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5/27

posted May 28, 2011, 8:57 PM by Julie Bateman   [ updated May 28, 2011, 9:03 PM ]



Today the Kombi made it's first complete trip from Poconé to the Jaguar Ecological Reserve, a three-hour pot-hole full journey.  The past two days in Poconé where very productive - we were able to meet for several hours with the secretaries of education for the state and municipality, the school will be jointly administered to add stability as both the state and municipality have frequent elections and turnover in the positions. Additionally, we were able to meet with the man in charge of transportation for schools. The secretaries of education will visit the school in mid-June to assess it and formulate a supplies and budget request which will be submitted for funding in October; afterwards we will take them to visit the families on the river and road to matriculate the students. 

We also made a big visit to the construction store while we were in Poconé to get the necessary supplies to finish the bio-sand filter (BSF) and the walls and floor of the school. In unrelated news, there is a terrific lunch spot (which we have now frequented twice) in Poconé called Raquel Lanche if you are visiting the Pantanal and want a genuine Brazilian meal. We happened upon it during our first week here, and were surprised to walk in and receive no menus, and then have dish after dish of delicious food appear - fried plantains, beef with manioc, rice and beans, farofa (sautéed manioc flour) with yet more fried plantains, a green bean like vegetable, squash, meatballs with mashed potatoes - and then the biggest surprise it was an absolute bargain - R$10 (about US$6.50) for each of us.

We returned back to the Jaguar Ecological Reserve around lunchtime, and were able to get in a half-days of work. The BSF is firmly cemented to the wall in the patio and filled with the clean sand and gravel, and the nozzle and lid are currently being crafted; the water systems team expects it to be fully functional within two days time. The BSF's biological layer, the schmutzdecke, will be mature within a month's time and capture about 95% of the bacteria, which is comparable to the currently used charcoal filters at the eco-lodge.

Ethan and I tackled the completion of the classroom wall - building a triangle up to the roof so that the health clinic and lab has privacy. We finished right at 5 PM as the sun was setting and a cold gust of wind started to set in. Now all that remains is putting a mortar covering on the wall, painting the walls orange, and finishing the floor with what's called "burnt cement" - a somewhat glossy colored finishing.

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