Monday, December 17, 2007

Tropical storm “Olga”

Six weeks after Tropical Storm “Noel” the country got hit again by Storm “Olga” with 145 mm precipitation in 24 hrs! Our huricane season ends in November and nobody expected such a late storm, barely have the main highways, bridges and canal systems provisionally been repaired which now need to be tackled again.

On can try to be objective about such natural desasters, especially when one hears at the same time about the tremendous floods in Mexico and Bangladesh with much greater devastations. However seeing such reports on television and experiencing yourself in your neighbourhood is a different reality!
Thousands of mainly poor people are homeless, many havel lost family members, lost all their meager possesions with little expectations of economic recovery. For such people there are no insurances, and governement or NGO support is minimal.
One of the major problems for the population is the widespread destruction of the already in normal times precarious water supply systems, and in many towns water is only sporadically supplied by tanker trucks.

Although the quantities of rainfall of “Olga” do not seem as high as “Noel” the damge especially in the North of the Island is tremendous, suposedly caused by mismanagement of the dam systems, where overflow gates have been opened causing a never experienced flood in Santiago where whole neighbourhoods have been washed away and causing widespread damage in the main agricultural zones of the country. The expectation is that there will be at least a reduction of 60% in Export (mainly Organic) Bananas for the next 6 to 10 Months, a loss of over US$20 million of income for the country. This obviously has deep repercussions as producers from central america will fill the void, a lost marketposition is allways hard to recuperate.
Our own export of Bananas has presently been reduced by 50% , so we are facing difficult times ahead in order to keep our heads over water until we recuperate volumes by April 2008.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fotos Storm Noel

Tropical Storm "Noel"

October 28 to 31, 2007
This storm caught everybody by surprise, the storm developed close to the south coast and dumped 580 mm of rain in 48 hours, more than our whole yearly average of 550 mm!
Although the winds where not that devastating as with past huricanes the the tremendous amounts of water did as much or more damage. 50 persons are reported dead, many unaccounted for, 58'000 persons are displaced, many houses washed away, power lines are down and two major bridges destroyed so that the whole south will be inaccessible for a while.
The damage to agriculture is especially bad, much arable land has been washed away, Organic Bananas the major export crop of hundreds of co-operative small farmers in the Azua area have been blown down and it will take at least three month’s until production is back to normal.
It will be hard for farmers to survive without external help, as recuperation of fields and maintenance costs remain, without the weekly income from banana sales (there is no crop -insurance or government assistance available). Fields which have been underwater for more than 3 days will have to be completely replanted, taking a year until first harvest.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Our Waldorf Kindergarten, class of 2007.

In fall 2004 we initiated our kindergarten in our banana packing plant with 14 children from our farm workers families and neighbours. In the second year the Kindergarten grew to 24 children and moved temporarily in to a larger new co-worker apartment on the finca.
The initial Kindergarten teacher, Mayelin Guerrero a native Dominican had studied Eurhythmie in Europe and with it aquired some knowledge in Waldorf education. She decided to leave us at the end of the school year and we are grateful that she pioneered our project.

We were very fortunate to find Susana Rubio from Columbia to take over the Kindergarten this fall! She is a experienced Waldorf Kindergarten teacher who established a Kindergarten in Peru and Columbia and trained many young teachers.
Under her leadership we are entering a exiting new phase; we intend to open a second class in January, making space for another 24 children! With her we hope eventually to be able to establish a Waldorf education training centre for young teachers.
At the same time we intend to build a two class kindergarten building on its own 2 ha parcel neighbouring our biodynamic finca.
Initially I got all enthused to build a organic structure having discovered the artistic potentials of,, but after much reflections as we have no experienced contractors in our country I chickened out and decided to build conventionally in concrete. I did my best in designing a somewhat organic structure with rounded corners and cathedral ceilings where children could feel at home.
We hope to have the buildings ready for the next school year beginning in September 2008!
For more on the childrens project check our website: