Fire / Feu

Une expérience déterminante au sein du CESTA

Jason Blanch travaille en El Salvador depuis plus de deux mois avec le CESTA (Centre Salvadorien de technologie appropriée). Il sait que « poco a poco » (peu à peu en espagnol) le monde va changer.

Son séjour l’a déjà profondément marqué, pas autant en ce qui a trait aux détails techniques de son travail qu’en ce qui a trait à la satisfaction qu’il récolte en aidant les gens. Par exemple, agissant en tant que traducteur, il a donné une présentation en Espagnol à partir de textes anglais. Il s’est rendu compte que le groupe devant lequel il était n’était pas familier avec le paillis (une couche de paille destinée à préserver l’humidité du sol et à conserver son énergie en éliminant des mauvaises herbes). Il a donc expliqué au groupe les avantages liés à l’utilisation du paillis. Ceux qui ont assisté à la présentation sont partis bien informés. Ce qui se résume en une petite contribution de sa part qui pourtant est importante.

Diplômé de l’Université Mount Allison et occupant un poste au Club Sierra de la Colombie-
Britannique, il ne pouvait soupçonner qu’il aurait la chance de se rendre en El Salvador, où il travaillera pendant 6 mois.

Poco a poco

Jason Blanch
September 1998

i.gif (173 bytes) have been in El Salvador working with CESTA (The Salvadorian Center of Appropriate Technology) for over two months. I must admit that a year ago, having just graduated from Mt. Allison University in Sackville, it was not even a dream that I would get a CIDA-sponsored youth internship position with the Sierra Club of British Columbia that would include six months working in El Salvador. Dream or no dream, I am here and it is a life-directing experience. I cannot sum up CESTA and the work they do, any more than I can sum up my own experiences. I could describe the projects I am working on, like updating the CESTA web page or planting and weeding the garden at CESTA's permaculture school, but the real experience I am living lies well outside of the actual tangible things I can say that I am doing.

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"
... little by little, we will change the world."
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jason.jpg (4169 bytes)
(photo: Jason Blanch)

For example, I gave a lecture in Spanish on permaculture last week to a group of campesino community leaders, but it is difficult to explain how good I felt to actually be able to help people ever so slightly. I did nothing more than to act as translator, as I am not a permaculture specialist, but I can read English and explain, in Spanish, more or less what I have read. The intangible is in the unexpected. In explaining design I used the example of mulch in the garden and quickly learned that the practice of mulching was not familiar to this group of people. In the end, the people might not have gone away motivated to redesign their farms or communities, but they did go with the knowledge that a little bit of mulch can conserve a lot of energy by reducing weeds, and conserve a lot of soil and water that would otherwise pass through their property on its way to the nearest river.

This is not a huge achievement, the world is not now clear of disaster, but as the people here say, "poco a poco", meaning little by little, we will change the world. The people here at CESTA work with an energy that not only shows a dedication to changing the world but with conviction that we will change the world. I for one am with them. What other choice do we have?