How the vegetable hothouse buckled under its own success..

How the vegetable hothouse buckled under its own success..

In 2011 heavy weather completely demolished the plastic roof of the then vegetable hothouse of the country school 1 de Mayo San Ildefonso at the edge of Potosí. After a cry for help from the school we rebuilt the hothouse with a firm roof and other improvements. Unfortunately, fate struck again and the hothouse was hit by a torrent of rainwater flushing down the mountain, damaging it severely. Naturally we came to the rescue and not long after that the children could garden again to their hearts’ content. Many rich harvests followed. In March 2016 to our disbelief and grief we received the news that the hothouse had to give way to the school extension. Wonderful though it is that the school is doing so well that it needs extending and that the local authority provides the funding for it, how sad this has to be at the expense of the hothouse.

Meanwhile the hothouse has been deconstructed carefully and the building materials and tools stored for reuse. The school will be extended quite a bit, with toilets, computer facilities and a dining room, classrooms for secondary education and covered sports facilities. All these improvements make the school leap forward in a single bound to be a school that suddenly counts. We are not a hundred percent certain but assume that our vegetable hothouse project, our music project and all our contributions in sports gear, medication and bandages may have contributed something to the school’s positive image and subsequent growth and to the well-being and awareness of the pupils.

June 2015 The greenhouse project San Ildefonso has had a nice green follow-up: 6 students led by Margarita (janitor), Elba (teacher) and our coordinator Enrique went in June 2015 to a workshop “gardening in a greenhouse” in Cochabamba, where staff from the Alerta Verde foundation provided an excellent multi-day course.

The children were very enthusiastic and learned a lot during this exceptional trip! At their elementary school San Ildefonso in Potosí, they will pass on this knowledge and apply it in their own greenhouse.

They are very proud of the certificate they received afterwards.

In the meantime, a lot of vitamin-rich vegetables have already been harvested: specially lettuce and tomatoes grow exceptionally well at 4.200m above sea level!