Huichol Page 10   March 31st, 2006 trip

On this trip we took up the 4" U Channel for the concrete slab forms and cardboard tubing and wire mesh and costillos for the pillar foundations for the main meeting area building which is to be 6 meters wide by 12 meters long. We also took more tools and plastic barrels to store tools and food inside of, and more water tubing to rework the water system. Further portages of large items such as the generator and cement mixer and sacks of cement  will wait until  we get a functional boat and motor of our own. The used 1999  75 HP Honda 4 stroke outboard motor we found in Puerta Vallarta should be ready to retrieve this week. The shop owner is going through it, changing some transmission parts and putting a new starter mechanism in it so we won't have to worry about failures for some time to come. With a 4 stroke motor the economy of operation will be better and we don't have to worry about whether or not they mix the right amount of oil with the gas; as there is no oil added in a 4 stroke. New ones cost over $10,000 USD. What are chances of finding that exact motor used, affordable, and close? Yahweh takes care of us here I tell you.  That was no accident. Dago and I are planning to retrieve it this Thursday, April 6th.  Dago talked him down to $3500 for it, which, from what I have looking at here, is a steal. It takes that much horsepower to get one of these boats up on plane when you load them up like we do. One of our boats this trip was only 55 horses and it took almost an hour to get there. Big difference.

I must say the Huichols are workers. I thought I was always a good worker but I cannot hold a candle to these guys. Dago and I dug trail for about 150' along a steep part of the shoreline last trip and spent the whole day on it. When we came back this trip not only had they widened our trail but completed it and then built a 2' wide trail all the way up to the plateau, a vertical rise of over 200'.  We're talking hardpan and rocks here. This is not easy digging anyplace, except maybe up on the plateau where there's more earth and a few less rocks.

The main meeting building 6 meters by 12 meters is going to be a challenge. We set it as far into the hillside as possible to allow for maybe a patio extension later on if need be but we are working with slopes in two directions and it is full of big rocks. We will probably have to dig and level the upper side foundation first and then build a rock wall on the lower side of 1 to 1 1/2 meters, taper the ends with foundation rock and concrete, and then fill it in and before we can ever start a slab and pillar pour.  The plan is to have 8" concrete pillars every 4 meters at the long sides. We then will make  double 8" U channel trusses to span the 6 meter width (actually 8 meters counting 1 meter overhang on both sides) and then use 6" U channel on edge every 1 meter down the roof to support the fiber Santa Fe style tile looking roof which is lightweight (25 pounds per square meter) but very durable and won't yield the machine gun sound of hard rain on a tin roof. I found a source at only $14USD per square meter. We will need a flat slab at least 4 meters before I can weld together the trusses.

Dago set up a shower this trip but I forgot to get a picture of it. I still need to take a shower head next trip to finish it off instead of just the hose spigot that is there now. And a couple trips downstream we will take a small black tinaca (water storage tank)  surrounded with black plastic tubing for a thermosiphon solar heating of the water in the tank for showers.

One of our main concerns is waste. Next trip we will take a 6 meter stiff wire mesh grid cut in four pieces to make a compost pile up on the plateau with. Anything that is biodegradable goes into the compost pile; orange peels, banana peels, fish heads, etc.  We will also take a 55 gallon steel drum as a burn barrel, eventually that can be made out of rocks and concrete to look nicer, but all burnable paper and plastic goes into the burn  barrel including the toilet paper kept in a waste basket in the latrine.  All non biodegradable waste; tin cans, glass, metals, needs be put in plastic flour sacks and brought back out of the area and taken to the garbage dump. We will not create a garbage dump there. 

We are also going to take up a wash sink and make a frame for it so the cooks have a sink and dish holding area to dry them on. The drain to the sink will go into a larger than 5 gallon bucket underneath with sand and holes at the bottom so food scraps from the dishes are trapped at the top and can be removed and put into the compost bucket instead of going into the ground and eventually reservoir.

We cleaned out the spring water hole just below ours that the neighboring people use when they come to get water, but the plastic pipe that extends from there is rotten. You can break it with your hands easily.  Depending upon quantity of useage, we may just tee off of our 3/4' line for them. Dago still wants to put in a separate line for them from their own hole. The answer will probably come when we see how much they actually use. You have no idea how far some of these people paddle their canoes to come get spring water. Their hole is actually fed from our overflow. We extended the depth of our spring hole this trip; it appears to be flowing a little more than a liter a minute now. Next trip we will add two components to our spring. We will add a water filter in line in the 3/4" siphon line about 6' drop away from our spring hole with a filter we can easily clean and change, plus a spigot downside of the filter where we can fill our bottles for the coldest water (that's real relative , it is tepid at best) without sticking our dirty hands in the spring to dip water into our bottles. And I will add a 3/4" siphon line about 50' long that I can use to siphon any sediment off the bottom without having to stir up the whole pool each time which costs time to settle out and then doesn't get it all.  We also added a tarp cover to the spring this time so leaves don't get into the pool so easily.  And we discussed rerouting of the river water channel around the spring hole. They already had that one figured out, but we won't really know the path until the first rains come.

