Archivo del Autor: brbest

Jema Jakoanti – Clean and Healthy Communities

Jema Jakonati: An Integrated Plan for the Environmental Management of Community Resource Recovery, (PIGARC in the Spanish acronym). This is a system for planning and implementing the management of ALL waste, solid and liquid, that can be found in rural communities, human settlements, other population centers, and even within cities. The fundamental and principal idea and objective is NO WASTE. Within a truly natural ecosystem, where the waste of one is the resource of another, we believe that true sustainability is only found in environments where there is no waste.

Cyclical systems assure that resources, be it food, fuel or fiber for humans, or technological nutrients for industries, are not wasted. From this idea the modern recycle movement was born along with its well-known symbol. Our objective is to place EVERY material that is found in a community within a cyclical system of resource recovery. This is done through a program of education and action that includes community workshops tailored to children and adults, house-to-house guidance, public service announcements, and technical assistance with the project infrastructure and implementation. We employ a simple two-step management system. Step one is identifying all potential community residues and step two is identifying individual solutions for each residue.

Organic Residues are all those residues that come from natural sources like leaf litter and food scraps. Organic residues utilize the natural process of decomposition, which is the most ancient and original form of recycling in the world. The technique of composting is the result of many millennia of human interaction with their environments. The resulting decayed organic material, compost, is the most beneficial plant fertilizer known to man. Composting and its product compost has been a pillar of human development since the advent of agriculture, even for early hunter-gatherers. Thus, composting is nothing new to the Shipibo communities where we are implementing our projects. They have been placing their organic residues around fruit trees to fertilize them for generations. We use three different composting techniques with our projects, individual family composting around fruit trees and grey-water garden composting for small communities, and community-wide large scale composting for large and dense communities.

Organic Residues

From Animal Sources:

  • Guts
  • Feathers
  • Skins
  • Hair/Fur
  • Bones
  • Meats
  • Shells
  • Manure
  • Urine

From Vegetable Sources:

  • Leaves
  • Branches
  • Barks
  • Roots
  • Peels
  • Pulps
  • Seeds
  • Food Scraps

From Human Sources:

  • Excrement
  • Urine
  • Hair
  • Nails

From Industrial Sources:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Toilet Paper, Paper Napkins
  • Wood
  • Sawdust
  • Ceramics
  • Cotton-Based Clothing and Thread

Liquid Residues also fall under the Organic Residues classification residues from natural soaps, food, animals and the human body. Liquid Residues, commonly referred to as “Grey Water”, come from food preparation, washing, and bathing. The disposal of defecated and urine matter in water resources is referred to as “Black Water” and should be avoided unless a proper management system, such as an adequately designed and managed biodigestor, is utilized. While lots of “Grey Waters” may have synthetic and/or toxic materials, grey-water gardens have been designed to filter the water, capturing harmful residues while reutilizing all of the organic residues for food, fuel, and fiber production. The design we promote is called a “Banana Circle” and utilizes a banana root-lined pit that not only filters grey-water and grows bananas, but it also provides a space for composting. It is an All-in-One solution for Organic Residues.

Liquid Residues

  • Soaps
  • Shampoos
  • Detergents
  • Bleaches

Human Residues are also Organic Residues that consist of defecated and urine matter. These residues can be managed through composting techniques, but one must use more care when working with human residues because they have the potential of carrying human pathogens, such as parasites and bacteria, that can make us sick. However, proper management techniques with biodigestors and waterless composting latrines can destroy human pathogens and recover the natural resources for plant fertilizer without putting our lives at risk. Waterless composting latrines are preferred and promoted for economic (much cheaper) and ecological (no water) reasons, and the final product is superior to biodigestors in relation to the sterilization of human pathogens and the amount of plant available nutrients in the resulting compost.

Human Residues

  • Excrement
  • Urine

The following types of residues consist of those that come from industrial processes. These are referred to as Inorganic Residues, which is to say “Not Organic”. The vast majority of these materials are complex plastics derived from hydrocarbons, but also includes heavy metals and other toxic mixtures. Unfortunately these residues are not readily biodegradable; hence other management techniques must be utilized. Within this classification we have identified three sub-categories: 1) Recoverable Residues, 2) Waste Residues, 3) Dangerous Residues.

