Tiny Bamboo House

Step for step development of the new bamboo tiny house at PermaTree. Its a 6 x 3 meters tiny natural house. The roof is in tin the most used roof solution in the region here. The bottom structure is wood and the main house structure is 100% guadua bamboo. It took us a while to figure out how to build a strong structure.

The wooden floor we are most likely going to paint with some color. Probably a nice warm blue – so it will last longer. We need to do some further improvement for the floor structure in terms of how the weight is distributed. For those interested into each step there is a slideshow video on our youtube channel or the same photos in this short blog post here.

Most pictures have been taken with sun – but bear in mind that tropical climate is 3 times a day – tropical rain 🙂 Even more now in the so called rainy season. Thats why one of the biggest challenges with this construction was that the bamboo does not soak too much humidity/water from the heavy rain. We had to use huge plastics to cover up during the night and the days where the rain did not stop. To prevent from the worst.

You may have noticed that there are no walls yet just the structure. Well its not priority Nr.1 to finish the walls. The most important part was to get the roof done. Currently we are trying to finish some other projects witch are more important if compared.

Due to the tropical weather even if the natural material stays dry, thank the big roof there is a risk. Its called “polilla” its a small insect which eats the bamboo or wood. Similar to the termites which are also active around the house. So all the bamboo and wood parts got a treatment, its a liquid which prevents the polilla and the termites to eat the natural construction.

Okay this is not with the tin-roof on top. The next photo is from inside with the spectacular view.

What you see here is the Valley of  “Yantzaza” means “FireFlies” in Shuar language. And yes we do have quite a few fireflies at night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week of March 2017 at PermaTree

A week in 2017 at PermaTree

So this has been an interesting week, to say the least. And on behalf of many volunteers and visitors asking what we do here at PermaTree and how a week of tropical farm work looks like, here the summary of the last week of March of the year 2017.

permatree 28march End of Another Day Walking Down to the finca

Monday 27th March

Chris finished planting 3 Bamboo “estacas” for each of the almost 1000 Guanabana fruit trees. Chris and Audrey also started to dig the entrance path for the new volunteer Bamboo structure. After that they went and started to cut off more of this awful fast growing pasture which we have here too. After dinner we did a killer yoga session.

Tuesday 28th March

It rained hard but we started the day transplanting 3 quite big coconut trees. The young helpers from the local school arrived in the afternoon and helped us a little to cut down grass with machetes. Btina found time to transplant a few vegetables to the main vegetable garden. We are preparing a second vegetable garden below the chickens because of the great chicken compost falling directly into the garden bed. Audrey and Chris found time to start building a prolongation of the existing recycled tire stairs heading to the main water tank.

Wednesday 29th March

Chris finished to dig the natural swimming pool water drainage which flows now down well. Audrey cleaned the 103 recycled tires staircase pineapple plantation from all of the growing weeds.

Thursday 30th March

In the morning we went to plant two giant Bamboo higher in the property to secure a creek which has lots water. Currently we have been able to plant 4 giant Bamboo there. It took us a while to get there. Chris and myself transporting one big Bamboo and Audrey all the tools we needed there like Machete, Gancho, Shovel etc. Getting there we noticed that the water pipe of the stream which passes under the access road was clogged so we Doug out all of the earth, sand and rocks until it was clean again.

Thursday Afternoon

In the afternoon after another success-fool-lunch we transplanted a few grown-up vetiver perennial bunchgrass (Chrysopogon zizanioides) which we had initially planted about 8 month ago. Some of this vetiver gras had grown taller than 2 meters high so it was time to split it and transplant it where it was more needed like near the natural swimming pond and on the sides of the 200m long drainage canal. After this we planted Mani aka peanut. If they grow well we can make our own peanut butter. This is a fantastic source of good fats for the diet. The more good fats the better here on the farm. After dinner we had a super tasty chicha drink – a fermented beverage derived from the fruit of the local chonta palm.

Friday 31th March

After the breakfast we harvested some of the great tasting yellow cacao which they call “Cacao Nacional” here in Ecuador. Before that we went to harvest some papayas and plantains higher up in the property. Early afternoon the first truckload of Carlos beach sand compost arrived – a total of 12 m3. The initial plan was to explore the PermaTree waterfalls before Audrey continues here travels but heavy rainfall changed this brilliant plan. We cooked some delicious home-made plain simple bread – without oven. Chris and Cunanchi digged all the 30 holes for the new maracuya-pole-plantation-structure near the 1st “plan”. Audrey and myself went to get some essential foods which run out at the farm, in Yantzaza.

