The Kalu Yala Blog

Building In The Jungle

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January 30, 2012

by Alex Goff
Posted In: Adventures in the Tropics, Designing the Village

So my first week in “The Valley” has gone extremely well and it looks as it will only continue to get better.  The motivation from everyone to work and get things done is amazing and is a sign that big things will happen in the next couple of months.

When we got to the Valley site there were some posts in the ground to put a tarp up, some benches,  tables and a few other posts that weren’t serving much of a purpose. At first, it seemed ok, until that night when someone put a hammock up on a post that was in very poor condition.  This resulted in a funny but unfortunate collapse of the post and some shelving that was used to keep tools on.  It seemed bad at first but the next day proved that it was a sign of good things to come.  Not only did we fix the damage caused by the collapse but we improved the base camp quite a bit. We put in many new posts, harvested on site, to form out a new base camp building. We also began putting things up such as palm leaf roofing for shade and bamboo walling. I would like to see the base camp look like a melting pot of different ideas of using local materials to build structures.  I am very excited about the idea of building structures from wood materials found on the property instead of buying in bulk from a lumber yard or using some other kind of material.

I am even more excited for our next trip to the valley on Tuesday.  We have gotten a plot of land cleared out by our wonderful neighbor Catalino that we are going to use for agriculture purposes and the first order of business is to put up a green house.  This green house will be built using the same methods we have used for base camp by using bamboo that is growing in the area.  I also have some plans to work with some of my fellow interns on building some different compost units and a bee hive as well, hopefully using as much onsite material as possible.


Interns resting under some well-earned shade

As for my project I will be looking into  potential areas for growing coffee at the Kalu Yala property in the Valley.  I have been exploring a lot of the property and have already found some potential areas but more research is needed. I will be heading to Boquete next month to see some coffee operations and see the areas and techniques the Panamanians are employing.  I will also  to be looking into how the Panamanian coffee farmers are dealing with the coffee boring beetle, and will be seeing how it could be fought with organic pesticides.

Alex Goff

3 Responses to “Building In The Jungle”

  1. Grandma says:

    Bravo Alex.
    Keep up the good work
    Love and kisses

  2. Ciro says:

    Hey man!

    Everything you are doing sounds truly amazing. I would love to see some more pictures that show more about the methods you are using such as “palm leaf roofing, and bamboo walling.” I do love the one picture you have though showing the beginning of the structure.

    Cant wait to here more man!

    One love,


  3. Jean-Paul says:

    These look like very fun and educative projects making you dig into your imagination and inventiveness.
    Great going,