Recoverable Residues are residues, which have an industrial system for recovering the natural resources of the material. The recovery system is called Recycling and these residues have a commercial value and market within the large cities. However, the process of recycling uses a lot of energy and creates a lot of waste itself, and the product in many cases is inferior to the original product and will soon not be recyclable. For this reason reuse techniques are sought after and utilized with many of these materials, and the rest are sold to help cover operations costs

Recoverable Residues

  • Plastic #1 (Soda Pop, Cooking Oil)
  • Plastic #2 (Cooking Oil, Shampoo, etc.)
  • Mixed Hard Plastics (Buckets, Basins, Plates, Cups, Bowls, Tupperware, Motor Oil Bottles, Toys, Brushes, etc.)
  • Glass Bottles (Not Broken)
  • Tin Cans (Fish, Milk, Paint, etc.)
  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Various Non-Steel Metals
  • Electronics
  • Cables
  • Wires
  • Hoses

Waste Residues are residues, which have no industrial system for recovering the natural resources of the material. The majority of the trash that contaminates our environment is composed of these residues because they hold little intrinsic value to society and many people see no reason to hold onto them. Thankfully the vast majority of these residues are flexible plastics that can be easily compacted into plastic bottles and converted into a Recoverable Residue. Plastic bottles provide a vessel for non-biodegradable wastes that can be used as a building material (like a brick) when it is stuffed with compacted waste residues. Diapers can be composted and the sifted plastic materials can then be placed in bottles, leaving a very small percentage of true waste within the community.

Waste Residues

  • Plastic Bags
  • Bottle Labels
  • Product Packages
  • Synthetic Clothing and Tread
  • Woven Plastic Sacks
  • Mosquito Screen
  • Plastic Sheeting
  • Blister Pill Packages
  • Fishing Nets
  • Dental Floss
  • Disposable Plates, Cups, Silverware
  • Plastic String (Rafia)
  • Synthetic Arts and Crafts
  • Plastic Coated Paper (Phone Cards, Notebook Covers, etc.)
  • Rubber Bands
  • Styrofoam
  • Coolers
  • Tape
  • Band-aids
  • Diapers
  • Sanitary Napkins
  • Plastic Tampon Applicators
  • Condoms

Dangerous Residues are residues, which are composed of toxic materials or are physically dangerous (sharp). These materials cause dis-ease and illness within all living things, even death. They can have seriously detrimental effects on the environment. The majority of these residues come from mining, oil, and chemical industries. Some dangerous residues are designed to be recycled, but many countries have neither the infrastructure nor the economic resources to recover and reuse the resources in these residues. Furthermore, those processes make much more waste as a byproduct. Many of these materials should be avoided altogether because they have few possibilities for recycling and require a high cost for disposal and care in a special landfill designed for dangerous residues. These materials are stored in plastic bottles until they can be transported to a center where they can be recycled (like batteries) or disposed of in the safest manner possible.

Dangerous Residues

  • Batteries
  • Portable Batteries
  • Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
  • Syringes
  • Broken Glass
  • Motor Oil
  • Thinner
  • Enamel Paint
  • Gasoline, Diesel Fuel
  • Misc. Petrol Chemicals

The infrastructure of the project consists of two installations. The first is Resource Recovery Center (RRC). This is site for storing Recoverable Residues in large reusable sacks, Waste Residues that have been stuffed into plastic bottles, and Dangerous Residues that are stored in a semi-safe manner until they may be transported to the city to be recycled, or in extreme cases, disposed of in a special landfill for hazardous materials. Aside from being a storage center for residues and tools, the RRC also includes an example of a waterless composting latrine and demonstrates how Waste Residues can be reused to build walls and other useful objects. In this sense the RRC also serves as an educational tool for the community where members and visitors can go learn the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of Integrated Waste Management, and Permaculture Theory and Design.

Within the communities where we work a plot of land 20 meters by 10 meters is recommended for the construction of a RRC that is 7.5 meters by 5 meters. The plot of land must be registered with a written declaration of possession declaring the land is the responsibility of the local municipality to serve as the RRC for the community. This is done to avoid potential land issues with other member in the community.

