Proyecto arbol CEPPA.

Proyecto arbol CEPPA.

I made it!!

I am back! I am back to traveling.

Here’s a run down of our project. First of all, let me explain OUR… I am traveling the first 6 months with my great great friend Josh. We will alternate volunteering experiences with just traveling. We started in Colombia moving south to Ecuador, then will head east to Brazil, South til Buenos Aires, and over to Europe afterwards. We started in San Diego where Josh grew up and we will finish in Italy where I grew up, so we both get to know each other’s childhoods and families better.

This said, I really did not have much time to write til now, always on the move and always with friends.. This week is my first week alone. I am in a vegan permaculture camp learning new things about the world we live in and how we can help it. 2 years ago I took an urban permaculture class in San Francisco with Jay blue Tape, at the Hayes Valley Art Garden, which really opened my eyes to how much we are hurting our planet and how easy it is to do better.

Last year I got more into it with the reforestation projects in Bahia and now I am really loving Proyect Arbol CEPPA.

I was part of this project for only a week unfortunately, but it for sure was an intense one! They started helping out on the Ecuadorian coast after the earthquake in April 2016, trying to bring education and permaculture to the smaller villages that have suffered the most. Usually volunteers will have a specific project to accomplish with the project, but because of the lack of time I could only help out with the other workshops and show you all some pictures!! =)

Last night I had a very nice conversation with Jorge, the starter of the project, about being vegan and empathy. I really enjoyed it. At least he gave me explanations on some of the things that I really didn’t understand about being vegan like: WHY NO HONEY????!!!!Or what about the eggs that are not going to become chickens anyways? Isn’t that a waist?                                                                                                                                He explained to me that those are products that insects and animals produce to feed themselves and not us, so for a real vegan those are out of their diet. I really respect their point of view and empathy with every living creature.

I have to say, the first day it was a bit harsh. My tent had a hole and spiders decided that that was an invitation… then even Luna (the dog) decided to join when it started raining. … Also, the level of mosquitos was just growing and growing, I really thought for a second there that I was going to finish my blood reserves by the end of the week =) but living so close to nature is absolutely amazing and it makes you forget the little things like the wasp nest under the “toilet”……..

But, seeing the milky way, cooking and eating all together, living in a very close to zero waist environment and meeting locals and learning about being a woman and birth with them was definitely worth every mosquito bite and tent spider!

Construction of the new toilet with Rachael and Jose. (the one with no wasps)

The other day we made bricks for the construction of the new kitchen. But, then it rained every day, so we are still waiting for them to dry =)

IMG_1952.jpgingredients: 1 portion of clay/dirt, 2 portions of sand, hay and water. And then Jump =)

here the video.

This is Rachael being the true hippy she is, brushing her teeth with the rain..

Here are some pictures of workshops that the amazing Esma Ldrisi organized for the women of the villages around here (and us) to bring awareness.

Cooking was also part of the intense and great experience!! we made coffee from scratches, had bread, guacamole and many delicious soups.

Last but not least the other 2 very good friends I made. Luna and Miguelito..(he loooves boxes)

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Gipsy heart

Gipsy heart

I want you all to try to remember that one time when you felt so happy you literally wanted to cry, when you felt that feeling of just pure joy ..that you don’t know where to fit it all, that you feel like you are exploding, that you want to tell the whole world what you just discovered: that life is amazing, the world is a masterpiece and people are magicians that cast love spells.

Traveling is incredible. I feel another person. I feel free, strong, everything is really possible, you start thinking outside the box for real, you don’t have to worry about paying bills, going to a job you don’t like, doing things you don’t want to do..and it’s all possible. Someone that I just met and changed my life, probably for ever, told me that where there is ‘want’ there will be ‘will’ (translating from other languages it doesn’t sound so great but you understand the sense). You CAN do anything you WANT with your life, and if you understand that, you WILL.

