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"Cuerdas y Más, preparing for our next target".

Updated: Nov 26, 2022

From October 7th to 18th, Natalia travelled to Puerto Eden to prepare the logistical aspects of Centre Terre's Ultima Patagonia 2023 expedition. The stay in Puerto Eden provided the opportunity to organise activities with the children of Miguel Montecinos school and La Centollita kindergarten to prepare for our next big goal: visiting the Madre de Dios archipelago.


Puerto Eden, gateway to the Madre de Dios Archipelago

If you follow us you know that we have not yet been able to go to the Témpanos glacier. It was our main goal in 2021 and we worked hard for it. We haven't achieved it yet, but we have taken advantage of all this time and the opportunities we have had to strengthen the bonds of affection and collaboration with the community of Puerto Eden as a whole. Now we are stronger and we dare to continue dreaming to build our reality.

Puerto Eden is about 9 hours sailing north of the Madre de Dios Archipelago, about 12 hours south of Caleta Tortel and about 28 hours northwest of Puerto Natales.

Puerto Eden is only accessible by sea.

Photos: Natalia Morata


2022 has been a complex year for the Miguel Montecinos school in Puerto Eden. The school year has been very intermittent due to the constant changes in the teaching staff, the lack of firewood to heat the school, the lack of basic improvements such as the boiler, improvements that the school has been demanding for years. In short, a whole host of circumstances that have highlighted the neglect suffered by Puerto Eden and, in particular, its children. And if it were not for the determination and tenacity of those who live in this remote location, everything would probably remain the same despite the big budget approved in 2021 to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of Puerto Eden, which is considered a "backward area".


A playground, 24-hour lighting, improvements to the school... these were some of the wishes expressed by the children in the first school elections in November 2021, wishes that one year later have still not been fulfilled... Now the Regional Government of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica is working to fulfil the commitment made and implement the Development Plan for Puerto Eden.


You may be wondering what all this has to do with caving and the "Cuerdas y Más" project? Well, everything.


The activities that we develop as Asociación Espeleológica de Patagonia have caving as a common thread, understood in its broadest sense and, therefore, considering its strong educational and environmental aspect. We only protect what we know and take care of what we love... and true love and attachment to the territory are nurtured from childhood.

Repairing the famous walkways of Puerto Eden

Photos: Débora Ávalos


As an association, closely linked to Centre Terre and its work in the Archipelago Madre de Dios National Protected Area, we feel an enormous responsibility to share our love for the Patagonian karst with the children who, for cultural, historical and geographical reasons, "occupy" the place. For this reason, we are genuinely interested in learning about anything that might undermine their right to choose to live with dignity and attachment to their territory. Only they can be the custodians of their territory and, therefore, they must have at their disposal all the essential tools that the State has committed to provide them with. It is their right and, moreover, it is the only guarantee to ensure that the place we explore and love is preserved thanks to the actions of those who occupy it.


That is why we continue tirelessly.


Together we are stronger

This time we managed to launch this new edition of Cuerdas y Más at the initiative of the civil associations of Puerto Eden: Asociación Lafken Mawida de Puerto Edén, Comunidad Kawésqar Residente en Puerto Edén and Agrupación Manos Creadoras de Puerto Edén. This initiative was again welcomed by the Miguel Montecinos School and the La Centollita ethnic kindergarten, whose teaching teams we thank for their trust and desire to continue working with us.


The caves of Madre de Dios Archipelago, our next objective

The goal we have been pursuing since 2020, when we created "Cuerdas y Más" with the then head of the school, Romina Pizarro, and the current head of La Centollita kindergarten, María Isabel Tonko, is none other than to be able to visit the Madre de Dios Archipelago with the children of Puerto Eden... and what better way to do it than in the company of those who have been exploring the place for years: Centre Terre!


The Ultima Patagonia 2023 expedition will officially start in January 2023 in Puerto Eden. During Natalia's visit, in addition to presenting the Ultima Patagonia 2023 expedition project to the community of Puerto Eden, the objective was to present this daring proposal to the educational community, especially to the children.

Natalia presented in detail Centre Terre's Ultima Patagonia expedition project to the community of Puerto Eden.

Photos: Víctor Ibarra, Cecilia Zúñiga


The response was unanimous: "Natalia, when do you say we're going to Madre de Dios?"