The second installation is the placement of Resource Recovery Bins throughout the community to compliment the anti-litter education campaigning. These bins are reused from local industries in regional capital city of Pucallpa. They are composed of a durable plastic that is quite resistant to solar UV rays and do not rust, therefore they last many years in the harsh tropical sun and heavy rains.

Depending on the size of the community a cargo tricycle may be needed to help with daily, weekly or monthly collections. In most of the communities a tricycle will not be needed, but they are quite convenient and each community could benefit from one if the funding was available.

This solution was developed from nearly a decade of study and testing with the pilot project San Francisco Saludable. It is a hybrid of innovative municipal solid waste management, permaculture practices, and traditional indigenous techniques.

Projects are implemented within communities that express desire for a solution to their waste management problems. Once a community is identified we seek partnerships with the local municipalities and private funding to sponsor the project. We then begin the implementation of the project with a formal community assembly where our project director and district coordinator discuss project logistics and figure out what contributions to the project will be made by the community. A Resource Recovery Committee is also formed to help complete a baseline study of the community and promote the project. Based on the results of the study we will know what level of infrastructure and organization will be required for successful implementation.

Currently we have five active projects, all within Shipibo “Native Communities”. The Pilot in San Francisco, the Pilot Replication in Nueva Ahuaypa, and further replication projects in Nueva Samaria, Roya, and Santa Rosa de Dinamarca. San Francisco’s project was formalized in 2008 and now functions as a municipal service within the community. The dense and large population requires the labor of two fulltime collectors who work Monday through Friday collecting separate materials and producing tones of compost at the San Francisco Saludable Resource Collection Center. However, a lack of responsibility from the current mayor of the District Municipality, Professor Edwin Diaz Paredes, requires the need for a monthly donation of $250.00 to pay one of the collectors.

The project in Nueva Ahuaypa began in November 2009 and was formalized as a community municipal service in November of 2010. The replication projects in Nueva Samaria, Santa Rosa de Dinamarca, and Roya began in June, July, and August of 2011, respectively. These projects are all in the beginning phase are programmed to receive a year of technical and educational support until the project becomes the responsibility of the community Municipality. Continued observation and support from Allianza Arkana is provided indefinitely from our Project Promoters and Directors. We are also coordinating a formal agreement with the District Municipality of Iparia to pay the salary of our Upper Ucayali Coordinator, Lisenia Panduro Soto.

Short-term – There are seven more communities that have been identified and are programmed to begin projects in 2011-2012. Four of these communities are part of the U.S. Embassy’s Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) replication grant that were identified at the end of 2010, the other three were identified in January of 2011 through connections with others AA projects and our council of Shipibo Onaya Elders. We are currently working in three districts that correspond to the Upper Ucayali River, Middle Ucayali, and Greater Pucallpa geographical sectors.

Long-term – As the projects continue to have successful implementation they are generating substantial interest from neighboring communities, native and mestizo, along with the District capitals. We foresee an almost exponential amount of inquiries for Project Replications, not only in the District where we are currently working, but in Districts down river that correspond to the Lower Ucayali sector. There are around 140 total Shipibo communities along the Ucayali and various mestizo settlements, presenting plenty of work in our long-term goal of a Region-Wide implementation within all the communities along the Ucayali, and then up the various tributaries and further down river into the Department of Loreto and other Amazonian Regions.

In order for us to meet our short-term goals we need logistical support, which means we need more employees, namely two more local coordinators. One coordinator is needed to oversee and implement the projects in the District of Masisea (Middle Ucayali), and another to do the same in the District of Yarinacocha (Greater Pucallpa). These are fulltime employees who travel between and stay in the communities to drive the educational component of the project while keeping the implementation of the project infrastructure moving forward. With these employees in place we will have three District Coordinators who will be managed by the Project Director, who are all overseen by the Community Based Solutions Director.

We also need further funding for material in all the projects that we are, and plan on implementing over the next 12 months. This includes Resource Recovery Center materials, construction, and equipment costs. Additionally we need to provide transport and food for the Directors and Coordinators while in the field working, and administration costs at the Regional Office in Pucallpa.