I met people that saw in me what I was not quite ready to see. I was scared because the world tells us that we need a house, a job, a family..stability… and you can’t get all that while you travel…. but I never felt as stable as right now.. with nothing. It’s a completely new feeling and I love it. ‘No plans’ sometimes is the best plan. And thank you for giving me the strength to trust myself to the point of pursuing this. In your deep eyes I saw it..

 

I started pushing myself  beyond what I thought I could do, even with hiking, just one more step, one more stair. Guess what, one more step, only one and one more, and you get to the top of the mountain.

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And on the top of the mountain I found myself, and when you find yourself, you find love.IMG_3025

 

 

Traveling=Burning Man

Traveling=Burning Man

This is my day thought.

Traveling is like being at Burning man..

You are out of your comfort zone, you are putting yourself in an awkward place. You are meeting new people with different points of view and you are trying to connect with them.

You don’t wanna loose any time because you only have that much time, no useless conversations, if someone is not appealing than you just say good bye.

You learn how to say no, I am not interested!! but you always give people at least half an hour of possible conversation to give them a chance to express themselves.

You meet people that are amazing and that are experiencing the same hunger of knowledge that you are experiencing.

You are pushed to be the best you can and the most independent you can, every day.

When you are in trouble you usually meet people that can help you solve your problems, Playa provides = world provides.

There is no stranger when you are traveling, we are all travelers.

You have to have your shit together and you can be your total self and start new every time you move.

If you are a good traveler you know how to make a place better than you found it.

You always try to participate in the local things to feel part of something.

Traveling as going to Burning Man opens up your heart, your mind and your soul. It’s beautiful while you are experiencing it and it can be a bit sad when it ends, but getting to your every day’s life with the new energy is just as amazing as being around the world because you can spread the love and the new energy with you people, your home.

 

 

Bahia de Caraquez

Bahia de Caraquez

And here I am.. in Lima, no more mosquitoes, no more sleepless night because of heat..

Lima is beautiful, it reminds me of Torino for some reason.. I really like it.

I have been here for 5 days now, I am in a great hostel, 1900 Backpackers, I made new friends… I have been happy.. but tonight, as a lightning, I realized I was not going back to my Bahia….

I weeped (like seriously weeped) alone… I was ready to leave Bahia because of all of the drama that I unfortunately got into the last weeks .. but now that I am far away I am realizing how much I will miss it.

I will miss going to see the sunset every day and attempt to have yoga sessions while the tide is rising just to eventually jump in the water..

I will miss having Avriel waking me up at stupid hours in the morning to go to the gym (I know, I am actually saying this..and I actually did it..)

I will miss going to eat encebollado with a big headache with Tessa and Avriel just because we have to get up and feel better..

I will miss dancing like there is no tomorrow with the whole group, until the sun rises.

I will miss sitting on the wall (el muro) drinking and dancing under the rain.

I will miss even Henry’s training sessions that left me without air for at least 1 hour after they were done…but were always followed by the best margaritas or beers.

I will miss all the amazing people that always kept me in a good mood even when things were going a bit wrong…

All the smiles, the nature, the love, the understanding and the intense research for a better future.

Bahia de Caraquez is lucky to have so many amazing people caring for it.

The energy that I felt there was impressive, for some reason there are heroes that stop there and try their best to fix this beautiful town, and when I say Heroes I am not exaggerating.. I was living with Heroes.

I wish all the best to them, and I thank them for letting me be part of it for a little.

I will never forget what I learned in these 5 months.

They changed me, from deep inside, all, the good and bad, but especially the good.

I love you Bahia. I will be back.

last clinic day

last clinic day

These pictures come from my last day volunteering for the amazing clinic of Walking Palms.

I will share with you all the pictures, but before I wanted to thanks this amazing people for being part of my trip, for opening my eyes and teaching me so much.

