Huichol page 37 - October 8th,2006  trip

Dagoberto just ended a trip where he brought in a professional gardener to show them how to start seeds and put in a garden.

Sifting earth with which to fill the planter trays with

Sifting dirt to fill styrofoam planters with

TeBrucio is filling the planters with seeds

Filling planter squares with seeds

All the planters have been filled with seeds

Filled planters

This is the garden area which has been terraced with the reservoir below. Compare this picture with earlier pages to see how the reservoir has filled up during rainy season. My campspot down there is now underwater.

Terraced garden area with reservoir below.

Each family now has a tent on top of the plateau considered their "summer home".  The covering for these homes is a used billboard sign made of herculite. In the US we paint billboard signs. In Mexico they paint herculite sheets and then put them up as billboards. When the advertising time is over, these can be purchased very cheaply. Below are several homes using these billboard signs. We might use such for a weekend campout over a holiday weekend. Consider such a camp as a fulltime home. And these are classy and roomy compared to the stick builts used by the lake dwellers.

Chaleo's cornfield

What I found on Oct 8th. Ber

We got back from the states in Sept but just made our first trip back up to Huichol country at AguaFria on Oct 8th.  A man named John from the SDA church in Tepic said he had a one day trip planned for Oct 8th with he, his wife and other church members so we met him at the boat ramp that Sunday, as we had a lot of clothes and pots and pans and kitchen gadgets, seeds, etc. we had brought back from the states for them.  Only he and his wife showed up; he was very disappointed that others at his church didn't have any commitment to check things out. It was a good trip for Irina and I because with John speaking good Spanish also; I got some good information out of the Huichols that pastor normally doesn't translate for me.  I am pretty good at wrangling the problems out of them. They have a lot of trust in me and we talked about a lot of things.
  

We found several things I was not very happy with.  The spring hole hadn't been cleaned in a long time, they were giving the neighbors water out of the dirty runoff pool our spring hole drains into but contains a lot of stagnant water, the storage tank fill valve was closed and they were filling it via the drainvalve which then simply overflowed the tank, they were watering the garden with clean water instead of the dirty pool water, the generator wouldn't work because they added a quart and a half too much oil to it and the carburtetor bowl was all full of dirty gas, and even though they finally started plants in the white styrofoam square thingys, there was nothing planted in rows yet like radishes, cilantro, or beans. They did terrace several areas to plant in , but in four months since I left they have done NO actual planting of anything yet, except some corn up on the plateau which doesn't get any water and has dried up.  I left them seed for radishes, cilantro, beans, corn, carrots, red tomatoes, green tomatoes,  and other things before we left in June and we brought more seed with us this trip. Organization leaves a lot to be desired.
  
They did get camps for each family built on top of the plateau using used billboard signs made of herculite. I expected stick shacks but the herculite tents provide more space. Not sure how long they will last or what Dago pays for the large signs. And I do understand that for as long as they have been living all under the same roof there was a necessity for each family to have their own space.

They had all but abandoned the community shelter area I built down below although they said they did use it to get out of the rain with before they got their herculite tents up. They did pour two more 1 meter sections of slab , but there is still 8 meters left to pour to finish it.  They said they were never brought any more cement. It appears each family is fixing their own meals individually instead of having meals communally at the main center.  They planted some corn up on the plateau but without water it is just drying up. We need to get water up on the plateau.

I got together all the men and we had a long talk about what their feelings were, what their priorities were and where we need to be headed. I was not easy on them with the water situation. It is not that complicated. I need to take ONE person and make him the water guy and really teach him how it all works. Either that or I gotta remove all the valve handles. If they lose suction from one of the lines, they do not know how to restart the flow. They stated that they had to put the water supply for the neighbors who paddled in for water back to the dirty spring because kids constantly left the valve open and drained their storage tank. Dagoberto and I talked about that solution on Oct 9th; buy a valve that you have to manually hold open to open it and it will close automatically when you let go. But we can't give the neighbors dirty water and they shouldn't be showering in dirty water either.
I told them I saw three areas that needed attention and afterwards asked them if they saw it differently.

They all agreed these are the things that need to be done; at Agua Fria.
1. Finish the shelter slab for church service and meetings, potlucks and shade when company comes and eventually it will house a TV and a 3ABN satellite system. It is still my goal to have Friday night shows and food potlucks so the neighbors will paddle in and learn about the Gospel. The cement left isnít a big factor. Six sacks do 1 meter so less than 50 sacks will finish it off; about $500. The big cost there is getting the money for the two to three 120W solar panels to provide the electricity. I also eventually want to set up a small refrigerator and modify it to be more efficient, also run off the solar panels, so when they pick cilantro and radishes and tomatoes they don't spoil by the next day in the heat. The heat factor hasn't changed. Even in October it is still hot there. The place was a mess, it didn't look any different than when I left except for the two 1 meter x 6 meter slabs they did in fact pour. Eight sections out of the twelve are not done. Then they started on their individual places on top of the plateau.

2. Get serious about gardening. I emphasized that handout time for stuff they could grow themselves was over. And I wasn't exceptionally kind with verbage about why they hadn't started gardening before now when I had brought them the tools and the seed to do so four months ago. Karen was correct about the culture in that they only do what is absolutely necessary and "settle for" instead of trying to improve their life.
But gardeners they will be. If I can talk my wife into going again (she did the Mike trick and hid in the shade all day while I fixed things) we will take the bull by the horns and plant stuff ourselves with them which if we would have had more time we could have done this trip as the beds are almost prepared.

3. Clean the upper spring hole (John and I cleaned the lower spring and got all the water revalved and flowing in the right direction and new tees installed so the right water went to the right places) , remove the large rock that is hindering the flow, do a flow test to see how much it will produce, and measure off the distance down to the plateau to see how much tubing will be needed. 3/4" will be plenty sufficient and even half inch would work except  I see 1/2" as getting plugged up too often from junk in the water. We can use pressure reducing valves along the way so as not to develop high enough pressure that will split the tubing. But if the tubing is to last it will need to be something different than the cheap black plastic tubing we now use which becomes brittle with the sun shining on it all the time. Plus it is really not meant to be used for potable water, just irrigation watering. And we need to consider fires and it getting totally destroyed by wildfires if it is not metal pipe.
Alternative is a to pump water from existing lower spring to a storage tank on the plateau. But if they can't keep the generator running on their own, that system won't work either.

 
I had a long talk with Dagoberto when we got back about many things. And his priorities differ from mine.  As the children are now attending school in AguaMilpa, about halfway down the reservoir, and that community gave him a small building for them to sleep in; he wants to build an open aire 8 meter by 8 meter building like we did at AguaFria for them to use as a kitchen and other things.  I will be going up with him mid month to look at that situation.


Never a dull moment here. Wanna retire? Come to Mexico and I'll share my retirement job with you.

Back to main Huichol page