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  • Moises Hernandez

Happening at Rafaeles Eden during the global pandemic

When the lockdown stemming from corona virus began in Honduras last March, we at El Eden de los Rafaeles were inspired to create a plant nursery. We began by cleaning a space and creating shade for the nursery through a Ramada. Then we filled 10,000 small plastic bags with organic materials to create compost. We collected seeds from a great variety of plants such as fruit, ornamental, medicinal, forestry, timber and forage were collected and placed in each bag. A few days later we began to see progress in our nursery as the seedlings begun to germinate.

The trees grew fast and we took great care to tend to them and to make sure to clear out any weeds that would harm their growth. This nursery is a dream come true for us as we had previously been purchasing saplings from other farms in Honduras. Having our own nursery gave us the chance to select the best seeds and to reduce our carbon footprint by cutting out the cost of transportation.The trees grew beautifully during the next six months. Enough organic manure and compost was collected and in October we hired a local team from among our local community to help with the task of planting the saplings. Thus we began a new season of reforestation.

At the beginning of 2021 we had planted 5,000 trees. There were a plethora of challenges besides the pandemic. In November two category four hurricanes ETA and Lota passed thru Honduras. Unfortunately, there was a large number of trees that were lost along the river Tinto Negro. This river passes thru our land and its force took trees down from the roots. The good news was that our nursery survived and so did the most recently planted trees. We considered ourselves lucky as many people in other parts of the country lost their homes and everything they owned.In the next few months our team will study the land by the river bank and will be considering if it is worth replanting trees there.

Other projects we managed to accomplish in these last few months are:

  • The construction of a 12 kilometer road from the Guano community to El Campamento community that are nearby our farm.

  • The replacing of metal ones with live tree fences.

  • The reduction of livestock to have more land to expand our permaculture projects.

  • The construction of two cabins made from fallen or dry wood that was found on the land to receive future guests.

  • The creation of a new gofundme campaign: to help us raise funds for this season's reforestation project.

Now more than ever it is crucial to develop conservation and environmental projects in this part of Honduras. Besides the global pandemic last year we were witnessed last May of a hazardous fire deliberately started by one of our neighbors for the purpose of clearing a basin. This fire went out of control and almost affected our forest. We noticed how this deforestation and other recent loss of forest nearby has affected the water flow of the water basins and has caused more environmental damage.

Our vision is to establish a successful organic permaculture farm as part of our extended 670 hectares of forest land. This design integrates Agroforestry and silvopasture systems.We want to show our neighbors by example how we can thrive while successfully taking care of our forest and encourage them to make positive changes to the environment. We are reforesting land that was cleared in the past to create more space for wildlife and to reintroduce animals that have vanished from this part of Honduras such as the beautiful Macaw.

We are grateful for all those who have kindly donated to our campaign: Thanks to your contributions we have managed to plant 5,000 trees and will be adding more till we get to this season's goal of 10,000 trees. Please feel free to share with your family and friends we are near reaching our goal. With your support we can continue our mission to reforest our land.

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