Daily Archives: February 19, 2007

Birthday report#1

skiWe all lay in our beds and called out “Happy Birthday,” to Andrew on Saturday morning as he left to go skiing in Gatineau Park. He left around 7:30am so there was no gift giving or celebrating before he left. By the time he returned we were all at violin group classes for the day. He dropped in to pick up B6(not a violinist) so they could go to the church and make a car for the upcoming Awana car races. Each participant starts with a block of wood, an axel and some wheels and they design and decorate their cars for racing. Last year both B6 and A10 brought home trophies for speed, so B6 is pretty keen to retain his title.

After group class we met back at home for supper with friends. The cake had to be iced, but I couldn’t make chocolate icing as B6 had requested (even though it wasn’t his birthday) because it appears that cocoa is a bit of an exotic food item. I searched the baking shelves but could not find any, only chocolate cake mix, chocolate muffin mix, chocolate pudding mix and premade chocolate icing, no cocoa for those of us who want to make it from scratch. So, we had coffee icing instead, which no-one seemed to mind, as our children seem to be very fond of coffee even though they are not allowed to drink it. As it turns out I should have been buying icing sugar as there was only enough at home to make icing to put between the layers not on top.

Before we ate there was a little gift giving, Andrew opened one gift, then we all listened to the next gift. L12 and A10 had composed a piece of music for two violins and then recorded it. The birthday boy was very pleased and we were all most impressed with the piece. Also on the recording was an instrumental version of the Happy Birthday song and two vocal versions: one sensible, one silly!

We enjoyed our Pork Vindaloo and then Andrew and I raced off before the birthday cake as we were going out to see one of our  friends appear in “Little Shop of Horrors The show was excellent, as was our talented friend who played Chiffon, one of the Ronnettes.

Investment and risk in Ecuador

The game seems to be getting more complicated the more money the participants make. When most people were finding it hard to make ends meet they had to decide whether they could afford to educate their children. A few are still dealing with that but most are wondering whether to hire an extra labourer to grow more crops, or how much to invest in eco-tourism. The more money there is the more choices there seem to be. When it was suggested to a few farmers that they might not need to plant two hectares as they already had enough money to cover their needs, they were surprised and said they hadn’t thought of that.

The eco-tourism project has proved to be equally or more profitable than farming for those employed by it. The village members met with the eco-tourism specialists to decide how the profits should be divided. The eco-tourism team had come up with three proposals, inspired partly by the photos they saw last week of the real eco-tourism resort. There was not unanimous support for the development of the eco-tourism project this time and the reasons were varied. Someone suggested that too many tourist would result in too much “civilisation” coming to the village. Others, the struggling farmers, wanted to see some of the profit divided among the village members not all re-invested in making the project bigger and better. They saw the proposal to pour all the profit plus some further investment as too risky and voted accordingly. The vote was carried, however, and now the eco-tourism specialists are soliciting applications for boat drivers, tourist cabin builders and a boardwalk builder.

One of the struggling farmers commented to me that if most of the village were no longer farming, but employed by the eco-tourism project, the price of coffee, maize and cacao might rise. She is not applying for any of the jobs.