Saturday 1st April

Lunch was the highlight of the whole month! Pizza “casera” all home made and naturally extremely tasty. Lucky us we got some of the tasty local cheese again – its bern a few month without since we found some of it. After our ritual super fruit breakfast we headed to Yantzaza to get a few things and drop Audrey at the terminal aka bus station. While heading home we stopped at Madras place before entering the village of Los Encuentros where we purchased 6 mid size mix race type guinea pigs with one ñapa aka gift guinea pig. They will have a key function at PermaTree – eat the grass and create fresh compost for our plant to grow happy.

 

Saturday Afternoon 1st April

The afternoon started when Carlos phoned and told us he was to be expected within 10 minutes with the 2nd truckload of Rio Zamora beach sand material for further fertilization purposes. Then Chris and myself planted another giant Bamboo at a key place between the creek and the 2nd “plan”. We fished two fruit trees which have been parked below the 1st pond due to their not so healthy looks back then – about 4 month ago, and finally  transplanted them between all the existing growing food forest. Having now the new beach sand fertilizer we started pouring some of it at every fruit tree and Bamboo.

Sunday 2nd April

We will be Market day in El Pangui because the organic produce arrives just all 14 days in Yantzaza so we go to El Pangui. Here we will pick up our new volunteer Maddie which wanted to arrive Saturday but the bus trip took something like 3 hours longer than what they forecasted so we had to adjust the planning.

Between most of those works we have had  multiple trips to Yantzaza and Los Encuentros for current projects and future projects… 🙂 our days start rather early for some nocturnal people, at 05:55 and normally we are back sleeping at 21:00 o clock. Good sleep is as essential like good food for a good farm work day. Speaking climate wise we had more rain than usual because we are currently in the rainy season now.

 

Another week at Finca PermaTree

It is the end of the week again, and we are sited down commemorating the success of the last seven days work.

Photo Update:

Video Update: 4×4 going down!

What Did We Do?

  • Brainstorming Ideas For Next Week

idea-board

  • Tire Recycling Project. (Saturday, 3rd December)

With lots of plastic around the world being dumped on to the streets, water and soil causing pollution, we decided to do a small plastic recycle project on the farm to give you an idea about how you can recycle tires lying around in your compound.

Steps:

  1. Wash and paint the tire after drying. You could decide to cover it with a piece of cloth instead.
  2. Cut a circular shape from a piece of wood. (Should be able to fit perfectly on top of the tire.)
  3. Put glue on top of the circular wood shape.
  4. Starting in the middle, create winding patterns (in circles), with big string from the center until the edge of the circle.
  5. Place glue on the top of the wheel and settle the bottom of the wood (without string) on top of it. Hold it there till it dries.

And now, you got yourself a recycled tire chair or table :).

  • Repair The Water System (Sunday, 4th December)

Yesterday afternoon, a water pipe started leaking, and we had to close its’ outlet from the water tank. Today afternoon, after buying organic fruits and vegetables from the farm, we did head uphill to fix the issue. It so happened that there was a lot of air pressure, and so we had to open up a couple of valves and also do clean the water

  • Planting Papayas, and making a tire staircase (Monday, 5th December)
  1. The day kicked off with a few nutrition and cooking video shoots.
  2. We planted papaya trees along the way. (From the nursery bed).
  3. We later on constructed a tire staircase.
  4. Porotillo trees, were bought to be planted as a living fence.
  • Steps Towards Building A Community Following

Focused On;

:::::Permaculture practices

:::::Nutrition and Cooking

:::::Recycling projects

Shout Out To Online Global Community Using;

::: Website & Blog (Content & SEO)

::: Facebook posts & engagement (Group & Page)

::: Twitter

::: Pinterest (Infographics linked to Blog Posts)

::: You Tube

::: Slide Share

Volunteering In The Amazonas, Ecuador

Infographic: Volunteering In The Amazonas, Ecuador

idea-board

Project Update: Week (28 November – 4 December 2016)

”Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.” – Khalil Gibran

It is the end of the week again, and we are sitted down commemorating the success of the last seven days work.

