June 12, 2018

Casa Dilwyn


When we talk about the Cool Earth model – that puts indigenous people in control of their rainforest – we should really talk of the Dilwyn Jenkins model. With the team he assembled in Peru, Dilwyn won the trust of even the most sceptical communities and did more to save rainforest and protect unique cultures than anyone.

Dilwyn Jenkins was Cool Earth’s extraordinary Peru Project Manager who died suddenly in 2014. He was a tireless champion of Peru’s indigenous communities, and particularly of the Asháninka, whom he worked to support for nearly 40 years.

Claire, Dilwyn’s wife, and his children asked Cool Earth to work with the Asháninka communities to create a memorial for his lifetime’s commitment to safeguarding the Asháninka way of life. Over £20,000 was donated and this week, that memorial is complete. A brand new community house or Casa Comunal has been built in Tinkareni, the village that Dilwyn spent most of his time.

The Dilwyn Jenkins Memorial Casa Comunal serves as a meeting house for the community, giving shade and shelter from the weather. It serves as an office and storehouse for documents, presentations and information and radios for the community. Sleeping quarters have been added for those that inevitably have to travel hours between annexes to attend meetings or visit friends and family.

Cool Earth’s biodiversity officer, Jaime Peña, has been overseeing the construction works, wood management, and furniture building. The community has built four bunk beds, a dozen big benches, and tables and chairs for meetings. The final finishing touches include the solar panel system, mosquito nets, mattresses and other soft furnishings. Jaime has been instrumental in the build of the Casa and all the furniture and is justifiably proud of the result.  

Dilwyn’s family members are very keen wood craftsmen and women. They’ve designed a sign for the Casa in memory of their father and are hoping to visit next year to see Jaime’s work first hand, and take part in a formal memorial ceremony with the community. 

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