Dear all Sloth friends,

Hows it going?
We have been at El Milagro for the past week – beautiful and peaceful but also full of new visions and ideas that means there is much more to do. Now I have an even longer list of things to do !
Last week we had a visit from Peter Shear, his two children and Raul.

They work with a foundation called casainteramericano who bring highschool students for the US. to help build houses for the poor in
Pucara. As I have mentioned, this is part of an eco-village project
that is very similar to the aims of El Milagro.

They loved El Milagro, saw its potential and expressed their
enthusiasm for being involved and linked to their ongoing projects in Pucara. This has helped rejevenate my energy and enthusiasm. El
Milagro is a paradise, it is an ideal place to learn about a slow,
simple life, it is a perfect 'sloth club house' and it can be a model for neighbouring communities for a more ecological lifestyle.

Peter and Raul will return after their group has returned to help
re-draw the permaculture plan for the site and to be involved in the
various smaller projects (like the bath house and round house repair) we have planned over the next few months.

On Sunday, Pacha, Yani and I went exploring in the forest to the other piece of cloud forest we have, Santa Lucia. This is another beautiful place where the forest has been returning naturally.

There is one special place where a huge 'tura' tree arches over a grove of moss covered stones – perfect place for picnics and meditation. I asked Carlos his thoughts about making it a private forest reserve, though he thinks it is just as fine to keep it as private land and perhaps to plant a few timber trees on it just to prove that it is still ' being used' (there is talk about the President putting in a new law to reclaim 'productive' land that is not being used).

My hands are stained red (from picking and squeezing coffee) and look like 'workers' hands again after a week at El Milagro, picking coffee, extending gardens, pruning, constructing the new greenhouse, washing clothes…there is never a spare moment – though the work is slow…

Yesterday Luis and two other locals started collecting the sugar cane grass for the roof repair of the round house. In one day the three of them collected 80 bunches of grass and we need about 800 for the whole roof repair. So, ten days work for 3 people to collect the grass, then we have to take off the old grass (we will recycle it for mulch around the fruit trees) and put on the new grass (with 3 or 4 of us should take about a week?).

I have been learning once again how to cook the local way – lots of
beans and lentils and rice, flavoured with homemade chili sauce and
always and accompanied by 'fresco' – sweetened watered down lemon
juice. It is very hard work collected the razor sharp sugar cane grass from the neighbouring property.

Pacha and Yani have begun a little bit of home study – but I am the
one who has problems dedicating some hours to this everyday. There is always something distracting me from the corner of my eyes that needs to be done.

Now we are on our way out to bring some volunteers in. It will be good to share the work and the fun of being in El Milagro with new friends.

There are a few things that would be great to collect from Japan if
anyone who is coming can bring them along – or if other people who
might have these things could send them to the group who is coming –
see what you think.

- secondhand tents (for use by eco-tourists both at Cero Seco and here at El Milagro for longer 2 day hikes – DECOIN is working with the young people of Plaza Guiterez to create a 2 day walking trail).
- Secondhand Binoculars
- old cooking pots
- Seeds (daikon, mizuna, shiso etc)
- Wasabi cuttings (both for El Mialgro and for Carlos – it would be
wonderful to be able try growing wasabi in Intag.

There is so much more – but I need to send this before putting the
kids to bed and then up early in the morning to go to Otavalo…

Love to all,
For Life,
anja, pacha and yani

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