What Did We Do?

  • Repair The Water System

Yesterday afternoon, a water pipe started leaking, and we had to close its’ outlet from the water tank. Today afternoon, after buying organic fruits and vegetables from the farm, we did head uphill to fix the issue. It so happened that there was a lot of air pressure, and so we had to open up a couple of valves and also do clean the water

  • Brainstorming Ideas For Next Week

idea-board

  • Tyre Recycling Project. 

With lots of plastic around the world being dumped on to the streets, water and soil causing pollution, we decided to do a small plastic recycle project on the farm to give you an idea about how you can recycle tyres lying around in your compound.

Steps:

  1. Wash and paint the tyre after drying. You could decide to cover it with a piece of cloth instead.
  2. Cut a circular shape out of wood that fits perfectly on the top of the tyre.
  3. Put glue in the centre of the circular wood, and with thread, make continuous spirals from the centre, round and round till the edge of the wood. (Now the wood should be soft to sit on).
  4. Place the base of the wood without string on top of the wheel.

Now you got yourself a new seat or table.

permatree-project

Bamboo cabana

The building chronology of the PermaTree bamboo cabana in the amazonas region of Ecuador in South America. Harvesting, Transporting, Planning, Building …

permatree bamboo HQ ecuador amazonaspermatree bamboo HQ ecuador amazonas

permatree bamboo HQ ecuador amazonaspermatree bamboo HQ ecuador amazonas

All photos in chronological order:

  1. Harvesting bamboo during good moon – means during the 6th and 8th day after full moon, between 12pm and 6am = lowest starch content!
  2. Transporting – After the cutting of the giant bamboo during night it was time to transport them from the river to the nearest road which was about only 400 meters by foot but took as good 2 days of work to get all of the 30 bamboos there.
  3. We had to pre-cut some of them which where longer than 30 meters for the better transport with the small truck and to have the right size for the cabana. The first transport went well until we arrived on the new build road of the finca and there after a few bumps all of the bamboos just fell down and we had to push them into the truck again to get them to the nearest location to the cabana. The truck looked funny from the side because the bamboo was 3 times longer the the actual size of the truck 🙂
  4. Cabana planning sessions with the white board – old school – yes. But indeed practical.
  5. Cabana structure is build with chontaduro palm which grow all over the finca and are heavily used in this region for building pillars because they are such a hard material and dont have any issues with the high humidity.
  6. On top of the chontadura palm come the giant bamboo trunks and some wood trunks to be able to nail the floor on it. (update: this was an error.)
  7. In the mean time the property road access is almost done. There have been setback because of the heavy rain during the last weeks but nerveless half of the road is good with rocks and the rest still a raw dirt road which cannot by access by car unless we have more than 3 days of sun.
  8. During the last weeks we also installed a water catchment system from higher in the river property and got the electric cables connected to the cabana from the grid. We did dig the solar option but with the current politics here in Ecuador everything which is imported costs min. 45% more than the normal price so the batteries which are needed for a solar installation cost more than the solar panels themselves… so sadly here solar makes currently absolutely no sense. Lets hope that this will change and the the solar technology will improve even further in near future.

13260271_1025713137514710_3635847550452739341_n

13331047_1026317527454271_6363439413730062366_n

13237859_1026317444120946_215819123459758440_n   13406992_1033524176733606_274150920114941587_n

Screenshot 2016-06-22 at 4.12.02 AM

Screenshot 2016-06-22 at 4.06.09 AM 13417660_1038594946226529_5115370625512936943_n 13423823_1038595032893187_7330888874034451116_n  13442253_1038595006226523_3298117462460580374_n 13445231_1034322696653754_7557257200503459139_n 13466020_1038594956226528_8044988040281496733_n

13502065_1038595019559855_6981337036936020931_n

13433138_1034692923283398_669451971723608639_o

PermaTree photo impressions

PermaTree landscape panorama Zamora Chinchipe Ecuador

The amazing landscape view from PermaTree temporal HQ-cabana where we can see the Zamora river which later enters the great Amazonas river.