We started digging the hole for the latrine but one foot down ran into hardpan and then another foot ran into a big rock. I will take my big Bosch roto hammer drill next trip along with the generator to see if we can get rid of the rock and get a little further down anyway.   But it appears we will have to build a three sided foundation and head upwards instead of downwards. We built it against a BIG rock. The latrine at Aguamipl is built that way too as they couldn't dig into the earth much either and simply dig it out periodically. We will have to do the same so we will build the building parts that go along with it as removable so it can be cleaned out. However, it should last a couple years before that is necessary if we don't fill it up with paper. Only Americans do that anyway. In Mexico when you take a dump you take your paper you wiped with and put it into a waste basket alongside the toilet. You don't put it into the toilet. It tells you they build minimal septic systems here.

On Sunday April,2nd, we all went to Aguamipl for a meeting with the Ejidades who constitute the community of all the people who live on the  Huichol reservation encompassing the reservoir land. I was fortunate to be allowed to attend the meeting. I was told not to take pictures inside during the meeting, so I didn't. The meeting concerned whether or not everyone that already lived there agreed to let our Huichol group move in to the place they temporarily allotted them. One gentleman was very vociferously opposed to such at first. But they had asked Dagoberto that besides his petition, they wanted to hear from the Huichols themselves what they had been through and why they wanted to come here. I could not understand any of the conversations as much of it was in Huichol language which is different from Spanish, much of it was combination Huichol and Spanish, but each Huichol got up and made his/her speech. I think we have little idea what they went through at their other land because their speech was deep, very heartfelt, and sincere. They literally melted the hostile man's heart. He just kept shaking his head and I thought I saw a tear come to his eyes once or twice.

All in attendance at that meeting resolved to accept them but there are still 8 families yet to be contacted who were not in attendance for final acceptance to happen.  Five of those families have already stated agreement verbally but have yet to put their John Henry on paper.  Hopefully this will be accomplished by our next trip on the 13th. They couldn't turn the 21' boat over to us until this item has been taken care of.  They also agreed to sell us the little green boat for $350, which is a good buy, but Dago won't shell out for it until we get final resolution on the area.  They did turn the little green boat over to the Huichols to use in the meantime and they have been getting fish with it. However, we find out that there is no net fishing on the lake during March, April and May when the fish are in reproduction; only pole fishing. I did buy one pole for them to use but there are no stores here where I can buy bass and crappy gear and lures so I am going to have to go online to Bass Pro or Cabelos and order some stuff for them. The new wiggly worm with a Texas sinker set up is the hot item here I am told by the bass guys at the boat launch.

Another requirement the Ejidades required was a paper from the Huichols where they came from essentially stating these were good guys and didn't get the boot for behavioral problems.  Dago can get this from the rest of the Christian Huichols up in the Zacateca mountains where these people came from. He goes to see them the end of this week.  They know these people even though they were in a different area.

One other item that is going to have to be cleared up. The Ejidades had the land our Huichols are settling into currently rented out to a cattle farmer and are going to cancel their contract with him.  Now I haven't seen any actual cattle up there yet, just poop, but it means they need to go before any gardening is seriously started.

We may have to get an electric fence charger run on 12V battery and a small solar panel to keep the battery up. With sun 365 days a year here, I don't think that is a big problem.

The interesting part to me is the opportunity to bring the word of Yahweh to 20 or more pagan families. I was told none of the people attending the meeting that represented lake dwellers were Christians. Now, they may not be excited about changing religions at first; but I'll bet they could get very excited about a potluck after church service and foods they are not accustomed to seeing and the rest just happens.

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Loading the boats for the March 31st trip; 4" U channel for forms, cardboard column form tubes, sand sifter, barrels, and more tools.

As rainy season approaches I decided to move to higher ground and had to remove a forest of sticker weeds first for a new tent location; someone caught me in the act.Ber

Laying out the boundaries and clearing the area for the main openaire meeting building

Another shot of the main building area. Lots of big rocks to move; it is doubtful we can level the entire 6M x 12M area without having to build a lower foundation wall and fill in the middle.

page 11 pics

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