Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Dirt Diggers Donate to Kwaimatta School

When we went up to the States in the rainy season, I of course visited my old "Garden Club" buddies.  So, we got talking about what we were doing and especially about the school in our closest village of Kwaimatta. Kwaimatta has a total of 150 people.  I talked about the saintly headmistress, Iris and all the 57 children from the age of 5 to 14 that were in her one room school. I also told them how we were always looking for ways to help, especially in the coming term when her assistant teacher would be on maternity leave.
 They wanted to help.  Linda volunteered to collect the donations and buy the supplies.  She did a fantastic job.  But how to bring it all down.  We could carry 4 suitcases.  Michele said that she had an old one she did not need.  We met for dinner and packed the suitcase.  
Of course we still had to get it into Karanambu.  You are only allowed 25lbs each on the small plane.  Even weighing with our backpacks on we would have had a big overweight bill, if they could take it at all.  But the Gods were looking down on us.  Gerald Gonsalves, who I have known since we were small boys, was our pilot.  He put up a halfhearted fight, then he checked the weights and said, "take the suitcase in". Thank you TGA! (Trans Guyana Airways). 
As it turned out all of the school children needed new shoes.  Diane and her family came to the rescue.  We collected a list from the Headmistress of all the sizes and 3 bags of shoes were flown in. As it turned out, Gerry was once again the pilot.
The day finally came.  The landrover had to make the trip to Yupakari the night before and did not come back until the next morning.  The driver had gone to sleep.  One of the other boys said, "I will drive!".  Well, he had not driven in over 2 years. Never mind that, or the steering or the gears on the landrover, all in great need of repair!  It took us an hour to drive the seven miles to Kwaimatta.
Half the village was there.
It was worth it!  The children were so excited! .
Everything was greatly appreciated.
But nobody appreciated it more than the Headmistress. Headmistress Iris said that she will carefully ration the supplies as she wants them to last all year!
Thank you Dirt Diggers!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Story of the Little Paw Paw (Papaya) Tree

  The plan was to build a small brick house.  On top of that house would be all of the solar panels and inside would be the batteries, etc.  We very carefully placed the new solar structure in the back of the garden where the panels would get full sun. 
When we started to build the house, there was a small paw paw tree growing near by.  Salvador said if it got in the way we would cut it down.  We have several others, and this one was small and not producing much.
When we came back in July from the States, the little paw paw tree had grown and was FULL of fruit.  
We all knew that it had to come down,
it was blocking the sun to the solar panels.  
 But the project wasn’t yet completed…
 And every day as the worked continued
Salvador got more and more upset…
"How you gonna cut down this tree?"  
So we decided to wait until there was no alternative.
In the meantime, the jokes began…
we had Green Paw Paw at every meal
(thinking that using up the Paw Paw would make it less painful to cut the tree down) 
We affectionately renamed our everyday recipes
“Solar Curry” or “Green Solar Salad”.  
You would even hear the guests joining in on the fun, 
“Please pass the Solar”. 

The project is coming to an end…the Trust house and two of the guest cabins have already been converted to solar power….so the little paw paw tree will have to be sacrificed for the
“greater good”

BUT NOT JUST YET……………soon, soon!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Shedd Aquarium comes to Karanambu!

Dr. Ilze Berzins and her team from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois came to Karanambu for a week.  They came to begin their research at Karanambu on the fish, the ponds and the water and to teach!  They brought with them two University of Guyana Biology students; Oceana and Cherylynn.  Members of the Karanambu staff from the local Amerindian villages studied side by side with the University of Guyana students.
This is what the Karanambu Trust is all about! Sharing knowledge.  Studying and preserving these wetlands for future generations.
Shedd came to us, because Karanambu offers the unique opportunity to study a complex bio-diverse system, which can be found in a this very small contained area.
Allen LaPointe is Shedd's "Director of Environmental Quality".  His specialty is water quality.  He was excited and amazed at what he found.  He kept going on about the oxygen levels in the water in the ponds.  "These Oxygen levels are so low, these fish shouldn't be able to survive, yet they are thriving!"
Dr. Chuck Knapp, Director of Conservation and Research and Senior Aquarist Dan Lorbeskeat from Shedd, took pictures of the over 40 species that they found over the few days they were here. It was a challenge to set up a photo box under these conditions in this environment.  Luckily we had brought some foamcore with us when we moved here....from old art projects!
Oceana, one of the students from the University of Guyana learned how to take skin scrapings and gill samples from Dr. Ilze.
How amazing to see a microscope in use in the Trust House!  Diane envisioned this years ago, and now it is coming to fruition.
Shedd also brought a Rain Gauge and a Temperature & Humidity Monitor. The beginnings of a Meteorological Station that will provide baseline data for future researchers!  And all computerized!!
The visit was over all too soon, but they'll be back in the dry season to compare their findings with the rainy season!

YAY Shedd....