PermaTree WaterFall jungle nature water ecuador

One of the many waterfalls which we discovered within the PermaTree property more than 1 hour walk 🙂

 

PermaTree chontaduro Palm jungle Ecuador

The Chontaduro Palm tree (Bactris gasipaes) is endemic to the region of Zamora Chinchipe in Ecuador. It is a long-lived perennial plant which is productive during 50 to 75 years on average. It has a rapid juvenile growth (1.5 – 2 m per year)!  The fruits are edible and very nutritious but need to be cooked for 3–5 hours. It contains as much protein as eggs, liposoluble vitamins, zinc, cooper, calcium, iron, beta-carotene and helps lowering cholesterol levels, due to its high contents of omega 3 and 6. Perhaps that’s the reason why people who eat it frequently point Chontaduro as a natural energy booster.

PermaTree jugle tree canopy Ecuador

Another magical spot where the tree canopy is well visible. Lucky us this place was not clear cut for corn or for some other kind of monoculture crop like other places within the farm which will need a few years heeling time.

PermaTree Yellow Bamboo Banana Cacao Creek River

Yellow bamboo bordering the fresh water creek and babana orito palm with cacao / cocoa trees.

 

Found a property in Ecuador!

After a literally long and intense exploration and research during more than 600 days (2 years)! Which we started in Paraguay back in 2014 and then went to Bolivia. From there to Colombia where we finally decided to explore Ecuador.

property exploration1 PermaTree Property Hike property exploration2 property exploration4

We are very proud and happy and thankful to announce that we finally found and bought a property in Ecuador, South America to start with our vision for PermaTree. And so exited of course! Finally!!! 🙂

Honestly the last few month have been exhausting. Property purchase negotiations have been never-ending. For the first few months in Ecuador we had no own car and where renting one or driving with the taxi around witch was a bit of struggle. It was very challenging to find some decent renting place in the region. They have attempted to break-in twice into the house we are renting. Our legal 6-Month-Tourist-VISA was running out of time. Parts of our material is still stuck in Bolivia since 11 month now. The postal service in Ecuador is rather experimental there are no postal codes in use and no street numbers … we are waiting for official documents from Switzerland since now 7 weeks and nobody knows where it is and if or when it will arrive.

Once again we very lucky to have found fantastic new friends in the local community which have been supporting us. Thank you to our friends from the coast Lida y la familia Mieles (Quinta Guadalupana), Piet Sabbe (Bosque de Bambu), Peter from Terra Frutis (vegan community not far from us in Gualaquiza) and Etelvina, Henry, Don Rey, Lorena, “los amigos” and Max (the dog) from beautiful El Pangui and Loja region.
As always: “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

Property Facts

Our little permaculture farm in Ecuador – We where searching for min. 50 to max. 200 Has and found 76 Has matching to all the other search criteria. It takes about 3 hours to walk around the property. It starts at 800 meters above the sea level and ends at about 1300! It’s located at the edge of the Sierra (Andes mountain range which stretch 1800 kilometers from north to south, along the west coast of the continent) and the Oriente (Amazonas region) in Ecuador. So the property is part of the Andes mountain range  and part of the Amazon River Basin which covers a total covers an area of about 7,500,000 km2 or roughly 40% of the South American continent.

PermaTree overview_property_76has

There is one bigger creek and about 4 water streams (ojos de agua) which start within the property like the bigger creek. So there should be no water quality issues. There is at least one waterfall of a few meters – we need to explore this a bit better. Currently there are no roads on the property itself. The access to the property is directly from the newly build highway traveling north to south Amazon Road (E45) “Troncal Amazónica”. From Quito its about 8.5 hours straight driving in a car. There are may public buses which travel from all the directions to there but they take more time because they stop very often normally. There are daily flights from Quito to Cuenca and from Cuenca its about 3-4 hours straight without the finalized road which is still being build right now as we speak. There are also airports near Yantzaza and Gualaquiza which have flights to Puyo. Alternative would be by boat via the river Zamora but we haven’t tried that option yet.

