I am in a friendly county. I am lucky for spanish which helps me feel connected to this place. I am welcoming any shifts in my perspective. I am abandoning the outdated, and welcoming the change// especially the change in clothes after being soaked through in the torrential, 10 minute long, downpour.
Viva ecuador! 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

call to intentions

In preparing to step into this journey to Ecuador and Peru for 6 months to learn about ecoforestry and permaculture to cultivate more sustainable human-ecosystems, I immediately recognized that my education right now is only a base. I will need to participate in existing projects in south america by visiting established projects - I am going to experience the land and to grow synergistic relationships with locals. 

Some of the major drivers of deforestation in tropical areas are based out of desperation for resources; what does it mean to re-connect stewardship of these resources with longer term economic and ecological sustainability? These are questions I am asking, and I know I am not alone in my inquiry - there are many organizations and people passionate about forestry, and the links between people and the land base on that which we're living. 
forest floor
soiling building on the forest floor - Mariya Garnet

I am going to find real-life practical experiences in this area of expertise. So, I searched volunteer opportunities suited to these aims and ideals... 

In October of 2013 I will be setting forth to first to Ecuador, volunteering for two months in a project called the Third Millennium Alliance, who works with restoration, reforestation and community building. Their efforts have included created the 1012 acre Jama-Coaque bioreserve in the critically endagered coastal cloud forest. You can see more of their accomplishments here.

The second major internship will be outside of Iquitos in NE Peru. The Paititi Institute is a landbased community actively working with permaculture design and ecological restoration serving as an education facility and model that strives to provide for human needs in a way that refrains from harming the environment, and at the same time works with it to create thriving systems. 

In March 2014, I will be joining Canto Luz in the Madre de Dios region of SE Peru.
Canto Luz has opened last year and has already headed a successful crowdfunding campaign, built beautiful tree houses and opened for retreats to work with plant medicines of the jungle. They are located on 400 hectares of rainforest donated to them for old growth preservation. Canto Luz' vision for success includes a sustainable Center for preserving indigenous knowledge. It's an important vision for this part of the amazon, and we have a ways to go. My hope for working with Canto Luz in this primary phase of my involvement will be mapping part of the territory for design of their homegarden, and agro-forestry project. We hope to beginning planting soon, too.

My other main motivations for going is that I had a very real dream-vision of three bees. They crawled on me, tickled me, and while some water rose up around us, my friend who sat behind me whispered: "Cassandra, this is very important!" ... I woke up feeling I had been given a message. Dreamwork is living, and not of static symbols. I hope to delve a little deeper, and work this dream alive...