By Lilly Christensen
Dawn brings a mellow misty morning punctured by the tropical sun’s first fierce rays, hooping of howler monkeys and wisps of woodsmoke. The volunteers start early; by nine o’clock they are already perspiring in the humming heat and two hours of hole-digging, weed-whacking and wood-chopping are complete. Marisol lifts a sizzling hearty feast from flame to table, and the they refuel. Bellies first; then the omnipresent chainsaws:
They swarm upwards, 10 metres in the air on pillars of tubu and teak and the following hours bring a hive of activity – drilling, hoisting, joining, bolting. Call and response sees tools passed deftly up and down. Guiding by Lynx’s practiced eye, ambitious creativity and epic chainsaw skills, any latent fear of heights drops away to be replaced by focus, balance, precision. Adrenaline and jubilation are in the air as yet another towering shipyard-structure is completed and crowned with a roof of dazzling galvanized ton. Around four pm, a soft breeze stirs the heavy stillness and approaching thunder growls. They slide back down to earth and burn their bare feet on the hot street that leads to Playa Blanca:
Sweat, dirt and muscle aches are washed away in the silver pacific. They splash about, swim out and dream with half-closed eyes of white sails on the future horizon. Then the sky turns black and opens up and raindrops drum crescendo on the mangrove leaves and they run back to the shipyard. Within 45 minutes the earth is completely saturated with a spectacular volume of water and as suddenly as it started, the downpour stops. Leaves drip gently in the stillness and the green glows in the soft grey light:
The trees breathe easier since the rain began. Their roots no longer battle with the bone-dry clay and dust, but can relax and grow down into the rich heavy soil. The result of nature’s gluttony has transformed the shipyard into a jungle, bursting with leaves and flowers and the promise of a glut of fruits and roots to feed next year’s volunteers and shipwrights: plantains, cassava, chaya, turmeric, pumpkins. Many tiny fruit trees have been planted- guayabana, marañon, aguacate – accompanied by madero negro, indio pelado, and the fantastically named sangre de drago – dragon’s blood tree. A decade from now, these trees will have grown into an abundant rainforest orchard.
Who knows where we’ll be a decade from now? But if you ever find yourself at the end of the road in Punta Morales, Costa Rica, help yourself to some fruit, and ask the trees about the story of Lynx and Danielle, and the ship called Ceiba.
Lilly has been with our team since late March of this year, and has participated in all types of tasks: from working on the bio-dynamic coffee farm in the cloud forest, manning the Alaskan Sawmill, seaming heavy canvas on our 1958 Singer, to welding roof rafters with Central American steel workers and leading the planting of our Shipyard Orchard... so diverse!! Gracias por todo lo que has hecho, Lilly!
All of our work is funded entirely by people like you investing in stock in our company. Learn more about becoming a shareholder of Ceiba!
Together we can #SeaShippingChange