UPDATE...A Plea for help - 5-21-2019! Please read the following and do what you can...
The following email I received just yesterday from our friend Mark, who rented our cabin when we lived in Florence. This is a legitimate plea for help and we support him in every way we can. Please take a minute and read Mark's nephew's story and give what you can if it so moves you. Thanks.
The following brief letter from my nephew in Peru is self explanatory. If you're not familiar with his work, here's a link:
I've visited him in Peru and the scope and scale of his work is quite impressive.
Hope you're feeling charitable and are able to help.
Many thanks. Mark.
Dear friends of Camino Verde,
I'm writing to share the unfortunate news that a fire has consumed our main building at the Baltimori Reforestation Center. The large building where our staff, visitors, and volunteers have slept and shared 3 meals a day is no more. Half of our staff members lost all of their belongings in the fire, which was started by a ruptured hose running from the gas canister to the kitchen stove. The canister essentially became a flame thrower, the roof lit on fire, and the house was gone in less than an hour.
I left the day before and so was not in Baltimori at the time, but farm coordinator Olivia was close at hand and thankfully was able to ensure that nobody was endangered or injured by the fire, which nonetheless was very scary (a propane tank shooting flames up the wall). There was no time to safely recover anything, but Don Juan did manage to retrieve an additional cooking gas canister from the house before the fire had spread much, which at least reduced the danger of an explosion.
The same day of the fire (Friday), the team in Puerto responded quickly to buy groceries, a new stove, blankets (we're in the midst of a cold front), and clothing for the team mates who had lost everything. We delivered these by boat and gave hugs all around. Thankfully at the moment we have enough other roofs on the farm that we will be able to make it work as we begin to think about what comes next.
You may recall that it was a big deal having this big house built 7 years ago. It was the largest and most expensive capital project Camino Verde had undertaken up until then. The house that was lost contained thousands of dollars of kitchen implements, farm tools, books, furniture, bedding, and of course the belongings of our team. In sight of this, I am especially grateful that a friend and recent CV visitor have helped get a crowdfunding page up and running for support of the reconstruction effort:Help Rebuilding Their Regenerative Home
Amazingly, by random chance the representative of a CV partner company called me that same day of the fire to check in and found me rather distraught. An hour later his company (Pacha Soap) pledged $20k in matching funds for donations made to the rebuilding effort, which was an amazing boost of wind in the sails when it was really needed and appreciated.
It has made an enormous difference to me to feel the strong support of friends and supporters, to be able to feel confident that we'll be able to come back from this, and to share that confidence with our team, who have understandably been severely shaken by this. Oly and I believe there's an opportunity here: to develop a deeper bond of solidarity with our staff family. We're trying to see the positive side.
Thanks for your encouraging prayers and energy at this time. And thanks for sharing the crowdfunding campaign with those you think will want to support the effort to rebuild. We are so blessed to not be alone.
Leave Cuzco at 2 pm, 20+ hr. bus ride!!
On Cruz del Sur bus line (tourist/luxury), very comfortable...I even slept some. While it was still light out we saw fantastic vistas! High Andies mtns. and deep valleys with wonderful rivers flowing thru them! So much of our Peruvian travels has been up and over these mtns that you begin to take them for granted, but this ride was just exceptional. It's so sad that few companies offer daytime travel over these mtns! I did not take any pics this time just enjoyed since the pics just don't convey the beauty of it all! This was our last time in the Andies, now heading via plane to Iquitos and the Amazon.
Before departing we mailed a box back home, last for quite awhile. I have gotten used to seeing all the indigenous women selling their goods along the streets and markets so much so that I forget they are actually quite unique. Always working on something with their hands, be it spinning wool or knitting or weaving or just taking care of their kids (both human and sheep - actually, lambs, ha! or they will have a llama with them for picture opps).
Now in Lima at Flying Dog Hostel again, seems this place is kinda like home.