New at Piedras Blancas

A few observation on new recreational opportunities at Piedras Blancas. If you are unfamiliar with this area it is a must visit when you are in Medellin. It is easily accessed via the Metro to the Acevedo Station, there you take the Metro Cable to Santa Domingo and transfer to the Cable Arvi which rises above the Medellin Valley and crosses several kilometers of the highland forests,  including some very nice patches of native high elevation woods.

At the Arvi Station you can get guided tours along some very nice trails. There is currently no charge for this service. These give you a chance to see the native vegetation at close hand. When you arrive be sure to take a look at the folios in the shelter just in front of the station exit. They provide photos and information (in Spanish) on the local flora and fauna.

If you chose to walk down to el Tambo (less than a kilometer) there is a very well designed sidewalk with kiosks where the locals sell all manner of snacks  and some fairly nice folk art. This is all monitired by the development agency and I think the food is quite safe. Near the station there is a restaurant called el Punto de Rojas. It is very typical and the food is good. The Rojas family have been in the area for a long time and form a colony not far from el Tambo.

Down the hill in el Tambo will find a very good restaurant and store run by Mariano. He is a local fixture and his meals are excellent, quite large and reasonably priced.

Recently I have see a horse and carriage taking people on rides along the road from el Tambo to Chorro Clarin. I talked with the driver this morning and he offers the service at 6,000 pesos (about $US 3.33) for a half hour and 10,000 pesos ($US 5.55) per hour. I am pretty sure that he will take you where you wish to go and this would be a great way to see the sights if you don’t wish to walk. The local roads a lined with beautiful forests and are well worth seeing.

If you decide to go to Chorro Clarin you will find very nice picnic facilities with roofed kiosks which have fireplaces for barbecues and such. There are vendors who also are monitored by the the development group. They sell typical snacks like empanadas, and tortas de chocolo (corn fritters) that are delicious. These people are our neighbors and are very attentive to tourists. The area is named for a water fall that is very popular with people for wading. It spills in to Piedras Blancas Creek near the vendors kiosks.

Further down the road you will find the new Comfama facility. It features picnicking, and various recreational opportunities including a suspended exercise “trial” up into the the trees. I have not tried it yet but it looks like fun.

Medellin’s Adult Homeless Program

Medellin is developing a program designed to provide assistance to the adult homeless. It has six main components:

  • Attention in the Street: concentrating on parts of the city where they frequently congregate. This includes community awareness and education programs as well as hot lines too identify people in need of help.
  • Centers for Attention: to basic social and therapeutic needs as well as motivation to improve their situation. These centers also provide linkages to other services.
  • Resocialization and Social Inclusion: Strives to get people better connected with family, the community and the world of work using therapy and education.
  • Community: Educates the community at large about how the program works.
  • Attention to Institutional Opportunities: Receives, identifies, diagnoses and refers with follow up, people who enter the system as indigents, with physical illnesses, those who are convalescing, or dieing.
  • Adult Homeless Attention Unit: Assists people who for reasons of physical or mental deterioration are unable to develop a family life or cannot integrate socially and who are a danger to themselves or others.

For information you can call the following numbers: 514-2184, 511-1821, or 514-1722. You can also call the 123 hotline and their email is sistemahabitantedeca@medellin.gov.co

I encourage everyone to become familiar with the program and help make this a community effort for the betterment of life in Medellin.

 

 

The Estadio Atanasio Giradot Sports Complex

Yesterday evening we went over to the Estadio Atanasio Giradot sports complex to see an exposition of Urban Garden design. That was an interesting event but I came away deeply impressed by the sports complex itself. After viewing the garden/landscape displays we happened to go into the gymnastics facility just to see what it was like.

What we found was a space for young people to learn and engage in gymnastics as sport. There were kids ranging from around 6 to teens and perhaps a bit beyond all learning and practicing. I kept thinking that with this kind of opportunity, in not to many years a lot more Colombians will be taking medals in the Olympic games.

The complex was remodeled for the 2010 South American Games at a significant cost. The work was well done and the result is a beautiful and very functional venue for future large scale events. This in its self will contribute to Medellin’s position as a destination in South America. More importantly; the use of the facility to provide spaces for human scale, day-to-day activities that fulfill needs for personal satisfaction and growth, expand and deepen the quality of life in this growing metropolis.

Our future depends on our ability to find meaning and satisfaction in activities such as athletics, dance, gardening, service to others and a vast range of other human capacities that do not require significant material inputs. A day is coming when the human race will face the sobering fact that the growth of our physical economies must stop. There are only so many resources and so may places to put our wastes. The implementation of a steady state economy will occur and it can be done smoothly by design or we can just blindly walk into the limits to growth inherent in life on a finite planet. The latter option is likely to be similar to walking into a buzz saw. What I saw at the  sports complex is a clue to how we can organize our lives to fit the dimensions of our environment. It also is an indication of how government can facilitate the move toward a rational economy.

Biblioburro

What do you do when there are no roads to your village and your mission is to see that the kids have an opportunity to learn and expand their horizons. Bring in the Biblioburro. This is a very creative solution to a serious problem and to me a beautiful one. This is the bookmobile that goes where the Hummer fears to tread.

Biblioburro is the creation of of Luis Soriano, a primary school teacher at la Gloria, Colombia. Transportation is provided by Alfa y Beto, the two members of the logistics team. Biblioburrro arrives in the village on weekends when Mr. Soriano is not teaching his regular classes!

This is a classic example of development as opposed to growth. Improved quality of life without a significant increase in the the throughput of materials and energy. The growth mindset would have built a four-lane to the village. Thank you Mr. Soriano.

If you did not notice the link words above please click here to see images of Biblioburro.