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In this years’ evaluation process we have discovered that the self confidence of our children and teenagers has greatly increased. Through their auto-evaluation they were able to make a conscious analysis of their own strengths and weaknesses as well as their capacity to relate to their peers and teachers and make an assessment of their own methodological and academic progress.

They exhibited quality artworks that are both creative and show technical skill. Socio-natural projects developed in the class through investigation were presented orally. Handmade notebooks were fabricated and filled by stories written by the children. Alphabetization of the smaller children was successful and most of the older children have become active readers that take home books every week. The capacity to understand music as a combination of rhythm, melody and harmony was understood by all and certain children have learned to play the flue, guitar or drums. All are progressing well at their own pace in their math program.

The podcast and musical projects pushed the students to develop their oral and corporal expression which has helped them with their personal development which tends to be very introverted. They have learned to express their feelings and thoughts in a more natural way.

It is very gratifying for the teachers to see how the older students already have a clear vision in relation to their participation within their ethnic group and how they are planing to carry out further studies in order to take up important roles in their communities such as leaders, teachers or doctors.

La Voz de Las Plantas:

We applied for a grant from the Ministry of Culture of Colombia in order to create between the teachers and children a podcast with three episodes dedicated to medicinal plants of our region. We created this podcast between the month of September and November. We invited another five youths that do not study in Lobitos from our region to participate in this program. Each episode was dedicated to a specific type of ailments which is typical of our region and the natural remedies which exist to cure it. The first episode LA CONTRA was dedicated to snake bites and a home made tincture which is used to save lives in the case of a bite, the second episode RESPIRANDO SANO was dedicated respiratory diseases and the last episode BARRIGA PLENA CORAZON CONTENTO was about parasites of the digestive system. For each episode different adolescents carried out the investigation, learned how to use a recorders and went out to interview local shamans or adults that know about plant medicine. We also included in each episode a radio theater that was acted out by the younger children. IT was hard work for everyone to be able to create this program but it was exciting for the children to learn these skills and be able to share their own podcast online! Financially it brought a little extra income for the adults that work in Lobitos as well as making possible a two day field trip with all the children at the end of the year.

Production of the song Pagamento:

Juan Carlos was offered the opportunity by the producer KC Porter from Worldbeat in Los Angeles to create a song for Facebook’s musical library. Juan Carlos decided to make the song together with the teachers and children of the school. Joana Casas, our director wrote the song and Mitzi and Anderson brought additional melodies and rhythms. The children sang the song and Juan Carlos produced it. A wonderful opportunity for the children to participate in the production of a musical piece , sung in Spanish, Arhuaco and Kogi and which is about the spiritual traditions of the people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Financially the production and sale of this song also made possible an additional income for our staff as well as a payment to each of the families of our children (6 in total), the payment being a large quantity of food. Each child which participated also received special things they needed: shoes, hammocks, cloth, underwear, blankets etc. The song is available on our website in the blog section: www.selvatorium.co

Workshop Abrazando el Sol:

David Seinova, a professor from Colombia’s National University proposed to us to apply for an academic grant in order to carry out solar energy workshops in the Selvatorium. The grant came through and in November David visited us to introduce the idea of the workshop to our community at large, Due to the pandemic, he was not able to carry out large workshops but three small workshops where carried out in which two families and their children participated. They learned to fabricate a solar lamps and solar charging stations. The objective is to continue with this program in 2020, it is for the older children and any member of the community interested in participating. As part of the program a catalogue will be published with testimonies related to solar energy in our region.

New website / new logo:

This year we renovated the Selvatorium website in order to emphasis more the Lobitos del Selvatorium project which has become our main project in Selvatorium. The Colombian web designer Dayna Gabriunas offered her work on a voluntary basis to help out our project and we now have a beautiful new website! She also helped out designing our new fantastic jungle logo! Thank you Dayna!

End of the year field trip:

Most of the children which study in Los Lobitos have little opportunity to travel even to close cities like Santa Marta and some have never left the mountains at all, so its important to be able to take them to see new things. For the field trip all the school’s children came as well as the adolescents that we had invited to participate in the Voz de las Plantas podcast project. Through the goodwill of two friendly tourist locations which offered us amazingly low prices, we were able to organize a truly fantastic trip. The first day we visited Don Diego river and made a short boat trip to reach TAIRONAKA , a small archaeological site where we visited ancient indigenous terraces as well as a museum and had an amazing fish lunch. You have to remember that these children rarely eat fish and much less in restaurants! After this we went to our hotel La Jororra; a beautiful hotel next to the ocean which also has a small river with deep pools. Sunset on the beach was spectacular and some of the children admitted to never having been to the ocean even though they live only two hours by foot from the beaches. They felt like kings in their beautiful rooms with big beds and fans. In the morning we wolked to the top of the mountain to visit a sacred stone and see the panoramic viw of the ocean and then enjoyed the beach one more time before traveling to Dibulla where there is a large public swimming pool with huge slides which for the children the most exhilarating experience of all! This trip was made possible because of the Voz de las Plantas project.