Sport and education

During Natalia's stay in Puerto Eden, together with the teaching team of the school and the kindergarten, it was possible to give continuity to the work started in 2021, resuming some of the most emblematic activities.


As a sporting activity, caving allows us to work on and forge individual and collective values in a very playful way. We use ropes and equipment specific to caving to recreate circuits and situations that allow us to strengthen the children's self-confidence, transmit the spirit of self-improvement and help them to fight their own fears. In short, it helps to forge individuality in order to strengthen the team.

Psychomotor skills, coordination, control, confidence, technique, teamwork... Puerto Eden does not have sports equipment, but again we were able to use other infrastructure available in Eden to carry out our activities. We were cold, but we had fun.

Thanks again to Empresa Portuaria Austral for allowing us to use the jetty area.

Photos: Víctor Ibarra, Cecilia Zúñiga, Constanza Candia, Natalia Morata


Route "Cuerdas y Más"

We wanted to share the route opened in 2021 with the new members of the school and the garden, take the opportunity to update the marking together and extend the route to the "football field" on the other side of the island. Many metres of brightly coloured tape had arrived in the garden, so we had all the necessary material at our disposal. Mission accomplished!

We had a rainy day. We ended up wet and with the odd cold, but adverse weather conditions no longer deter us so easily.

Photos: Víctor Ibarra, Débora Ávalos, Natalia Morata


Lorp-Edén, the story continues

In June, the school and kindergarten children received post from their classmates in CM1 and CM2 at the Lorp-Sentaraille school in the French Pyrenees, one of the schools following Centre Terre's expeditions.


In France, classes resumed in September and in Patagonia they are already in the last quarter of the year, so in Eden they have set to work to respond to their interlocutors in the northern hemisphere.


In addition to the different school calendars in the two hemispheres, another element that has hindered communication so far has been the poor functioning of the antenna in Port Eden. But there is a solution for everything. For the expedition, Centre Terre has purchased a Starlink antenna that was successfully tested in Eden. It is the first antenna at such a southern latitude and may be a solution to the many connectivity problems in the town. From October until the Last Patagonia 2023 expedition team arrives, the antenna will be installed at the school, expanding opportunities to communicate and share.


As for the letters to France, these will go out by post and may reach Lorp before the end of classes in Eden in December.

Photos: Natalia Morata


"Karst Patagonia"

On behalf of Centre Terre, and thanks to the collaboration of CAP and Compañía Siderúrgica Huachipato, we were able to present the book KARST PATAGONIA to the families that make up the educational community of Puerto Eden. The book is dedicated to them.

For Chile, the book is on sale HERE and is a great way to support the Last Patagonia 2023 expedition in which the children of Puerto Eden will participate.

Photos: Constanza Candia


See you in January!

We could not leave Eden without once again organising a "Urn of desires" which, more than desires, are rights. Nor could we leave without sharing, through drawings and stories, what we have experienced these days in the open air. This confluence of disciplines between sport, science and education, where we decidedly take the classroom outdoors, is only possible thanks to the commitment of the teaching team and the trust of parents and guardians. Thanks to Víctor and Débora from Miguel Montecinos school and to María Isabel and Tamara from La Centollita ethnic kindergarten for their support and commitment.

Photos: Constanza Candia, Víctor Ibarra, Natalia Morata

One of the wishes of a girl from the kindergarten for Puerto Eden: "I wish for Puerto Eden to have a pink and blue swimming pool and to be able to invite the children from France to join us.


And, well, after Natalia's departure, while support is still being sought to make this adventure a reality, at the school they are already preparing for Madre de Dios...

The Seremi de Bienes Nacionales Magallanes sent more copies of the book "La isla de los Glaciares de Mármol", which now serves as a reference book for the little expeditionaries to prepare their trip.

Photos: Débora Ávalos, Víctor Ibarra




We tell you about the Ultima Patagonia 2023 expedition on Centre Terre's website and social media.



Alone, we are a drop; together, we are an ocean

Activity in the framework of the International Year of Caves and Karst: http://iyck2021.org/index.php/events/#


 

If you are interested in supporting this activity and helping us to lay the foundations for an important educational project in Chile, do not hesitate to contact us at espeleopatagonia@gmail.com to find out the details, the forms of collaboration and the counterparts we propose. You can also collaborate with us through PayPal. Big or small, any help is important and welcome.


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