Our Main Focus with PermaTree:

  • Researching and implementing sustainable lifestyles
  • Food forest – A permaculture forest garden mimics the architecture and beneficial relationships of a natural plant/animal community that occurs in that climate. Food forests are designed and managed ecosystems that are very rich in biodiversity and productivity
  • Seed bank – seed exchange
  • Collaborative Community – Language and sustainable living exchange
  • Conservation – All the current left over forest areas will be from now on nature reserve
  • Analog Reforestation – re-vegetating depleted soil with flora that mimic the role of original native species to bring back natural vs. anthropogenic harmony
  • Transparency  – Open information / Open source – share information

Soil Type

The property has been used for more than 10 years for almost pure growing cows from pasture. The pasture soil is degraded after years of pasture only for cows and more than enough use of agrochemical POISON (multinationals Monsanto / Syngenta) to kill all the other kinds of natural “weed” / plants etc … Currently no signs of soil erosion which is good enough other issues.

The soil type is very diverse because of all the micro climates depending of the altitude within the property.

Our focus with PermaTree is to regenerate the soil:

  • Harvesting worm compost to create new rich soil with earth worms
  • Secure water – with Bamboo reduces rain run-off and downstream flooding and retains water within the watershed

Climate: Tropical

The PermaTree property is located between Yantzaza and El Pangui in the province of Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador. This region has a tropical climate. There is significant rainfall. Even in the driest month there is a lot of rain. This climate is considered to be Af according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. The average annual temperature in Yantzaza is 22.7 °C. Precipitation here averages 1959 mm.

Climate Table Annual Temperature

Climate Graph Annual Rainfall
Source: http://en.climate-data.org/location/25493/

 

Existing Fruit Trees and Edible Plants

A good indicator of the soil is that currently there are about 25 to 50 fruit trees and edible plants on the property: Cacao, Sweet Lemon, Lemon, yellow and red Bananas, Platano, Yuca, Guayabana, Guaba, Mango, Sugarcane, Chonta palms, Papaya, Corn, Coffee and Naranjilla also called “little orange” etc.

 

Planed Food Forest

For our planned food forest we are also ready to start to plant many Coconut palms, Avocados, Orange, Lemon, Lime, Pomelo (Grapefruit), Durian, Zapote, Pineapple, Moringa, Katuk, Tobacco, Aloe, Tumeric, Ginger, Lemongrass, Laurel, Pumpkin (grow like crazy), Higo, Frijoles y Porotos (beans), wild cherry Tomatos and Babaco which is a “Mountain Papaya”, Mangosteen, Jackfruit, Snakefruit, Bolivian cherimoya, Artocarpus odoratissimus (fruta de pan), Surinam cherry, max. different Banana diversity and many many more.

🙂

Coconut Palms

We have been told by the previous owners that the property had coconut palms but did not plant any and so the existing ones just died. The neighbors have plenty of coconut palms so this will be one of the first task we are going to do is to plant about 50 coconut palms which already have a height of about 1 meter today. Back in Bolivia a landlocked country located 3000km further south we saw many coconut palm trees and since then we decided that we want to plant as many as possible on the PermaTree property.

 

Native Seed Hunt In Ecuador

One of the biggest challenges here in Ecuador is the hunt for native seeds. Believe me it’s not easy. I have been seed hunting in Gualaquiza, Cuenca, Guayaquil, Quito and Ibarra. It’s almost hilarious that the agrochemical multinationals also sell GMO seeds and those are the most common used…  🙁

Red De Guardianes De Semillas ecuador

It’s not all lost yet but you have to hunt for the local organic seeds. We discovered in Quito the very well organized Seed Saver Network (RGS – La Red de Guardianes de Semillas del Ecuador) which sells and exchanges local organic seeds. They are a Non-Profit Organization, established in November 2002. Currently there are more than 300 members in the RGS network which share their seeds. RGS also trains farmers to save seeds, providing a national platform for seed preservation, creating an effective network between campesinos and educating activists nationwide to conserve biodiversity and promote food sovereign.

Happy us. Another great source for tropical / exotical fruit seed in Ecuador is the Guaycuyacu farm of Jim West there is a great article about them here on issuu. Thanks to Piet Sabbe from Bosque de Bambu for indicating great local bamboo sources. Soon we are going with a friend to visit some different Shuar communities in the depth of the Amazonas region which could help us to find some more native seeds which the Colonos (local colonists) do not use any more.

