After taking plenty of photos, an older man showed up and began talking to the group. He and his wife live there in the middle of all the beauty, trying to protect the forest that so many people are planning to destroy for different reasons. (notice in the second picture how the mountains on the right have already been ruined.)
He is such a cute man. His voice is so soft that it is almost impossible to hear him. He loves his life there in Bomboli, it's obvious by the way he talked about it. We followed him as he told us terrifying facts about what is happening to the forest. For example, people purposefully burn the trees and it's going to take 1,000 years for it to grow back like it was. He showed us the waterfalls/rivers of the live and well part that he and his wife are protecting...
...and then he showed us where the water use to run before the forest was destroyed and it broke our hearts to see how upset he was about it. Not only that, but right now there is talk about building tunnels that would run right through where those healthy flowing waterfalls above are located. He is trying to fight it as long as he can.
Where the rivers use to meet
Another fact he told us was about the Amazon Rainforest and he said that if it continues to be destroyed at the rate it is going right now, the Amazon will be gone by 2050.
After the little information session, we were welcomed back to his house where he would show us around even more and would prepare us supper. Because there were so many of us, we had to take a truck and a van to get from the highway to his secluded house. On our way up, our van ended up getting stuck in the muddy ditch before we were even half way there. Hoping not to have to walk, we all tried our hardest gain superhuman strength and push it out.
Unfortunately, our many efforts were unsuccessful and we were left to walk while the drivers stayed behind and tried to figure out what to do. Once we were ALMOST there, the vehicles showed up and drove us the last 5 minutes of the way.
From the second we arrived there, we could see that they him and his wife did everything they could to be Eco-friendly because of their hanging baskets that they made out of plastic soda bottles.
Then, his wife walked out, tiny as could be, but super energetic; both of them are. She helped us all find rubber boots to wear for the muddy paths that we would be walking, but before the walk, we were taken down to the bottom half of their property where she makes their own cheese that comes from their own cows.
SO MUCH CHEESE! After making the mozzarella cheese (which is prepared by taking the curds that you see in the first picture and mixing it with HOT water), she ripped of chunks of cheese for everyone to try. I do love cheese, especially mozzarella, but I had to split my chunk of cheese with two other girls because she was so generous about the portions.
Then began our little tour. We drank natural, cold, spring water out of a hose, saw beautiful flowers:
Pretty, but dangerous when crazy people decide to turn it into a date rape drug.
Best smell award!!
So many orchids!
Meet my friend, Emily!
Ate delicious wild berries that I have never seen before:
Moss covered trees:
And then things that they created themselves such as these little gardens in the tires:
A carrel for horses - they planted trees all around the outside instead of clearing too many trees to build a fence:
And this bull skull that they put in the tree (shout out to my cousins who had nightmares for weeks when my dad did this):
We made it back just in time for supper that the cute little woman was preparing. Our first dish was one of the most delicious soups I had ever had, followed by chicken, mashed potatoes, rice and vegetables. All the warm food tasted sooo good, but not as good as the dessert. ;) It was a chocolate and caramel crepe! All of us clapped when she brought it out, hah. She actually makes and sells her own chocolate and caramel...we all ended up buying some. We were all sad to finish our crepe and I think she noticed because she came back in and asked if we wanted another one!! Ahh, crepes.
After dinner we all made our way to the living room to have our reflection about the day.
As I said before, they are very Eco-friendly and use what ever they have to their benefit. Two more examples: their main rug in the living room was a horse hide...with the tail and mane still attached. As cool as it is that they do things like that, it freaked us out a little and we felt too weird to walk on it. Second, hah, this one is so strange but I'm going to tell you anyways. Some of us were sitting there waiting for everyone else and Daniel came in, picked up a vase with flowers that was sitting on the mantle, and handed it to Nicole. He asked if we knew what it was made of, we said no, and he said, "a bull sack". Daniel will say whatever he wants. Of course, Nicole wasn't too keen on holding it anymore after that, but it was interesting, for sure.
Back to the reflection.
They asked us to go around in a circle and comment on something that we learned/were most impacted by, and they sat there, listening so closely to what we had to say and smiling because they know that we really did get something out of the short time we were there. Most, if not all of us, commented on how we were moved by what they are doing to protect the incredible forest that they live in.Yes, they said "thank you", but he was sure to point out that they are doing it because it is something they are passionate about, and that, is what is making the difference.