The Kalu Yala Blog

Jungle Construction: Do as the locals do

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February 19, 2012

by Alex Goff
Posted In: Adventures in the Tropics, Designing the Village, The Creation of a Culture

blog-2_0So this most recent valley trip yielded some great progress on our base camp.  The base camp is  just about finished with. It looking like a legit structure already.  We have completed all the bamboo and palm walling as well making a great palm roof.  We are basically  experimenting, but i would like to incorporate some more local knowledge into the palm roofing.  Our neighbor Catalino has a great rancho that is perfectly thatched with palm, and I have seen similar designs all over Panama as well as back home in Hawaii.

The next order of business in the “Jungle Construction” field, as well as the Agriculture program, is building a greenhouse using bamboo which will be very exciting as I will be able to replicate it on Hawaii if it is successful.  We also have to finish the last part of our roof in base camp  and few small areas here and there.  Along with these projects I would like to build a toolshed in the same style as base camp.  I believe that a toolshed will motivate people more to return the tools they use as soon as there done and provide some protection for the tools.

The projects I have planned to work on this week in the Valley are to build a vermicompost unit and a bench to put in a clearing on top of the big hill.  My vermicompost unit will be a very simple one made out of a plastic tub and thats about it. I want to have it set up near or next to the greenhouse so the compost material can be used in the starter plants but mostly to extract the liquid that builds on the bottom.  This liquid can be used as a very potent organic fertilizer, and can be formulated with certain other materials to be an organic pesticide, with potential to combat the coffee boring beetle I mentioned in a previous blog.  Now as for this bench, I plan on making a clearing at the top of the hill and putting this bench up there to create a scenic lookout where you look down upon the property and base camp as well as the surrounding region.blog-2

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