 

Forest

There is sadly zero “primary forest” left. Primary forest refers to untouched, pristine forest that exists in its original condition. This forest has been relatively unaffected by human activities. In Ecuador there is VERY little primary forest left. On our property there is NONE left. Neither is there secondary forest. Most likely the remaining forests of the PermaTree property are third-growth. They remaining forest cover, is located mainly at inaccessible areas.

wwf_map_of_deforestation_front

WWF has drawn on projections in the Living Forests Model, a major literature survey and interviews with dozens of experts around the world to identify 11 places with major deforestation fronts, highlighted in this map. These places are where the bulk of global deforestation is projected to take take place over the two decades, from 2010 to 2030.

amazon-rainforest-map-2013

Ecuador, is a relatively small country with the total size of 270’000 km2, had historically 132’000 km2 of pure jungle. While blessed with one of the highest biodiversity indices, Ecuador also has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation estimated at over 300’000 hectares (3%) per year. 

yago deforestation ecuador

Only about 5% remain of the rich forests of the coastal region, most of which have been destroyed in the last 50 years by mining, logging, agroindustrial monocultures (banana, cacao, coffee, African palm) and colonization. According to Ecuador’s Environmental Ministry, 65’880 hectares of land are deforested in the country each year. The country’s illegal timber trade is worth around 100 million dollars, and represents up to 70% of wood transported out Ecuador’s remaining rainforest.

btina deforestation ecuador

According to satellite imagery analyzed by the watchdog group IMAZON, Amazon deforestation in 2014 and into the beginning of 2015 had more than doubled compared with the same time period a year earlier.

A interesting historical detail here is that the single largest contributor to deforestation in Ecuador were the Agrarian Reform Laws (1964, 1972) which promoted the colonization of “vacant” (forest) land as the solution to relieve social pressures caused by inequitable (feudal) land distribution, while expanding the agricultural frontier and subsidizing the growth of export-oriented industrial agriculture. The “Green Revolution” (GR) was included in the Agrarian Reform package which the U.S. government sponsored throughout Latin America as part of the “Alliance for Progress” in the 1960’s.
Source: Causes and consequences of deforestation in Ecuador

 

Wildlife / Biodiversity

Ecuador is a country with a varied terrain resulting in a variety of habitats for animal life. Ecuador’s birdwatching is legendary. In the entire country of Ecuador, there are an estimated 1600 species of birds. In the Ecuadorian Amazon region, you will find: 800 species of fish, including three sorts of piranhas, 350 Species of reptiles, including anacondas and iguanas, more than 300 species of mammals, including monkeys and jaguars. Thousands of species of plants and trees. Thousands of species of insects: one acre of rainforest may be home to 70,000 species of insect!

Although in theory Ecuador has one of the highest biodiversity indices in reality so far we saw a one white rabbit! And many types of birds of which some are yellow and blue and other Eagle / mice buzzards. Many insects apart from the Mosquitoes, Ants, Worms, Dasypus “armadillo”. We need to explore much more the existing wildlife.

One explication for this situation is that Ecuador has been buildings lots of excellent roads even into the amazon basin. The building of oil roads into the Amazon has led to unsustainable indigenous hunting, fed an illegal bushmeat market, possibly facilitated the pet trade, and is emptying rainforests of wildlife.
Source: mongabay

 

Water

“Water is the new oil” quote T. Boone Pickens. The Global Economic Forum identifies water crises as the third most serious risk the world faces in 2014. In just a few years from now in 2025, 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity, and 2/3 of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions!

projected water scarcity in 2025
Source: FEW

Multinationals like Nestle (Switzerland) and Coca Cola (USA) know this since a while and have been buying up all water sources on the entire globe. So don’t forget if possible to boycott companies like Nestlé and Coca-Cola! It’s the best thing you can do for yourself anyway. You health and your teeth will improve shorty after stopping to consume that kind of commercial poison.

yago water ecuador

Knowing that water is today and even more in future a serious key factor for survival we have had a strong focus on having enough water but not too much. This may sounds funny but we have been in places where there was no water and in other places where there was so much water that almost nothing grew because of to much water. So here again it’s all about finding a harmony.

waterfall btina 2016 ecuador

This is why we focused our search in Ecuador and specifically in the province of Zamora-Chinchipe. The climate is almost perfect; not to fresh during night, good sun during the day but also clouds and some hours of rain (check the climate info). So a little of everything it’s hot but not to hot like in Paraguay with 49 degrees Celsius. It’s fresh but not so fresh like in Bogota where after every visit I have a slight cold.  There are also less inhabitants in Zamora-Chinchipe. No serious worries compared to the coastal region of Ecuador where the food is great but there is increasing insecurity and locals tend to move to other regions if they can which is a good indicator.

