The IPC Update
May 26th, 2020
Creative Structures in the New Normal
Greetings. We hope that this surreal period in human history has not been too difficult for you and your family the last two months. It feels, at least here that there is a light at the end of the viral scare tunnel. Some services in Panama are opening up again. Still there is much to woe about in what has happened in the last few months here but especially in the rest of the world which I will touch on just a little nearer the end.
First though, a big thank you to Eric C. for your generous donation. We have decided your funds will go toward the purchase of exotic fruit trees for the community which I pîck up this Saturday! :)
The last month has delayed the update first due to 2 weeks of grey and rain which meant little electrical power to work with and of course its been impossible with the strict measures here to work in town. Once the sun came out I rewrote the update and then my laptop screen totally gave out ... its still on the mend and I have found an alternative for now ... so I am sending this update to you almost a month late, but better late than never. A lot is always happening at the IPC, quarantine or not, and these two months have a heavy theme of ‘structures’, theoretically and physically. Hope you enjoy our news.
Its done! The East wall is built! That gaping hole into the house and psyche - a thing of the past, and the bats have found new homes. A lime wash will be next and at some point in the near future I will secure part of the 2nd floor of the South wing that had rotted before my arrival and when that is done, construction on the base camp will stop for at least a year, (or atleast for me), while we tend to more important matters such as eco-community planning, more planting and especially making micro businesses that support us financially!
The East wall timberframed
The interior view of the new East wall
Since the last update, we have also planted 52 trees and numerous other plants, the kitchen wall has a new menu board, the West exterior wall was cleaned and painted, maintenance tasks were revised and lots of movies were watched after sundown.
I added an open sided greenhouse with roof for our tomato bed as the pounding rain was taking its tole on the young ones. It will also serve to hang the indeterminate (vine style ever flowering) type of tomatoes as they grow. If this works we may need to replicate this model many times to achieve abundance of certain vegetables and fruits that can’t handle the amount of rain we get.
In April I started building the communication hill tower in a tree and a small hut \ bar to do computer work just below it. In fact, we are sending you this update from there! I use my one and only old cell phone as a hotspot and Eli was super happy when I finished so he could watch on-line videos again that the quarantine measures have deprived him of. In general communications are easier now however we still have no signal at the base-camp ... and, I am ok with that.
Alfonso smiling from the communication hut all built of recycled materials (except a bag of concrete) including a tiled floor, with the hotspot up in a tree and part of the platform completed above.
Our vegetable beds are producing ample basil and jalepinos so we have begun selling it in small quantities in town via social media, delivered by bicycle during the allowed hours.
The eco-village elements were drawn up and completed for the permaculture master plan – yay! And as we were mapping we realized that the triangulation was off by 5 to 10 meters per way point and found out it was due to the inaccuracy of the compasses we were using on android phones : ( , and thus I don’t feel good about using it as a master plan template, without better precision! Jessies Iphone appears to have a better compass but I am not going to continue mapping till we find a non digital one, which under quarantine has proven to be quite a challenge to find, will have to get one shipped.
The Eco-village elements drawn up and spread out on our table, as pieces to appproximate size (5mm per 1 meter), everything from cob ovens to ampitheaters!
On one of the rainy mornings, when the variables were just right, I put aside the physical work and got to making a new board game for us here. Its a board that can be used for many known games however I also created a new one from it, a board game version of the famous ‘capture the flag’. We have started testing it out at night and making improvements to the game and rules as we go. Eli also got us to start another game from the board which we are finishing a map for, which is about getting supplies from town out of quarantine curfew, a mix between Scotland Yard, Pac Man and Monopoly. We will need to find a good name for it – your submissions are welcome.
Our Capture the Flag board game. You can create a new map every game!
Alfonzo is working on updating our Master Floral Chart that I began when I farmed 10 years ago in Quebec. This will eventually be quite a large compendium useful for farmers and botanists alike. We would like to make it an online database and would need some programming expert to help us... any takers?
The pool filled up and overflowed many times now and we have all had turns enjoying it on rainy and sunny days alike ... check out Eli in the last clip of this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rxXG46pbxg , which Alfonzo made about his time here at the IPC base-camp!