Volunteers are also needed to help these projects go above and beyond expectations. There are currently four communities with Private Accommodation for volunteers and homestays can be arranged in two other communities.


May 2010 Update

Greetings all,

It has been months since our last post and I just wanted to share a quick update of all the advances San Francisco Saludable has made since winning the Ashoka Changemakers “Designing for Better Health” competition and a grant from the Clinton Global Initiative.

First off, we were blessed to have made a connection with a Fulbright Scholar, Amanda Garratt, who has taken on the replication projects in two more Shipibo communities, Nueva Ahuaypa and Calleria. I will be asking her to add a post to let you know all the details of how the project evolved to meet smaller community needs.

Nueva Ahuaypa

I have taken two trips to Ahuaypa to oversee the construction of their mini-landfill and was very impressed with the work going on there and level of commitment to the project by the community as a whole. The work on the landfill was completed in about 4 days, including the building of a tin roof and deep trenches to divert rain water away from the main trench. We stuck to a similar plan of the San Francisco landfill, but we made extra precautions to keep the rain out. Also in the same plan of operation NO TOXIC or DANGEROUS MATERIALS are permitted to enter this landfill. We realize that a landfill is not a true solution in waste management, but until solutions are made higher up the technological nutrient cycle we need to do something with dirty diapers and packaging materials.

Along with the landfill, we also began putting up heavy duty collection bins throughout the community. These large plastic containers were used for transporting Alcohol amongst other liquids into the Amazon and are now helping to keep the rivers and communities clean, and they don’t rust!

One last note on Ahuaypa,

We have received a most excellent donation from a Shipibo healing center, the Temple of the Way of Light, ( to pay a monthly wage to the volunteer environmental promoter in the community, Lisenia. We thank all those at the Temple of the Way of Light and look forward to opportunities this brings us for the expansion of responsible waste management along the Ucayali river. With a little more support we may have a Resource Recovery boat between Ahuaypa and Pucallpa, with the potential of working with dozens of communities.

Lusenia is the president of the Resource Recovery Committee and has volunteered as the local coordinator for the project in Ahuaypa. ¡Icha birës irakë!

Back at home in San Francisco

The latest and most exciting news from the pilot project San Francisco Saludable is that the two collectors, currently Fabian Rengifo Cauper and Victor Alvarez Nicolas, have received work contracts from the district municipality. Preliminarily 2 months, this is a huge advance for the project and they are working hard to further demonstrate the value of the municipalities return in paying the wages of Fabian and Victor. Meanwhile Fabian has been extra busy reforesting 4 additional hectares (nearly 10 acres) while maintaining the 3 hectares (7.4 Acres) planted last year with support from Las Palapas Grill ( in Saskatoon, Canada through former volunteer Tessa Baker, another the artist Joel Harris (

Fabian has been using compost to fertilize the soil in the agro-forestry plots.

Primary School Garden Too!

San Francisco Saludable has also partnered up with the primary school in San Fran where Fabian and Victor sharing their matured compost and producing more compost on site at the Garden. Yet again we were blessed to have an amazing volunteer, Nadya Bell, who took on the development of demonstrative gardens at the Resource Recovery Center, coordination of the school garden with teachers, parents and kids, and the preparation the nearly 400 mt2. plot. We thank Nadya so much for her amazing work and would also like to put the word out to any potential volunteers to please consider coming and helping out. There is so much more to do and we have a great house and a great family to look after you while you are with us. We would also like to thank the Captain Planet Foundation for their support, along with Maria Maute, a former volunteer who helped raise additional funds after returning home.

Again, I hope to see more regular posting of the current advances of all the projects and would like to send out a huge hug and thanks to all those who have supported us over the past year.

Thank you so very much!

¡Muchisimas Gracias!

¡Icha birës irakë!

Nadya with a tree planted 10 months prior by the local preschool.

Ahuaypa Limpia y Saludable

Wilson "Wiso" Wito

¡Hemos Ganado!

Muchas gracias a todos los que nos apoyaron con sus votos en la competencia “Reinventando Una Vida Más Saludable” organizada por Changemakers de Ashoka. Tenemos el honor de anunciar que, gracias a sus votos, San Francisco Saludable fue escogido como una de los tres proyectos ganadores de dicha competencia, en la que participaron más de 280 iniciativas de 29 países.

