Tuesday, March 27 – The weather forecast was clear this morning, and so… we work! We were so glad that our call time was later – 9 a.m. And we were very glad to know that this site was actually in our neighborhood! But we didn’t realize the day we had in store for us.
We arrived at our worksite, the Colectivo Verdolaga, where we were greeted by our contact, Lauralina, and some of her partners in the co-op. They toured us around the site and explained to us the history, mission, and vision of Earthship Puerto Rico:
Lauralina was born in Puerto Rico and went to college on the mainland. She returned recently with her family with a passion to build sustainable homes and other dwellings using the abundant resources that the island has to offer. She and her group were trained by an organization in New Mexico on the development and construction of Earthships, and they began to build. Their goal was to serve as an inspiration and training ground for others in Puerto Rico to build sustainably in a manner that allows them to protect the Earth. When Hurricane Maria hit, their impetus was quickened. So many were left with damaged homes, or no homes at all. They waited – and still wait – months for the restoration of basic living conditions. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Just last month, they launched hard into the development of the first of what they are hoping to be four training sites in Puerto Rico. These compounds will serve as schools and training centers, and are all being built by volunteers, with natural and recycled material, for the benefit of all Puerto Ricans (and those around the world!). They will also serve as hurricane shelters when (because it’s never “if”) future storms hit.
After being debriefed, we broke into teams:
  • Some of us mixed cement. We learned the recipe and jumped right in!
  • Others began applying that mortar to the walls of the structures that had already been framed. We used recycled bottles and cans to reinforce the cement.
  • Others cut old glass bottles to make the “glass wall,” walls of cemented glass bottle bottoms to let in opaque sunlight.
  • Others still dug trenches to serve as drainage and will then later be used at the base of a new “tire wall.”
  • And a couple of the members of the team made a Home Depot run to contribute to the future of the project – the result of all of our generous supporters who have continued even still to contribute to our Go Fund Me campaign!
It was exhausting! During our lunch break, a reporter from a San Antonio newspaper arrived looking to write an article on the Earthship. And she just happened to be the education reporter! She interviewed our team for quite a while, but soon it was time to get back to work. We spent the afternoon finishing our tasks and cleaning up. We said a long goodbye to our new friends, promising to stay in touch and continue to collaborate, and then made the short trip home.
We are all now completely wiped out. And we have another very early call tomorrow – back to tree planting! Goodnight!
For more photos and video, please visit the Cultural Bridges Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Cultural-Bridges-345584732621557/