Global Brigades Panama
Barrigon, Cocle, Panala, 2009 (Incomplete)
Established in 2000 by Alejandro Rodriguez, a subsistence farmer from the Cocle region of Panama, and the Agricultural N.G.O. Patronato De Nutricion, Granja Trapichito is an archetypal organic farm that provides fruits and vegetables to local markets, tours to student groups, and sustainable agricultural techniques to local farmers.
The farm is located within walking distance from Omar Torrijos National Park, an undisturbed cloud forest containing incredible varieties of amphibians, birds, and reptiles.
The site receives numerous hikers, birdwatchers, and scientists, but lacks the facilities to provide them with adequate food and shelter.
Designed to accommodate up to fifteen individuals, the Guest Cabin is constructed almost entirely of locally harvested wood, and all other materials were procured within ten miles of the site.
Alejandro and his family hope to house tourists, student groups, biological researchers, and laborers, for whom they can provide hikes through the park and surrounding areas, tours of the farm, agricultural workshops, and farm-grown meals cooked in the family kitchen.
Several months after assisting in the development of an effective and appropriate design, volunteers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and I returned to the farm to construct the cabin with Don Alejandro and his two sons, experienced and skilled builders themselves.
Due to logistical difficulties, insufficient funds, and a lack of support from the partner organization, the project currently sits incomplete, although Sr. Rodriguez continues to build whenever possible, and is committed to seeing the project through himself.