Nuestra Casa

posted by Ariella Jew on September 18th, 2013

myself and nicky with the kids, showing them how to up-cycle toilet paper rolls into seed pots, and planting ginger.

myself and nicky with the kids, showing them how to up-cycle toilet paper rolls into seed pots, and planting ginger.

So, as you know we are currently on the transitional move to a mountain land, and in the meantime, have shifted focus to reaching out to a local school and its children. We have had three classes so far, one a week, and are focusing on using our facilities as educational launch points. Some things we have already introduced are the gardens and fruit trees, composting sites, humanure toilets, greywater systems, and involving the children in activities such as Yoga and playing music together and have even ventured into meditation. Our last class was almost all three year old's, a bit younger than our last two classes, so we switched up from the marker and board, to a theatrical play! Led by Nicky, a local Peruvian volunteer, she designed a story communicating the essence of treating "Nuestra Casa" or "Our House," Mother Earth, with respect, for it is our home and to be shared. While we are with the kids, acting out our various roles, Jimmy is in the kitchen, whipping up some healthy jungle magic for the little ones, simultaneously teaching healthy eating and nourishing their growing bodies. It's truly a party of absolute potential, to not only see the youth of the surrounding area be so interested in what it is we are doing, but their teachers as well. The grand plan is to make way for funding so that this center we are at, becomes a community beacon for positive change. Poco a poco!
some moringa seedlings standing tall, amongst collards, pok choy, cayenne, and mustard greens…

some moringa seedlings standing tall, amongst collards, pok choy, cayenne, and mustard greens…

All this being said, I (ralphito) have made Paititi my home as of about three months ago. I moved here from Florida, after many vivid dreams in ceremony and also from the gut feeling I was sitting with constantly ever since receiving my PDC here last year… that it's not a matter of if I will return, but when. Our dear friend and perma super star, Faanito, took an opportune chance at seeing life in it's many other forms elsewhere, leaving a blazing trail of projects waiting to be taken over and continued. Together with the current volunteers, we have revived the compost systems, cleaned up the seed house and planted out about 600 seeds, dried thousands of Quail Grass seeds, and are currently working on replacing the water filter system. Today, we up potted about 50 Cacao plants to get them a bit taller before planting them out in specified areas. Point being in explaining all of these many tasks? There is still plenty going on in the permaculture front, and the gate for volunteers to come through has opened up once again!
Something I was quite fond of back at home was being with the wild weeds. After being introduced to Spanish Needle, Spiderwort, Sida, Dandelion, Plantain, Yarrow, Nettles, and so on, I became a very huge fan. To put it shortly, they are medicinally loaded with healing powers, and most can be used as foods as well! In coming to Perú, my wild weed eyes haven't slowed down their longing one bit. I was immediately greeted with loads of plantain in Lima, yet since arriving in the Amazon region, I am now in a new ballpark… I feel I am always coming across a look-a-like of Dandelion or some other wild edible, but to me disappointment, it is not what I wish it to be.
So, one day I am enjoying the watering of the plants in the nursery, and Isiais (dubbed by his friends, Ishako), was walking by. He, alongside his cousin Gabicho and his father Arnulfo, are the guardians and fellow land managers at Paititi. As he walked by, I had the sudden idea to ask an Amazonian local about the wild plant before me. He quickly came to a smile and started pointing out ways to prepare it, what it treated and its names! I almost lost it. I ran up the stairs to the volunteer house, got my notebook, and as best as I could, followed his words with my broken spanish and took down names and locations. He then told me that one of these days, a wild plant walk through the jungle can happen, and he would be happy for it.
My plan is that a fully detailed and photograph aided Amazonian wild weed guide awaits you, my friends! In the meantime, get to know your bioregion's wild plants! My dear friend and fellow weed lover, Green Dean, runs an amazing website of great informative posts and videos concerning this very topic. Check it out at www.eattheweeds.com
Salud, Ralphito