What a whirlwind week!  Even though this project has been in planning for months, this was the kick-off week, which means I´m now working almost full time between Nagarote, Leon, and Chichigalpa.  And we´re right on time – the capital city Managua just annnounced a plan to plant 10,000 trees in the city during 2009, and published a picture of a schoolgirl planting a small leguminous tree on the front page of the Prensa, a national newspaper.  La Cuenta Reto del Milenio also began handing out trees in a national reforestation campaign.  The difference between those projects and ours: Three days of training in organic orchard management and soil conservation in the communities where we are planting trees, and two years of technical assistance.  Hopefully that extra effort will be the fertilizer that keeps these trees healthy and alive, as well as enriching the awareness of organic farming in the county.

Here´s a quick overview of what we did:

Met with the three student interns, Oscar, Orlando, and Bering  who are working with us full time for six weeks.

Visited the elected “heads” of three zones near Nagarote, where the trainings will take place.  We first created, then conducted interviews to collect information on the current condition and farming practices at the participating farms.  That will allow us to guage what effect our project, and the training in organic orchard management, has in two years.

Met the Environmental Council in the city of Nagarote who are helping us with the trainings.

Ate incredibly well thanks to Miguel Calderon, the charming and very competant young director of the Nagarote CEPRODEL office.

Impressions:  The interns are awesome.  Dedicated, focused, they get the project and are willing to work hard to make this effective and efficient. The farmers seem excited, willing to work and host our trainings and interns.

Coming up next week:  Hours and hours in a crowded jeep on terrible horrible potholey dusty roads, I need to buy a hammock tomorrow so I am ready to crash at a farmers house in the middle of nowhere with the rest of the crew, and lots of logistical coordinating.  In other words, I´m really excited.  Here come the adventures!