 

Bamboo

There is already some yellow bamboo by the stream. We plan to plant a lot of different bamboo types along the river on a total distance of about 1000 meters or more.

Green Bamboo Leafs

Most varieties grow about 5 cm a day, and will reach their full height within one growing season. Certain species of bamboo can grow 90 cm within one day, at a rate of 3 cm/h!

Did you know that Bamboo produces 35% more Oxygen than Trees?

Unlike most tree species, harvesting bamboo does not kill the plant, so topsoil erosion and other adverse effects of tree-felling are kept to a minimum.

 

 

 

 

Our PermaTree exploration status

Our journey exploring for a suited property for the PermaTree-project has taken us traveling in Central and Latin America. It has been quite a trip so far. The more we travel, the more we have been learning. The better we have been able to focus on what we believe will be we need to be looking for.

It kind of all started while exploring the beautiful Central American country Costa Rica. For us it was clear that it was to near to the US so we started with our exploration first in Paraguay which is one of the least known countries within South America. It’s a bit like the how the Wild West was back in the old days most likely. But climate wise not at all what we where looking for. You can read about our Paraguay Retro Perspective here.

2014, March

All of Costa Rica – 4 weeks exploration

2014, August

Zürich, Suiza -> Sao Paolo, Brasil


Asuncion, Paraguay
Villarica, Paraguay
Nueva Colombia, Paraguay
Paraguary, Paraguay
Filadelfia, Paraguay
Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay


Ibibobo, Villa Montes, Bolivia
Samaipata, Bolivia

2015, January to December

Rurrenabaque, Bolivia
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia


Santa Cruz de la Sierra -> La Paz -> Lima -> Bogotá, Colombia
Bogotá, Colombia
Santa Marta, Colombia
Cartagena, Colombia
Medellin, Colombia
Armenia, Colombia


Cali, Colombia -> Esmeraldas, Ecuador
Esmeraldas -> Mompiche, Ecuador
Mompiche -> Esmeraldas -> Puerto Viejo -> Oviedo
Oviedo -> Guayaquill, Ecuador
Guayaquil -> Quito -> Tena
Tena -> Macas
Macas, Ecuador
Macas -> Quito -> Ibarra
Ibarra, Ecuador
Lita, Ecuador
Mindo, Ecuador

2016

November 2015 status update

After exploring for almost 90 days Colombia it was time for us to move on. The retro perspective about Colombia will follow a little later for those who wish to read about our experiences and findings there.

Now we started to explore Ecuador. Which is about 4 to 5 times the size of Switzerland (47000 sq km). What we have seen so far seems very promising after the first 14 days. As you may know we started our exploration for PermaTree the 1st August 2014 in Paraguay then Bolivia and then Colombia. But we are not yet in the regions of Ecuador we want to explore more deeply. Next box stop is the city of Guayaquil located in the south near to Peru bordering the coast of the great Pacific Ocean.

Cacao-Pods-Oldmedo

So far the tropical winter climate was really good for us. Not too cold 😉 it seems that anything grows here also we have seen all tropical fruits from Colombia in Ecuador too so the diversity is absolutely given. Bamboo seems to be the main construction material for humble people this is another interesting detail. Of course the bamboo grows absolutely everywhere and very fast so it’s a sustainable construction material which can be used for furniture, bridges, food and many other uses we have seen so far.

In Ecuador our beloved Chicha drink is also something people still do consume even there is commercial beer available everywhere but the natural Chicha is the preferred alternative for us. We have been eating every day other typical Ecuadorian food and it reminded us a lot about the so rich and tasty Asian dishes. Lots of rice, fish, vegetables, eggs, corn, cacao, banana, platano, citrus fruits, meat and lots of peanut called “mani” here.

The west region of Ecuador was colonized earlier because it was more accessible than the east region bordering to the great Amazon basin. Where we will be heading after Guayaquil. 🙂

TreeOfLife in Ecuador powerd by PermaTree

Colombia so far

After, the fresh high mountains and the hot Amazonian region of Bolivia, we decided to fly over to Colombia on August 12th 2015, where the climate is more stable, over the whole year. What we’re actually looking for, after Bolivia.


