The historic symbolism of planting our trees this week is high. This week CO2 Bambu met two meaningful milestones that confirm our trajectory in the bamboo world:
1) We presented a concept for low cost housing in bamboo to the executive board of the largest and most successful NGO in Nicaragua, the America Nicaragua Foundation. We were notified today that the board had approved our initiative and therefore we will now start working out the details of a first bamboo housing program in Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast;
2) We submitted a formal proposal to the German government to invest in the development of a bamboo industry on the Atlantic Coast and I believe we offer an attractive solution that is fully convergent with the needs of the region and with Germany’s interest in economic development in this region; and
3) We decided to launch a new phase in our agro-industrial development, by creating more value-added jobs in the communities currently producing bamboo material.
It is fitting indeed that we would return to Ostional and mark this week. We do so by renting a 4×4 Land Cruiser and going to Catarina, where nurseries dot the landscape and one can find a variety of tropical trees and plants.
For $35, we leave with the truck full of: 2 almond trees, 1 orange tree, 1 lemon tree, 2 papaya tree, 2 granadilla plants, 1 guava tree, and a few flowering bushes selected for their ability to attract birds and butterflies. OK, these trees are small. This is why we needed to get going — other than the granadilla plants, which will bear fruit in about 6 months, all the fruit trees will need 4 years to mature.
Off into the countryside we go, through small towns, past Lake Cocibolca with its twin peak volcanoes until we see a rather spectacular sight. In the distance, we see the majestic blades of shining white windmills.
It is a field of windmills that surges from the green country landscape. The excitement may be hard to understand. But some of you may remember that prior to Bamboo, I (Ben) was all about the wind energy market. I tried (but to no avail) to convince my aerospace boss to go into wind energy, but he was convinced it was just a fad. Yeah, right.
In fact, as we dove deep into our green options for our future life in Nicaragua, one of the areas we researched was wind energy. We got wind maps, talked to wind energy experts, hooked up with wind energy players. In short, gettting into the wind energy marketin in Nicaragua was a viable alternative future. They are truly beautiful machines, to our eyes anyway. The blades move at varying speeds, responding to air currents, Omotepe’s volcano looming in the background.
Back on the road, the dogs are getting antsy and we head for a quick swim and ceviche at San Juan del Sur before tackling the extremely bumpy dirt road that will take us to our destination.
Luis, the guard who lives with his family and oversees this area, is always keen to make a few dollars. We arrange for him to create water access from the main water infrastructure. He will dig a trench, install necessary tubing, as well as plant the trees and clear the site.
By the time we are back on the bumpy country road, it’s getting dark. We don’t have a hotel for tonight. The moon is full and shining brightly, creating some light for us, but it’s a challenging drive. We cross one river, the other two are dry. Usually at this time of the year, the rivers are full and you can’t go through. This of course happens all over Nicaragua during the rainy season, due to the lack of infrastructure, namely bridges. Flash forward: one day, CO2 Bambu will build bamboo bridges in this country.
Finding a hotel in San Juan del Sur is usually not difficult as this former fishing village has morphed into a popular tourist destination. However, we have our doggies with us. We start to discover that many places will not accommodate them. One final option: we go to the upscale Pelican Eyes resort.
For us it’s on the pricey side, because we haven’t had the need to pay high dollar for luxury accommodations for many years (thanks to our very active Home Exchange history). As luck would have it, there is a 50% discount on the rooms as it is the low season (which lasts only 2 months).
This tasteful and elegant adobe-style hotel, layered on the hill side, provides an infusion of luxury that is most appreciated.
So why did this upscale hotel let us in with the dogs? As it turns out, Pelican Eyes has a wildlife refuge center and veterinarian clinic. Over the years, they have rescued, treated and fed a large number of animals, both wild and domestic. Currently, there are 80 cats on the property, a plethora of dogs, monkeys, a wild boar, an ant eater and some birds. Pretty impressive to see a fully functioning wildlife refuge center co-located within a 5 star hotel.