~ Empower. Inspire. Encourage. Innovate. Enhance. ~ Autorizar. Inspirar. Animar. Innovar. Realzar.~

An eye for the future How to preserve it right now.

In preparing for my trip to Nicaragua I have been researching the organization I will be working with. It is a self sustaining, organic farm, with an animal rescue/sanctuary, a reforesting project, and an eco-friendly hotel and school.

The power for electricity is solar, the have a total of 9 solar panels and the power is stored in batteries for use through the dark periods. They ask people who stay with them to not to leave things on unless they are actually using them. Which got me thinking how often the computer is on at home or the coffee pot, television, lights in a room we are going right back to…If everyone took the extra minute to power down, even unplug imagine the savings…Their internet is only available from 7am to 6pm they find that even that uses way too much power and got me thinking too about my recent deactivation from facebook. If I was not online I wouldn’t be using as much power or should I say wasting it and I would be doing more productive things with my time.

Water is a huge problem in la Concepcion, as in the rest of the world. In an effort to do their part they have built a latrine which uses absolutely no water while remaining sanitary. They also collect water in a special tank that is used to water the garden. They encourage guests to use organic products in the shower as the water is reused on the land, a rainwater collection and storage system has also been installed. Can you imagine if we actually did this in our own homes how much less water we would use per day? Water just might not be an issue if, we in the U.S.A. tried these methods. Hot water for showers and washing is also solar heated…Which is so much more safer, efficient and, less expensive then; oil, propane, gas, wood, or electric. It’s the simplest things that make the biggest impact.

They buy locally and try and wherever possible to avoid imported goods. They encourage buying all necessities from within the local community. The area is extremely poor and the belief is if they spend locally it supports the local economy which in turn supports them. It reminded me of my dad when he  vehicle shops he’s always said he’d rather pay more and buy in our town, than pay less to a stranger,  paying more locally has a better likely hood of supporting the local economy.

For reforesting they have planted more than a hundred trees on including ceiba, guanacaste and cedro, to replace some of the wood they have used. They believe in putting back. Naturally, as our world grows and develops we take some from nature but, if no one puts back eventually, there will come a day when there’s no nature left. Can you imagine a world without trees, grass, flowers? It doesn’t seem very nice or safe to me…What about clean air??

The Mariposa organic farm has been operating for a little over a year -it has been hard to get going but they aim to grow as much of their own produce as possible and hopefully have a little left over to donate to the school. They produce their own coffee, kidney beans (part of the staple diet in Nicaragua), oranges, bananas and a range of vegetables. They keep free range hens, turkeys and ducks to provide fresh eggs. A wormery provides organic compost. They serve mostly vegetables, beans, pulses, eggs, cheese, rice etc with fish and chicken for those who want it twice a week. This reminded me of my childhood when we grew our own veggies and, would can/freeze them and eat them throughout the year. Which is a more healthy and economical way of living. I am all about healthy and cheap and not buying those imported tomatoes!

They sell Nicaraguan beer and wine (boxed, from Chile). The Nicaraguan rum is very good but currently being boycotted because of the use of pesticides which is having an adverse effect on the sugar cane workers. I learned they import about five items as I mentioned the Chilean wine is one of those items and found it interesting they do not produce or sell Nicaraguan wine. I found this also true in Guatemala. Guatemalan’s produce a wine but it is a cooking style wine reminding me of Boone’s Farm (nasty) and they too, import Chilean wine.

They are an eco-hotel/school and do not set out to eliminate all insect life as they believe they are an important part of the food supply for the birds, bats etc. They recommend bringing mosquito nets and DEET (non toxic insect repellents are non toxic but less effective). This was the one thing on the list of “must brings” that struck me as odd, DEET just being one of those items we try to avoid using and they strongly recommend. Being a Maine girl this should not be a problem, however, I will be considering a lotion verses a spray, which is better for the air and, not the wipes which is better for the environment. They have a lot of wildlife including lizards, bats, birds, frogs, spiders many insects (including mosquitoes) which are all naturally controlled.

As much as possible they fix or recycle -for example plastic bottles are used to house decorative plants on the patio. Stuff that would be thrown away in the USA is mended or naturally recycled in Nicaragua. Rubbish on the streets is a huge problem, especially plastic bags but, Nicaraguans actually generate very little rubbish or pollution compared to Westerners. They ask guests not to buy snacks in plastic or aluminum foil packets. They take forever to biodegrade and made me think of my visit to the Guatemala City dump and the men and women who work there picking through the rubbish as a job. It also made me think every time we pack our sons and daughters lunches, we think we are doing this great thing making a homemade lunch but, we are polluting the earth at the same time. We just need to think!

Lots to absorb…lots of preparation, lots to put into practice at home before I even get there. I am glad I started researching early and I am excited to get down there and learn more…

[He] understood that to truly conquer a wilderness, you must not only survive in it yourself but make sense of it for others.
-Miles Harvey
The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime

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