Finishing of the Seminar house (February / March)
Two young men make the long trip from Germany to come here and help us on lo tuyo: Florian, who just finished high school and will volunteer for us, and Jan, a carpenter. Together with William from the neighboring town Santa Cruz they finish our seminar house. In the burning heat the three of them carry heavy tropical planks out of the neighboring forest re-plantation project into high heights for the floor and roof of the house. Then they build the stairs to reach the new surface, two meters above the ground.
With simple tools and the generous financial support of the Rotary Club Friedrichshafen-Lindau the seminar house is finished.
Renewing the experimental kitchen and office (March / April)
While renewing the roof of our office building and experimental kitchen Jan shows us that he makes a good tinsmith, too: the laminations are covered completely, the load bearing planks strengthened or replaced. The whole area is widened, so that the terrace is under a roof and shaded. Parts of the roof have to be isolated from inside in order to protect the rooms inside from the heat.
The visual highlight is made by the three individually adjusted round wooden pillars which support the sides of the building.
Oil press via airmail (May)
In the experimental kitchen seminars to teach about healthy diet and the conservation of local harvests will be held. For this the Rotary Club Friedrichshafen-Lindau sponsors an Oil press. Many tropical fruits, or the seeds and nuts of these, contain valuable oils. We want to find out more about their properties and experiment with them. To get the oil press to Panama from Germany we are able to take advantage of the offer of the air company Condor, which transports excess baggage for ecological and social projects in foreign countries free of charge.
Traditional baking house (May / June)
To complement our experimental kitchen we built a traditional baking house with a clay oven and an open fireplace to cook on. For this the brothers Felix and Beto from Santa Cruz came to lo tuyo. They learned this trade from their father. The baker, who has gone blind, checks their work with his hands. The building, open to all sides, is built from wood and clay bricks, which are produced in town. The roof is covered with handmade tiles. The basis of this oven is made from clay and soil, which are stamped by foot in a mud puddle.
Restructuring the educational garden (August)
The Board of Directors member of the lo tuyo non profit association, Carola Paul (Forestry engineer) and Achim Berger (Agricultural engineer) use their time in Panama to restructure the educational garden. Parallel to the hillside, pathways define the vegetable beds and prevent erosion.
Field stones are used to plaster the main walk way. This makes a strong path along which the excess water of strong rainfalls can be directed. In the educational garden small farmers from the region can get inspiration and ideas concerning crop rotation, organic farming, composting and erosion control.
Building the sanitary facilities (August / September)
The Rotary Club Friedrichshafen-Lindau also sponsors the building of new sanitary facilities. A local builder does the hands-on work. Showers and toilets are now ready to be used by farmers who participate at seminars and have a long way home.
Tropical medicinal garden (October / November)
Wolfgang and Renate Hund from Freiburg, Germany, decide to volunteer on lo tuyo for three months. The two teachers install ten wooden flower beds for our medicinal garden. Achim Berger did the design on paper and supports and advises the implementation every day SKYPEing from Germany. Moving soil, carrying stones, measuring, cutting planks (careful, snakes and scorpions!), adjusting, sawing and beating poles into the ground. Silke Berger, who started the project lo tuyo and administrates it on site covers the path intersection with cobble stones. Our workers, José Aparicio and Felipe Rodriguez give their support not only through their never ending muscular power but also through their enthusiasm and interest in the project.
The ten beds separate plants with different healing properties, like the beds for heart and circulatory problems, are covered with thriving medicinal plants which we have collected since the beginning of the project. They are presents from friends and neighbors in Las Lajas and out of the region.
Giving away seeds
By now we have a widely spread collection of traditional useful plants. Small framers in the region as well as the local representatives of Panama’s agricultural ministry gladly and regularly take advantage of our offer of free seeds and seedlings. “I know these fruits, the last time I saw them was ten years ago on my grandmother’s finca.”
Bachelors thesis on tomato cultivation
The Board of Director’s member Kaya Berger collected the data for her bachelors thesis on the organic cultivation of tomatoes on lo tuyo in 2012. On site Hojier Carrera, our advisor in matters concerning organic farming, supported her. In April of this year Kaya finishes her studies with great success.