This past Friday (12/09/08) the San Francisco Saludable team was invited to participate in a meeting at 11:00am in the native community of Nuevo Egipto (est. pop. 130), the nearest of two annexes within the territory of San Francisco, located 1 km to the northwest of San Francisco. Earlier that morning Nuevo Egipto had organized a community cleanup and then had a meeting of the Community Anniversary Organizational Committee who wanted to talk with us. As the nearest annex, the members of Nuevo Egipto had been listening to the daily announcements on the loud speaker from the SFS team and were interested to see how they too could participate in the project. We were excited to hear about their positive reaction to our work and after the daily collection of organic materials Jose and Brian set off under the midday sun.
The committee, composed of the community leader, the Preschool teacher and Primary school teacher, and three other active members of the community, began by explaining how they too valued and wanted a clean community. Furthermore they were curious why someone from SFS had not come sooner to share information about appropriate waste management. After excusing our absence we then used our educational pamphlet to explain the integrated program of composting, recycling collection, landfill operations, and community outreach that is taking place in San Francisco. Upon hearing about our activities they asked if we would come and present some workshops about our work, and more specifically, information about pollutants and their associated health risks.
They also expressed deep concern for an informal dump that had appeared on the side of the road connecting the two communities, right next to Nuevo Egipto’s fish farm. A large quantity of recyclable and non-recyclable materials that had previously been accumulating around the original Casa de Basura were scraped up with a bulldozer during the construction of the plaza in San Francisco and dumped near the entrance of their community. The act and resulting eye sore, as well as the potential for contaminating the fish farm were a big embarrassment for our team as most of the materials came from our previous cleanup campaigns. There was even a sack of plastic stuffed bottles from the original Cine San Francisco therefore the first activity organized between SFS and Nuevo Egipto was cleaning up this irresponsible act by the local municipality of San Francisco and the District municipality of Yarinacocha.
The cleanup was organized for Sunday (14/09/08) at 6:00am and the original plan was that SFS would clean up OUR MESS and Nuevo Egipto would prepare a site to deposit recyclable and non-recyclable materials that would each be collected once a week by the SFS Collectors. Jose, Virgilio, and Brian began cleaning at 6am to the sound of Julio Cesar informing the community about our work over the community loudspeaker. We were soon joined by Julio Cesar and the community leader, Raul Cinti who both helped us re-collect materials until 8:30am. By that time we had completely filled the tricycle, but there was still more materials buried in the soil. Furthermore no other volunteers arrived and the collection site that had been talked about was not prepared. Regardless of these setbacks we feel that we took a big step in getting Nuevo Egipto involved with our future activities.
We now anticipate the participation of Nuevo Egipto cleaning up their community for the DIADESOL on Saturday, September 20th and we hope to have an educational workshop prepared soon to promote source separation of the three classes of materials within their community. We also anticipate that these actions will lead to the participation the other annex, Santa Clara, about 1km further to the north. Seeing our message spread and grow within another community over the past few days has been very inspiring for the whole team.