También queremos agradecer a Changemakers de Ashoka y a la Fundación Robert Wood Johnson, organizadores de la competencia.

Los otros ganadores fueron GOONJ de India, con su proyecto “Just a Cloth Piece?” y la Fundación BOCA SANA, de Venezuela, con su proyecto “Niñ@s Promotores de Salud Bucal”. ¡Felicitaciones!

Los $5,000 del premio serán destinados a nuestras iniciativas de sostenibilidad. ¡Los mantendremos informados de nuestros avances!

ecard ganadores_RWJF

We are finalists!

San Francisco Saludable has received the honor of being named a finalist for “Designing for Better Health” competition put on by the Ashoka’s Changemakers initiative. Our project was selected out of 281 entries from 29 countries. Now there remain just 10 and we need YOUR help to win this competition and give our project a second year of funding to help us achieve a self-sustaining waste management service in San Francisco.

First, you need to register with Ashoka Changemakers. You can do that following this link:


2: Register

3: Click the button “Competitions”

4: Search for the “Designing for Better Health” competition.

5: Click “Vote Now”

6: Select 3 projects/ideas, our project title is “Heathy Amazon”

7: Click “Vote”

Thank you all for your support and don’t forget to share this information with your friends and family.

Irakë, SFS


El Centro de Acopio SFS

Welcome to the SFS Recycling Collection Center

Bienvenidos al Centro de Acopio San Francisco Saludable.

El Centro de Acopio San Francisco Saludable ya está abierto y completamente operativo. Aparte de ser usado para el almacenamiento de material reciclable previo a su venta, el Centro de Acopio también sirve de oficina, aula de clases y refugio de mediodía.

September 19th after completion

19 de setiembre, después de su terminación

October 15th

15 de octubre

November 7th

7 de noviembre

Luego de trabajar más de mes y medio en un lugar que más parecía un botadero informal que el centro de operaciones de un programa de manejo integral de los residuos sólidos, pudimos finalmente limpiar y organizar el Centro de Acopio. Esta demora se debió a problemas con la construcción del techo de la zanja sanitaria, la cual impidió el uso de la zanja para la disposición de los residuos inorgánicos no reaprovechables y nos obligó a acumular estos residuos – provenientes de un mes de operación del servicio de recojo y de un año de campañas de limpieza – en el frontis del Centro de Acopio. Con el traslado de la basura acumulada y la venta de 606 kilos de material reciclable hemos logrado llevar a cabo algunas mejoras sustanciales.

Entrance with table and toolsEl Centro de Acopio cuenta ahora con un piso de madera que cubre la mitad de su superficie de 5m x 8m. La madera para el piso fue reaprovechada de la que sobró de la antigua “Casa de la Basura”. Este piso es Recyclable materials and scaledonde ahora se lleva a cabo la segregación, el pesaje y el almacenamiento de los diferentes tipos de materiales reciclables. El área sin piso a la entrada del Centro de Acopio nos brinda un espacio para poder meter el triciclo y para guardar nuestra carretilla  Table and toolsy demás herramientas de trabajo. Dos mesas construidas con madera reutilizada nos ofrecen un espacio para trabajar y nos ayudan a tener una mejor organización. Para enero tenemos prevista la elaboración de una sencilla máquina para chancar latas que facilitará un trabajo arduo, pero esencial, que realizamos para conseguir un mejor precio de venta de los metales.

Ahora que el Centro de Acopio es un ambiente limpio y seguro también nos sirve como refugio del sol de mediodía y nos da un espacio para realizar actividades de educación ambiental en el campo. La más reciente fue una actividad de sembrado de árboles con niños de la escuela primaria y del jardín (nido) de la comunidad.

Richard and Erlin (not pictured) worked with Jose and the rest of the team to build the trellis for the maracuyá

Richard y Erlin (no aparece en la foto) trabajaron con José y el resto del equipo para construir el armazón para las maracuyás.

Erlin and Richard taking a break with a board game

Erlin y Richard toman un descanso jugando ludo.

