Thursday, May 31, 2012

Airstrip in Mibu?

Could it be? Is it possible that sometime in the next couple years there might be an airstrip in Mibu?

In December of last year, the Mibu people started making some noise about trying to finish the airstrip project. It's something they'd begun many times in the past but always left undone. Many things got in the way, but mostly it was uncertainty. "Is all this effort actually going to result in the opening of an airstrip?" was the question that plagued as they toiled. It didn't take much then for folks to give up on the effort.

This go around is a bit different though. As members of the community ourselves we've decided with the Mibu people to provide some input into the project. Not so much that this becomes our airstrip, but some guidance so as to keep the work on track and also to add an element of confidence that their hard work will pay off; that it's worth doing. Also, as we have extra funds, we'd like to help contribute to some of the approximately $10,000 in expenses that would be required to finish this project.

Amazingly, when they started the project in January, the motivation was higher than we've ever seen it. They managed to clear about 600 meters of land in just 6 days! Truly amazing. Still a TON of work that needs to be done, but a good start. Reports I get on occasion indicate that the work still continues in our absence... a good sign of ownership. This project is also a great setting to stress the importance of working together and point out the attitudes that can so rapidly discourage and cause doubt.

The benefits of this airstrip for the Mibus is largely that it connects them with buyers of their cash crops. They have an ever increasing coffee harvest each year and currently are not being paid a fair price. Sometimes they don't get paid at all after all that hard work. This airstrip will be an encouragement to them as they'll hopefully begin to see more of the fruit of their labors. They also have great oranges and we could see them connecting with some of the markets out in town.

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