I thank Avriel Rose Diaz for her energy, for starting this project, for all the sacrifices she made and still is making, and all the risks she is taking for this project. I saw her passion in the 4 months I lived with her and it is contagious!!!! Her happiness is almost unreal. She is the one that keeps everyone stuck in Bahia, for sure!!!  IMG_2773

Then thanks to David Madden, the nurse, yoga instructor and friend. He, with Avriel, is .the starter of this project (him on the left). Impossible not to be in a good mood around him, his positive way of looking at life was inspiring, even in the most critic moments he was the one keeping calm, never got annoyed to any one, always understanding everyone’s necessities.

An other huge thanks goes to all the volunteers that worked together to make this possible and fun.

To volunteer as a photographer for them was not only fun and inspiring but also a learning experience, there are so many things we don’t know about the people that we encounter in our path that we should remember to stop and analyze every possible angle before we let our mind judge. A lot of times I forget that the person that is making me angry has a family, has problems and probably has a harder time than me in general. It’ s easy, especially here, to get very annoyed at people for their behaviour. More difficult is to step back and realize what is causing that behaviour. With this I am absolutely not saying that we should not get mad or offended, but we should give them the tools to learn. Some people are just cold and ignorant inside and there is not much we can do about that, we can find them everywhere, all over the planet, but here there are a lot of people that just don’t know any better: they don’t know that cat calling is super offensive, that a line is a place where everyone waits for his turn, that you don’t talk on the phone during a movie or that using the honk of your car every half second is not necessarily nice for everyone else. Talking with one of the person from the little community I realized they didn’t even know that plastic never decompose..!!!!! This lady thought it was exactly like paper but more resistant.

What Walking Palms is doing is amazing. They don’t only try to fix the symptoms, they try to fix the whole problem by educating the communities to eat better, be healthier, be careful and aware of diseases and treat their piece of earth a little bit better.

One more thanks to all the doctors and psychologist that came to volunteer. Looking at them working one day after the other, one person after the other made me realize that no matter how much you helped today there will be more help needed tomorrow. You can’t help every one, and you should always be proud of yourself and feel happy when you can help some one, but don’t stop.

There is always need.

The story of how you can make it

The story of how you can make it

Today I want to tell you the story of an amazing woman.

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Her name is Leonella Lucas, she is 16 years old, she graduated from High School yesterday. She is the first one in her family that will be attending University and that will leave Bahia de Caraquez, and she is a woman.

This girl, has been living in a bamboo house, built by volunteers after the earthquake, she has a mentally and physically disabled brother that can’t be left alone, a completely blind grandmother and a younger sister.

She helps Laura, her mom, in taking care of the house, washing and feeding her brother and grandma, and helping her sister with homework. They don’t have a washing machine or a dishwasher, in fact they don’t even have current water. In all of this she found the patience to study very hardly and not let her peers distract her from her goal, always with a smile. I remember having one of my first conversation with her and talking about studying and going out and just trying to get to know each other. She looked at me and said:

I don’t care about going out, I don’t want to live here all my life, I want to travel and go and see all the volunteers that I met that came here and helped us, I don’t want to have a baby or get married like all my friends are doing. I really want to study and help Mother Earth get better, because it looks like she’s F****d up (sorry, her words).

That is Leonella, curious, intelligent, beautiful, hard worker and brave. Her mother supported her in everything, always, 100% and will continue to but has no monetary resources. Leonella made it, she got a scholarship and she will be moving to Machala, in July, to study environmental biology. Leonella worked hard because she wanted to be happy. She made it because she wanted to.

I learned a lot from her. I think she is a great example for all of us.

And as my uncle would say:

Work hard to Party hard!

Junco community

Junco community

It was an amazing day .

I followed Walking Palms g.i. to Hunco, a little community near Bahia.

Hunco’s community comprehends 32 houses, 60 families.

Ismealda is the leader of the community, she makes sure that every one has water, enough food, goes to school and has medical attention, this in the picture is her with her niece.

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Walking Palms organizes a trip to this community every 2 months, they bring psychologists, doctors and medicines.

Here some pictures from the day:

Volunteer David also helped keeping all the kids busy while waiting for their turns, teaching some yoga!

We finished the day with a beautiful rainbow!img_2061img_2062img_2067img_2065