1st June 2010- When all else fails, do it yourself.

At least, that's what the teachers decided last week when the students all came to ask to be excused from classes because of Mother's day.  Tired of waiting, we rolled up our sleeves, broke out the shovels, saws, hammers and nails and started to finish working on the greenhouse.  It's good to see that the teachers motivation doesn't seem to be suffering too much from the low attendance. And it's great to see concrete advances in the infrastructure for the businesses!

Last weekend, in conjunction with several other cooperation projects and the office of Agro XXI (our partner NGO here in Bolivia) we had three consultation sessions with the members of the Sociedad Tarairi to help understand the development goals of the communities.  Encouragingly, a movement towards organic farming techniques and more entrepreneurial skills for young people were high on the list of priorities.

Unfortunately, many of the communities didn't seem to be aware of the Agricultural school and what it offers.  The aim for the rest of this year then, will be to make sure that we can respond to that desire, and to ensure that next year's intake of students is higher.

 The organic credentials of the school are also improving dramatically.  Paola and I attended two other workshops on organic farming techniques, planning and fungicides with a women's group in Caigua.  The second year students have also helped to build a cama alta - which is sort of like building a compost heap in the ground and then planting straight into it.  This means that you need a lot less water and that the nutrient content of the soil is much higher.  We're going to try it with strawberries.

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