Mahogany Men.

In April, a five of us from Las Lomitas drove down the PanAmerican highway to Siguatepeque (See-gwa-teh-pek-eh), the next major wide spot in the road heading south. It is a beautiful drive for those of us that enjoy beautiful drives up into the mountains. For thirteen year-olds who have scarcely ridden in a car, it is apparently a nauseating, terrifying death trip. However, an hour later we arrived at Semillas Tropicales (SETRO) with no vomit in the car. SETRO is a company that collects/distributes/sells/stores high quality seeds of trees utilized for lumber, fruit, and other agroforestry endeavors. We had arrived to attend a workshop with Don Oscar, the owner of the company.

The group of muchachos was nervous and a little embarrassed to meet an educated, successful man, but when he greeted us with an enormous bucket of mini candy bars, everyone got over their shame pretty quickly. He is a wonderfully-disarming man that treated the young men with a kind of respect that they very seldom receive. He did a great job explaining the importance of trees and the basic principles of agroforestry – not to mention the potential profits of sustainably managed harvest of mahogany, teak, laurel, and other tropical hardwoods. 

After our brief introduction, we took a walk around the property to see the sprouting room, seed storage room, and a few examples of the trees most commonly grown for their beautiful wood. Most examples were around twelve years old, and the guys were blown away to see how large some of the trees were already. Many of them were already worth $3000-$4000. No wonder this guy has so much candy. 

After a couple of hours with Don Oscar, we loaded back up into the Hurl Machine with some mahogany, cedar, and ornamental palm seeds to head back down the mountains to our own baby mountain– with an obligatory lakeside stop for ice cream, debriefing, and staring into the water at fish large and small, swimming and floating. 


Now that the weather has begun to cool back down and we’ve received a couple of rains, we’ll soon be planting seeds and bagging up the little plants to look for potential buyers from our Las Lomitas greenhouse. We already have several interested parties and are positive about the potential of a little microbusiness up on our hill selling and planting hardwoods. We’ll keep you updated over the coming months to let you know how it goes.

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