El Centro de Acopio ahora tiene cuatro plantas de maracuyá creciendo en la entrada y varios árboles frutales (zapote, carambola y mamey) creciendo en la parte de atrás.

Conjuntamente, hemos construido un baño ecológico para satisfacer las necesidades de los trabajadores o visitantes del Centro de Acopio. Este baño es del tipo que se podría denominar “baño compostador” de doble cámara. El sistema es sencillo: las evacuaciones se realizan en una cámara o cajón y luego se cubren con aserrín fresco, el cual evita malos olores. Una vez que la primera cámara está llena, se cubre su hueco y se procede a usar la segunda cámara. Se calcula que, al llenarse la segunda cámara, las evacuaciones de la primera cámara se habrán decompuesto lo suficiente como para ser usadas como abono orgánico en actividades agrícolas o de reforestación.

We constructed the latrine out of reused wood from the old Casa de Basura

Construimos el baño ecológico con madera reutilizada de la antigua Casa de la Basura.

Pani and Richard planted a carambola tree next the finshed latrine

Una vez terminado, Richard y Pani plantaron una carambola junto al baño.

SFS Recycling Collection Center

Welcome to the SFS Recycling Collection Center

Welcome to the SFS Recycling Collection Center

The San Francisco Saludable Recycling Collection Center is now open for business. And aside from providing a space for storing recyclable materials it is also our default office, classroom, and recreation center.

September 19th after completion

September 19th after completion

October 15th

October 15th

November 7th

November 7th

After working for a month and a half in an environment that seemed more like a traditional dump than the integrated waste management center we had imagined we finally were able to clean it up and get organized.  The delay was caused by construction problems with the roof over the landfill, but once it was in place we moved all the accumulated refuse from more than a year of organized cleanups along with the first month’s collections of our formalized collection service. With the accumulated waste out of the way and the sale of 606 kilos (1,336 lbs) of recyclable materials we have been able to make much needed improvements.

Entrance with table and toolsThe center now has a wood floor covering half of the 5m x 8m area, reusing wood from the previous “Casa de Basura”. This floor is where the recyclable Recyclable materials and scalematerials are separated and weighed, and then stored in large industrial sacks. The dirt floor in the entrance provides us with room to bring the collection tricycle inside the center and also provides storage space for our Table and toolswheelbarrow and all of our tools. Two tables built out of reused wood provide us with workspace and better organization. In January we will be building a can crusher in hopes that we may be able to receive a higher price when selling this material.

Now that the RCC is a relatively clean and safe environment it also provides us with refuge from the blazing hot midday sun, as well as giving us a space which doubles as a classroom for environmental education activities. The most recent being tree planting activities with children from the community.The RCC now has four maracuyá vines growing near the entrance and various fruit trees recently planted in the back garden.

Richard and Erlin (not pictured) worked with Jose and the rest of the team to build the trellis for the maracuyá

Richard and Erlin (not pictured) worked with Jose and the rest of the team to build the trellis for the maracuyá

Erlin and Richard taking a break with a board game

Erlin and Richard taking a break with a board game

In addition, we have completed the construction of a composting latrine that is located behind the RCC. Utilizing the double vault system, each deposit is covered with fresh, hardwood sawdust. Once the first chamber is full we will then cover the hole and begin using the second chamber. It is anticipated that the first chamber will have decomposed sufficiently to be used as a soil amendment for further reforestation efforts once the second chamber has been filled. However, if the material in the first chamber requires more time to fully decompose it will be moved and built into a separate compost pile to ensure adequate and sanitary processing before agricultural use.

We constructed the latrine out of reused wood from the old Casa de Basura

We constructed the latrine out of reused wood from the old Casa de Basura

Pani and Richard planted a carambola tree next the finshed latrine

Richard and Pani planted a carambola tree next the finished latrine

Actualización: Compostaje en la Amazonía

Welcome to the SFS Composting Plant

Bienvenidos a la Planta de Compostaje SFS

Luego de once semanas de trabajo en nuestra Planta de Compostaje hemos terminado la décima ruma utilizando el método de CULTIVE BIOINTENSIVAMENTE. La elaboración de una ruma —la cual consiste de aproximadamente 900 kilos de material orgánico— demora un promedio de tres recolecciones de deshechos orgánicos (es decir, una semana, pues éstos se recogen los lunes, miércoles y viernes).

