Friday, January 23, 2015

January is Produce and Production

This month has been wonderful.  I've enjoyed the pleasure of travel and shopping local tiendas, flea markets, craft shops, antique stores....and some thrift stores too, chowing down in a variety of small local eateries and working physically part of the day as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity building homes in central Florida.
When I saw the hand painted sign above, outside a small vegetable store in Fellsmere, Florida I smiled at the connection between the production we are doing building structures and the word 'produce' in which those who farm, are building a food supply.

The month began for me in Dade City, a small town N.E. of Tampa, at a great affiliate of Habitat for Humanity.  They have fine tuned their operations using the volunteers for Habitat called Care-A-Vanners.  Mostly retired folks, but not always.... who travel in their RV's or motor homes part time or full time, building homes around the country.  A fun group to work with.

Now I'm down a bit further and over close to the east coast town of Vero Beach, but in a small town called Fellsmere.  A very small town with an evenly mixed population of white, black and Hispanic.

The homes HFH are building in Fellsmere and Dade City are really nice 3 bedroom, 2 bath models. The plan changes a little in different towns and states, but usually a basic 2 or 3 bedrooms.

 Not big, but well designed.  I wish a home like this was available for me when I was starting out...but it's great for the mostly young families who are working hard struggling to make it in today's world.

In Dade City, we worked on one special house with 6 bedrooms, 5 baths.  It was for a family that had 6 special needs children.  Six total; a couple of theirs and a few they adopted. 

These small towns have a flavor of their own.  Usually there are a base population that has  been there for generations and then there are the new folks in town.  Always a nice blend of old and new.

This little Spanish tiendita (little store) is typical.  Open 7 days a week, from 10-8, this young woman treats her produce as an art formPride of ownership!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Travels Other Than By Motor Home

Besides 'Land' travel, I continue to be connected to my life on the water.  The cruising on my sailboat has ended, but not my connection to the people we met along the way.  In this case............

I continue to be asked to explain the Ulu Sail Project so here goes...
 The sails of the Kuna Indians of Panama were mostly made of scraps they accumulate from old cruising sails given to them by cruisers, or even bed sheets, political posters, or any such old fabric.  Anything that can catch the wind.

From the beginning, I always took items to give away along my path, to those I found with needs. Usually, it was toys or something simple for children.  Clothing or simple fishing gear was also in stock for 'give away's'.  Generosity is not uncommon in the cruising community.  Some cruisers devote much of their time while cruising and while at home, to do good as they move across earths surface.  I have found cruisers delivering medical supplies, books and educational material or the gift of their personal time and skills.  The close contact cruising affords offers unique opportunities.
My 'cruising' has ended, but the connection to some of those we met, has not.
                                              The Indians use what they have..

For part of our continuing story, the "Ulu Sail Project", click on this web address.

The Ulu Sail Project has now made over 300 sails for the dug out canoes of the Kuna Indians, 2/3's of which have so far been delivered.
They are traded for a couple of molas, a hand sewn ornamental part of a garment worn by the women in their daily clothing.  It's an item they commonly used to sell, but this offers them a chance for barter.  Barter, allows them to keep their hard earned cash and still get what they need.

For a short YouTube video link on the Ulu Sail Project, visit:

The "next" delivery of sails to their Guna Yala region of Panama will be in March or April 2015.