For a bigger view; click on the top icon right hand.

Bogotá

bogota_colombia
Big city of Bogotá, Colombia, yago1.com

We started our journey in the fresh attitude (2500 m.o.s.l) of Bogotá. We stayed at a friends apartment on the border of the city of Bogotá. We where impressed of the size and the rather extreme weather situation. Very fresh at night and the climate can change 4 times in one afternoon from rainy to sunny to dry. Comparing to Bolivia is Bogotá a welcomed city with a high service attitude. In this case, we just enjoyed our selves, and yes the people are really friendly! Even if they are more than usual formal in the city. The city, of course, is huge. With almost 9 Mio. of population, you can find everything and the standard is even higher or equal like in Switzerland! So as well the prices. Bogotá in Colombia has become expensive.

People, not only in Bogotá, love there animals! Especial there dogs. Which was exact opposite in the high Bolivians mountains! We saw big and small dogs, with T-shirts or raincoats of all colors. Almost a Trademark in Colombia. We liked this sight, because our dog had to die in Bolivia because someone drove over him! But here in Colombia it seems different and we liked this observation.

Department Magdalena

santa_marta_colombia
Santa Marta, Colombia, yago1.com

After Bogotá, and one cold, we went to the hot Caribbean coast of Colombia. We started in Santa Marta. Originally one of the very first colonial fisher village of the sub continent. They sell rich tropical street food. Fruits like Coconut and Papaya which we liked a lot! Two days in Taganga and further to Buritaca, which are all in the Departament of Magdalena but slightly more north. There, we visited a family in the midst of the jungle. After two hours walk, witch was exhausting in the humid, hot climate of the Caribbean coast. But when we got there, it was like a little paradise, near a fresh river. A common refreshing, cooling-off the day place. We slept in a little round house with a roof of palm leaves and a fireplace in the middle, smoke against mosquitoes, and in some nice colorful hammocks. Escaping of our comfort zone, it was actually a nice experience, the first time awakening in the hammock. We liked the idea of this house – less is more.

They also had build up a dry toilet, which was really well build. With bamboo and a little palm leave roof top. Typical style of building, all done by the indigenous ethnic group, Kougi which still live in the high mountain of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia. Kougi; meaning “jaguar”.

finca_mono_colombia
Dry toilet in the mist of the jungle

banano_colombia
A other species of Bananas in the mist of jungle

A garden with full of fruit trees. But the current water problem, they have, has not changed. The absence of more then two years without rain season is not helping at all. They are almost running out of water. Thats also why, they don’t have much vegetables in there garden. Most things like chocolate and little things like soap do there on the spot. To get to the next village, they go with a donkey. In this area you can’t find any Internet connection at all, it’s in the middle of nowhere. They are actually seeking for Volunteers.

Cartagena de India

cartagena_colombia
Cartagena, Colombia, yago1.com

In Colombia you can drive almost everywhere by bus. And the prices are inexpensive. So we went from Santa Marta to Cartagena and stayed there for a few days. But actually we where looking for a nice cosy place which we couldn’t find. It’s a super touristic place especial in the old town and near the coast. Most Hotel rooms are like a bunker, without windows and low charm. We where looking over all the place and stumbled at the end on a nice hotel. The old town – Getsemani – is really nice but the rest is just not worth it.

Medellín

medellin_colombia
Cartagena, Colombia, yago1.com

We really enjoyed the climate of Medellín. The city has good vibes and the area Laureles was quite charming. We just needed a break and some chill out time and decided to to nothing big. To gain new energy because after traveling over a year now, is also tiring. A nice place where we can stay for longer like a month. In Medellín we found this 5 room Apartment which was quite nice. There was a kitchen and a big sleeping and living room. We went up with the Cableway and made some sightseeing of the City. There is actually a lot to see also the botanic garden which is more like a park.

Cafe triangle department of Quindío

armenia_colombia
La Tebaida near Armenia, Colombia

A bus drive of 6h took us from Medellín to Armenia. We even got a first class ticket which was great value. But the street has a lot of curves. We were happy when we got there! The driver of the finca took us 30 Min. out of the city in the beautiful nature. Palms of Banana and Platanos and a lots of coffee plants everywhere! Let’s see what we explore around here – stay tuned!