Las rumas se elaboran en capas de 1.5m x 1.5m hasta una altura de 1.2 a 1.4 m. Luego de tres semanas de descomposición, éstas se encojen hasta alcanzar una altura de aproximadamente 0.5m, momento en el cual se procede a “voltear” la ruma.

After 8 Piles we began a second row.

Nos cuenta con 10 rumas en diversas etapas de descomposición.

Durante las tres semanas iniciales de descomposición realizamos un monitoreo de la temperatura de las rumas utilizando un termómetro de 50cm. Todas las rumas logran sobrepasar los 60°C durante la primera semana de descomposición gracias a la presencia de prolíficas bacterias termofílicas. Dos de las rumas incluso llegaron a los 79°C durante un breve período de sequía en octubre en el que la temperatura ambiental llegó a los 37°C. También, durante las mañanas y las tardes frescas, se puede observar una nube de vapor emanando de las rumas; al inicio, Virgilio llegó a pensar que alguien había incendiado la primera ruma.

Después de la primera semana la temperatura baja a medida que las bacterias termofílicas terminan su trabajo. Al llegar a la tercera semana, la ruma está a una temperatura de 45°C y lista para voltear. El “volteo” de la ruma ayuda a acelerar y promover una completa descomposición pues ajusta el nivel de humedad, introduce más oxígeno a la ruma y genera una composición más uniforme de materiales, lo que ayuda a descomponer los materiales de mayor volumen. El volteo incluso invita de regreso a las termofílicas para una segunda ronda en la que las rumas se calientan hasta temperaturas que bordean los 60°C. El proceso de volteo dura aproximadamente una hora, dependiendo en el número de trabajadores. Son aproximadamente 700kg de materia para voltear, así que recomendamos por lo menos un voluntario y levantar el peso con las piernas…


7ª Ruma de Compost Antes del Volteo.


Voluntario local, Pani, volteando el compost.


7ª Ruma de Compost Después del volteo.

– Primero, usamos un pico para aflojar la tierra adjunta a la ruma que se va a voltear. (Utilizamos las mismas dimensiones de la ruma: 1.5m x 1.5m y 30cm de profundidad).

– Luego, quitamos todos los palos del borde de la ruma y utilizamos un trinche para mover el material orgánico en descomposición de la ruma al área adjunta en forma de un montón y cobrimos la nueva ruma con una capa de tierra fértil.

– Al final, todos los palos en el fondo de la ruma son recolectados para ser usados en la siguiente ruma.

La pila es luego dejada por dos meses  para que siga su proceso de descomposición antes de ser usada como composta. Ecology Action sugiere realizar el volteo sólo una vez para conservar los nutrientes de origen vegetal, pues estos preciados elementos se pierden con cada volteada. Hemos seguido este consejo, aunque nuestra primera ruma se volteó una segunda vez para acelerar el proceso de descomposición y satisfacer nuestras necesidades para la reforestación.

Virgilio helped the preschool reforest an area behind the compost piles.

Virgilio y el equipo trabajaron con los alumos de la Escuela Inicial para reforestar el terreno detrás de la Planta de Compostaje, utilizando compost de la 1ª ruma.

Los análisis preliminares demuestran que la composta proveniente de la primera ruma tiene un pH de 9, lo que sin duda ayudará a neutralizar los suelos ácidos de la Amazonía. En cuanto a la Conductividad Eléctrica, obtuvo una lectura de 7.51 dS/m, lo que refleja altos niveles de nutrientes disponibles para las plantas. Un análisis más completo será conducido en enero, cuando más rumas de composta hayan alcanzado su madurez.

Al ritmo al que hemos estado recolectando el material orgánico de la comunidad (aproximadamente una tonelada métrica cada semana), tendremos aproximadamente 600kg de composta disponible cada semana. La composta producida será vendida y utilizada en actividades de reforestación. Además, una parte de la composta estará disponible de manera gratuita para las actividades agrícolas y de reforestación que se lleven a cabo en la comunidad.