The Days Are Just Packed - EELs Out of Water Meet Corazones Contentos

By Elliot Blumberg 9 July, 2015

Before the ascent to the falls, EEL walked through the adjacent pastures. What a juxtaposition! Mark helps the group over some tricky boulders Baby birds wait for their mother in the nest Gabriel decides whether or not to jump over the falls... He didn’t take the leap Students in San José work side-by-side with EELs on the community garden Abhijai leads the team in fence-fixing Devon shovels manure to bring back to the garden The locals work together making a raised bed A synergistic relationship between Corazones Contentos and EEL provided San José with four raised beds! Maya passes a bamboo beam across the pool to measure its length Up until the teacher, Josh, there were no problems passing over the bridge... Though neither of the groups succeeded, spirits remained high Lider gives a thorough explanation of the continental divide - from directly on top of it A fiery caterpillar on a leaf Mark and Katie jump simultaneously over the falls

An eventful three days have passed us by!

On Tuesday, we embarked on my personal favorite hike to La Bonita Falls, where the group took a dip in the pool at the base of the cascade. This particular hike juxtaposes barren pastureland with thriving secondary forest, illustrating the differences in biodiversity, watershed health and even personal comfort. The canopy not only gives birds and monkeys fruit to eat and a home, but provides us with shade, making the forested portion of the hike infinitely more enjoyable.

Wednesday was filled with community service and team-building. In the culmination of weeks’ of hard work and community building by our directors of food production, systems and community management - Rachel and Pablo. The synergy of EEL and Corazones Contentos (Contented Hearts) provided the groundwork and grunt-work to build four raised beds for a community garden in San José. The goal of Corazones Contentos is to provide food security for every resident of the Mamoní Valley, so this was a very productive day in reaching that goal! Some EELs improved the perimeter fence, some ventured out and returned with manure, and the rest got to work with shovels and pickaxes.

After a sweaty morning, the EELs split into two groups for a team-building exercise and challenge. Their mission, should they choose to accept it (they did): to build a bridge across Centro Mamoní’s pool using nothing but bamboo, twine, and their wits. While both teams failed to build a bridge that could support everyones’ passing, their spirit and stick-to-it-ness impressed our staff immensely. Shout-out to the team captains! (We should mention that the allotted time and materials make the task near impossible).

Always a joy and never a chore is the hike to La Zahina Falls. After the platinum-standard tour of the continental divide from Lider Sucre, we ventured across the Mamoní Valley to the jump-friendliest cascade in the area. Jumping in the cool water was a welcome treat!

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