From 2006 to 2009 I worked with my company rainforest-invest S.A. in the eastern Panamanian province of Darién on the reforestation of destroyed rainforests. The special thing about my concept was that besides teak trees, other species should have been integrated as well, because I did not want to create a monoculture. Over a period of 25 years, it was planned to extract only teak wood from the plantation and allow all other trees to continue growing. It was planned to sell the teak wood in order to fulfill the purpose of the investment and after 25 years a healthy secondary forest would have grown, just as it would have fit the idea of a real reforestation. Due to significantly lower returns, the public interest in this model was extremely low, as most investors are only interested in money and not the environment. That’s why I sold the plantations in 2009. The logo is still there and with it the hope that all plants at Finca Bayano will grow exponentially in the future and that we will achieve the desired results.
The transition from reforestation to Finca Bayano
While the reforestation project had nothing to do with my fears concerning the crash, at the beginning of 2010, I thought that it was high time to start preparing for the collapse of the system. I managed to buy the land for the Finca Bayano project and cover the costs of the first year of operation with the money I received from the sale of the teak plantations.
If you want to visit remote areas in Panama, you should know how to use “snow chains”… 🙂
This is how we were looking for land to build our project in 2010: With chains on four wheels, as this is the only way that a four-wheel drive vehicle keeps on moving in some places. Away from tarmac roads, many trails are often impassable without chains during the rainy season. Today, I don’t have much time for adventures and the chains are only used at Finca Bayano when it rains heavily. On our terrain, however, two chains on the rear wheels are sufficient, because our Isuzu has a rear axle locked differential.
Occasionally, I am told that I am taking advantage of other people’s fear, as they believe that a crash is soon to come. First of all, it’s human to be afraid of possible negative happenings in the future, and the desire to survive is natural. Apart from that, throughout history, humans always kept supplies in store and prepared themselves for uncertainties. It’s only modern societies that are not prepared at all, as they have reduced their supply to what they can keep their refrigerator. Why should it not be human to offer a solution to people who are worried about their future?
My name is Marlon. I was born on 12/12/2000 in Trinidad. On 12.12.2012 I turned twelve years old.
When I saw videos of the demonstrations in Greece in 2010, my father told me that we are in Panama because we don’t want to witness such things and that there will be much more unrest to come.
Today, I still do not understand why the world is so crazy and I wonder about what is happening in other countries.
After emigrating to Panama, we spent a whole year traveling to find the land for our project. On one of these journeys my father took the photo of me with a young sloth. During this time I was not at school and learned Spanish. I hope that soon the first residents will move to Finca Bayano and bring some young people of my age with them. Certainly, Finca Bayano is a good place to be when things in other countries become more ugly. Meanwhile, I am learning to drive the backhoe.
The photo shows the “hard core” of our employees. On the left is our housekeeper Yari. Marlon is now 17 years old and about as tall as I am. The crew is supplemented at times by some other workers who cut bushes outside Finca Bayano, which we use for mulching. Because the word mulch is not understood here, I call organic fertilizer “Comida”, the Spanish word for food. So, it often happens that a visitor comes to us to offer us “food”, which means that he has a few hectares of bushes to cut…
My employees receive $1.60 per hour, and they work 48 hours per week. The vacation money and some small extras added, at the end of the month, they take home $400. That sounds very little little, but it is enough for people who have their own houses and a bit of land. Bernardo even manages to save 200 dollars a month. Many people in Western Countries are no longer able to do that, and for some it would possibly be a good idea to take a holiday in a simple Panamanian up-country home to see how our ancestors lived and how people might be living again in the future.
Finca Bayano is neither conspiracy nor theory!