As you can likely deduce from the fact that I have just posted twice, I amin town -- Pocone to be precise. I'm headed back today or tomorrow, and more diesel is also on its way so that we will be able to subsist in the bush.
The solar panel is mounted, and most of the piping done. Finishing touches are set to be done in two weeks' time. I suggested three weeks (total) to finish everything to the caretakers at the lodge, and they promptly laughed at me. I'll show them...
I've successfully talked the Secretary of Education, named Rose (pronounce "HO - sy"), into rethinking the whole starting school in February thing. Essentially what happened was we clearly went over this several times last year, that school in the Pantanal should start after the end of the rainy season, when the road is actually passable. And then she forgot. And suddenly, I received an email explaining that school was starting in February, and I was surprised. It's not starting in Feburary. That would be ridiculous. It'll likely be late April or early May.
On the field station front, I've discussed renovation of a nearby abandoned research base with several people and we're currently waiting the return of the guy who's formally in charge there (though he does nothing for it). He's now with Fiao, a local Pantaneiro, employee of IBAMA (the Brazilian forestry service, basically), and the father of one of my best friends here. He and Fiao are at another research station far downriver (where there is another community which may be in need of a school...) doing jaguar research. The great thing about this area is that we have connections with everyone. So getting full access for renovations should be easy... SHOULD.
I've also been working on our summer projects, including arranging a possible volunteer tourism trip (with homestays and English teaching, hooray!), which we'll arrange this year and then hopefully hand off to my close friend Fabricio who is currently in the process of starting his own ecotourism company with my help (though I will be the first to admit that I have little expertise in the business
I'll be back in town in a couple of weeks.