What does ecoCharcoal mean to me?

There is a prolonged silence in this blog… not because activities are going bad or have stopped. In fact, at the moment, Aquilas and Ghislain are working in order to store as much carbonized straw as possible, so we have enough raw material to produce ecoCharcoal once the harvesting season is over (by the end of February, beginning of March).

I wanted to write a post because I miss putting some thoughts here on the blog, and I don’t want it stagnant… because the project is not stagnant at all!
So I am going to write a more personal note this time. I am going to express my personal motivations to keep working in this project even though “I don’t get paid for it” (as I so often get questioned about once “my” ecoCharcoal project is brought to the table). I think that for most of you who read and follow my news, may know already that I find particularly passionate and motivating all the principles behind the project: the empowerment of local people, the health  and energy issues related to the use of wood-charcoal and wood, the genre equality that we privilege in our production teams… but I have to be honest that what truly motivates me personally is the environmental awareness that is behind the project since the beginning with the american Envodev.
I came to meet Envodev’s work by mere chance one 2012’s december day when I opened Chad NOW’s website. I clicked on the last “Chad nonprofit partners” and went to the old Envodev’s website. There I started to scroll on the different projects and initiatives and, unconsciously, understood the importance of these projects. A couple of years after, and I can now understand why I empathized so easily with them: these projects were a sort of closed loop… a continuous cycle that may start on the ecoCharcoal project and continued on to the composting toilets’ project (that didn’t really took off yet ;)… From my point of view what I saw was a tremendous will to, above all, preserve and restore health to Chad’s ever fragile Natural Environment:
– Instead of wood, straw was used to produce charcoal, therefore contributing to reduce deforestation levels;
– Instead of loosing precious heat and consuming unnecessary quantities of charcoal, the wire stoves could be replaced by the improved cook-stoves and that would help reduce even more, charcoal consumption;
– Instead of disposing of a fantastic source of fertility to our lands: which is the human manure, the composting toilets would help collect it and direct it to appropriate facilities where it would be subjected to a composting process, and afterwards it would serve as one of the best fertilizers there is on Earth. It would be put on the soil to enrich it and enable it to grow trees more easily and fast, and to help farmers take care of their lands. So they can produce rice and sesame, so that we could keep collecting straw and producing ecoCharcoal!
Delicious, right?! 🙂
This is coherent, humble and brilliant at the same time!

And so about a couple of days after sending a motivation letter and a CV, I got an answer from Envodev USA and from there, long story short, here I am, more then two years after. After two marvellous trips to Chad… A year ago I was in Moundou… my first time in Africa (and out of Europe)! It was surely one of the richest experiences of my life.
I saw the potential and the importance of the project in this context and I learned about many things on the way. I met incredible people and had (mostly) very good experiences.
Now I’m not sure when I’ll be back there. I am working from distance with Aquilas, Ghislain, MCC’s staff/friend’s and with the Portuguese NGO’s Engenho&Obra and CEAUP, so we can see the ecoCharcoal project fully come to life.
And the energies around this project are positive and “good things come to those who wait”, and if I may add: to those who work and put good energy in.

After all, the core objective of this project is to be kind and celebrate all children of all species for all time. So we make this Planet a better place for all species and elements, including ourselves, for we Humans could never live on Earth alone!

Thanks all of you who follow and support the ecoCharcoal project and find a moment to read this blog! 🙂

Carolina

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