We met some new friends, a couple and two French travellers, who due to the quarantine set up down the road as house sitters on a beautiful property and they have helped make this period easier and more fun. They had a car until this week, and often we have gotten supplies and had a few get togethers since they arrived. Not long ago, they invited the kids to a birthday party they organized for a local 6 year old boy who had never had a party of any kind. When restrictions are lifted it will be sad to see them go.
This month the IPC also hosted a neighbours gathering at the base camp. We served home made empanadas and devilled eggs to families here that afternoon and ate, talked, played ‘put the beak on the toucan’ and some card games. It was a good way for the children to all intermingle and having Alfonzo with us helped break the language barrier between the adults further.
During one of our meetings last month we updated the contract ... (not yet changed on the website) concerning the maternity leave starting time, from 2 months to 3 months prior to the expected due date of birth, mostly for Shawoho purposes. Why did this come up, you may be wondering? Well Jessie is going to have a little girl come July!! And its gearing up to be a base camp birth!
Not as impressive, but also interesting, we challenged ourselves to have our first 100 meter diet meal (with only items from the garden and land)! Dasheen, plantain, coconut soup with a *sustainable palm heart and fresh greens salad with a papaya dressing. We only cheated with some salt!
And more news on the food front - the return of frying pan pizza nights... still looking for a lid that fits my pan but in the mean time my neighbour lent me the perfect sized lid and here we are about to dig into the feast!
Here you can see Alfonzo and Dominique joining us.
Dominique left a few weeks ago to find some paid work closer to town. His help was appreciated here especially with wood work, where he added some new benches to the base camp and repaired some windows frames.
Alfonzo and I broke curfew two weeks back to protest and bring a message to the mayor of Bocas. The protest had a dismal showing, due to many things... it thundered showered and we gave short notice to most people and I still don’t use FB which apparently is how most people, sadly enough, communicate here. We were also a small nucleus launching it and put very limited time into organizing the affair. Even so, we heard back from some, spoke to others face to face on the way down to town and must mention that there are some people who I have lost respect for ... it was a good way to test the mettle of connections here, to separate the paysanos from the sheeple.
Even so, after delivering our document to the mayors office, we happened to be directed to a meeting of big wigs with a representative from the central governments’ ministry of health where we made our case to be considered ... we are asking for the local economy to open up again, reduce the strict measures here on the archipelago where there is not even one reported case. Here is the document we wrote in English and Spanish.
The representative who is also a doctor was much more understanding, and in my opinion better informed, than the local authorities which were also in the conference room. He said he would bring up our points and the document to the national government. Overall it was a good exercise ... and we will see if anything comes of it.
I had made an error of facts during the last update when I had written that everyone in Germany is being screened for the virus. A thank you goes out to Kristina in Germany for setting the story straight. The actual information that originated in Spanish newspapers was that Germany was testing more people overall because they tested those that had even mild symptoms which allowed their statistics to be more solid and allowed them to deal with the virus earlier, therefore having less casualties as well. In contrast, in other European countries, when people called the hospital with minor symptoms they were told to call back if their symptoms got worse. Therefore, many of the lighter cases were never reported in the statistics. This means we will never know how many people actually got the virus, dealt with it on their own and did not report it. Furthermore, in more recent weeks I have learned that in some countries such as the US there are incentives for doctors to claim the CoVid-19 as the cause of death even when it is not true and also a heated debate in the Italian parliament in late April, that argued that the death rate from the Co-Vid 19 in their country was over exaggerated, where the deaths were actually caused by cancer, heart attacks etc... and apparently most of the death certificates indicate this however because many of these were found to also carry the virus the media and others in government have used it as a scare mongering tactic and it means that the virus was not the actual cause of death.
Meanwhile, G5 infra-structure is being quietly put up while people are distracted and bought by the media virus frenzy and government hand outs, to stay home! This is not a theory, it was happening before the quarantine and it continues to be implemented. Surveillance to the max! There is a good documentary on the subject I saw last year, made in recent years, definitely worth watching called 5G Apocolypse - The Extinction Event by New Earth Project. Although the beginning seems quite alarmist and the editing of the first minutes that nouveau popular ultra hyper cut style that I detest, the rest of the documentary is super informative.
A beautiful truebug
We miss the ocean, so last week we broke curfew and hit a beach on one of the other islands. Ahh, free living! I wish free living for all souls.
May the Force be with you!
Your IPC correspondent,
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