School visits to Sunseed, 23rd May 2013
by Jona Aal, visiting ex AT coordinator with children Cala, 8 and Nancy, 6.
Yesterday 46 children from Instituto las Norias, a school in El Ejido came to visit Sunseed and find out some of the things that are happening here. They were given a tour of the Project, including where to find drinking water, and very importantly how to use the composting toilets.
Four groups each named after one of the many plants adapted to the arid environment of the South-East of Spain, the Pita, Chumba, Olivo and Retama. Each went with two volunteers to guide them around the valley, on a tour that included activities in each of the four main departments: Appropriate Technology, Sustainable Living, Drylands Management and Organic Gardens.
Our group was the Pita, named after the Agave Americana source of ropes for shipping in the age before oil, and the ingredient of Tequila. Our first Workshops was with Ana, the Sustainable living coordinator making toothpaste with herb teas and clay from the river.
Next was up to the Appropriate Technology Workshops at Isabela’s where Paco had a cookstove using pyrolosys to boil water efficiently and cleanly, the only waste being charcoal or biochar which is inerte and so can be added to soil to lock carbon away. The fuel is the local caña which is plentiful and fast growing.
After a break, we headed down to the Organic Gardens where David and Fred showed us some of the techniques they use like composting kitchen waste in a trench, companion planting of different crops to deter insects and the different traditional flood and modern drip irrigation methods.
The last activity was looking at local mediterranean plants with the Drylands coordinator Eugenio. He described the adaptations that plants have made to the environment like storing water in they leaves, or growing with long roots to reach water far below the surface.
The children and teachers seemed to have a great time, enjoying the activities and the time out of their classroom, and said they would love to come back again for a repeat visit.
It was a great day for all volunteers and staff at Sunseed. We could share what we do at Sunseed with kids from the area and experience a beautiful team working day. The kids were also very inspired to meet the volunteers from so many places in the world like Irina from Russia and Tiffanys from Hong Kong!