Friday, November 8, 2013

...And we're back!

Greetings to all! We have missed you all a lot and apologize for our absence from the blog. But we are back and have so much to tell you about, including projects new and old!

First we want to let you know that we have had a fantastic year, with 2013 bringing in the most volunteers to date...which means we have gotten a lot accomplished! To start with, the Hacienda is doing great...all of the property is continuously improving. To date, we have 20 cows, 3 bulls, 2 new calves, 6 horses, Ricky (our donkey), some pigs, and more chickens than we can count! Makes for a busy time here while we are not controlling invasives or working in the community.

Our gardens are thriving and we are in the process of expanding our nursery to accommodate more plants....but that's for another blog post.

Volunteers have been working hard and have achieved some amazing results. Over the past year, we have controlled over 12 hectares of invasive plants and planted over 2,000 endemic plants.

We have some great projects that we are working on and want to share with you. Some of these include updates on the water pipeline and related project of a reservoir to hold the water, planting of Bracaria grass, expanding our nursery and garden, future plans for a community center, and a brand new project called BookBus!

Whoa, we have a lot on our plate...but that is because we are serious about making positive impacts here on San Cristobal. We want you to know all of the details and keep you updated as things progress. So check back in with us each week, and be sure to check out our new Facebook page! Tell your friends! We have big plans here on the Hacienda, and whether you are near or far....we want you to be a part of it!

Thanks for your support and....

¡Hasta Luego, Amigos!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hacienda Tranquila branches out towards books!

Here at the Hacienda we’re always trying to find new ways to get involved and make a positive impact in the San Cristobal community. As we’ve had so much success eradicating invasive species in the highlands, we were looking for new opportunities around the island for volunteers to get involved in for the future. With this in mind, Hacienda Tranquila is pleased to introduce to blog readers their new project, a joint effort with The Book Bus, a UK based charity, which will work to help improve literacy on the island through providing increased access to books.

The Book Bus is an organization that works to create mobile libraries for rural areas whose inhabitants don’t have access to literary materials. They help create a “BookBus” that can travel around, giving remote communities access to a book exchange, and also create “Reading Corners” in schools and community places, so that everyone has the opportunity to learn to love reading. The Book Bus already has operations in Africa, India, and mainland Ecuador, and starting now, will be expanding their efforts into the Galapagos here in San Cristobal. Hacienda Tranquila is helping establish and coordinate efforts on the island, doing the initial fact-finding missions to send information back to Quito and the UK to get the process started. The plan is to have a “BookTruck” as our mobile library, and to set up “Reading Corners” both in local schools and in hard-to-reach communities in the highlands.

We are now a couple of weeks into the project, and have so far visited four different schools on San Cristobal, to introduce them to the project and obtain preliminary information from them about the number of students they have. This information was then sent off to the UK so that books can start being collected. All reports so far have been resoundingly positive, both from locals on the Galapagos and Book Bus personnel in the UK. Moving forward, Geovanny and Rachel (a Master’s student studying on San Cristobal and volunteering with the project), have a lot of work cut out for them as they start to create a budget for the project, and go to various communities in the highlands to drum up support for the project and to find the perfect locations for our community “Reading Corners.” If all goes according to plan, books should start arriving in December, school “Reading Corners” will be set up for the start of the next school year in March, and Hacienda volunteers will have yet an another amazing opportunity to help out in the Galapagos, reading with local school children. Hacienda Tranquila believes that learning shouldn’t be limited to lessons in school, but should be fostered through active learning and the search for knowledge; in this sense, the Book Bus is a perfect way to expand learning opportunities in the Galapagos.

Interested in learning more about our exciting new project? Check out the blog dedicated to the Book Bus in San Cristobal, and keep updated about new progress!
Hasta Luego Amigos!