7/17 El Milagro!!

Dear all SLoth friends,

Pacha, Yani and I are in Quito for a night before going back down to the coast to celebrate Yani`s 5th birthday in Bahia. We just washed off days of Intag mud and sweat and horse hair (Pacha spends every spare minute with Shanti - the stallion who follows Pacha around like a big puppy!). The internet service is free at this hotel so I hope to finally get some writing done!

All went well in El Milagro over the past two weeks.
Yesterday Luis and I put up the tin to clad the upstairs section of the house...felt good to get something done. I wish I had taken a phot of us carrying 10 sheets of tin, a double bed, mattress and gas stove on horse back down the vertical paths to El Milagro - but I guess you will just have to imagine it!

I took off the bamboo (that was lining the upstairs section of the house), am burning it to strengthen it and get rid of wood borers, and will then put it back up as an inner lining. Maintaining, repairing and renovating the stone house is a priority so that it lasts longer.

It feels good to sleep in a proper bed in EL Milagro now - though with the glass still not in the window frames, we have lots of fresh air coming through and even some friendly visitors - fireflies, bats and even a hummingbird!

Luis will hopefully help finish off the windows upstairs (with glass) and build a small greenhouse. We need the greenhouse (to put up between the toilet and the stone house for drying coffee and peas, raising more seedlings (coffee and fruit trees to extend the area under agroforestry cultivation), as well as drying clothes when it rains. The greenhouse will also mean more warm dry air passes through the stone house to dry up the lower floor.
Then it is time to replace the grass roof of the round house. Hopefully this will begin before the beginning of August so that the house is useable for all volunteers (from mid August).

Carlos has said he will help get the solar sysem up and running so I can get the laptop in action when we return to El Milagro after Bahia. Slowly it is coming together - though my biggest lesson in returning to Ecuador - like always - is patience...

Now while we are in Quito I will print off the basic promotion for El Milagro volunteers to see if any other people can come and help from early August...see how it goes!

Pacha, Yani and I are all well, though still longing to stay in one place for a while! It really is a detox for us all in El Milagro with no TV, DVDs or other `corrupting` influences from modern society. The kids are starting to appreciate more simple foods again and are complaining less. In the mornings Luis has been coming to milk his cow. Pacha and Yani love helping him and drinking milk directly from the cow`s teat! I am impressed by their energy for walking - no complaints in walking (mostly uphill) for an hour to get the bus to Otavalo. The biggest problem for them (and me) is the muddy parts - I am the one who has to do the washing (by hand) when the clothes are black with mud! There has been more rain than usual in Intag recently
(not good for the coffee plants) that means there`s plenty of mud.
Love to all Sloths - we are waiting for you in Ecuador!

For Life, anja.