Saturday, April 27, 2013
Neem trees and good news
This has been a busy week for fixing and making things as husband has a two week break from University.
The first thing to do was to mount the marmolite washing sink which is a standard in many Dominican homes. It is to go in the utility room, and I thought somehow it would be mounted on concrete pillars. It was not. Instead an interesting frame was put together using bits of wood and trees. I was amazed to see the appearance of a spirit level and a tape measure, neither of which have ever been used before. I have a strange feeling they were just there for appearance as the stand seems pretty rickety to me but I am assured it will be fine.
At the moment, although finished, the sink is waiting outside until the necessary plumbing is done inside.
I also wanted a garden bench. Hector began by cutting down a small tree, using the biggest axe I have ever seen.
I asked him what sort of tree it was – there was a long line of the same type, and he said it was a neem tree. I had no idea that all the trees on one side of the house were neem trees. They are pretty amazing as in India they are known as “the village pharmacy” because of their healing versatility, and the neem tree has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4,000 years due to its medicinal properties.
The seeds, bark and leaves contain compounds with proven antiseptic, antiviral, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and antifungal uses. The oil extracted from the seeds is used in pest control , cosmetics and medicines, and the leaves are used to treat chickenpox and warts.
You can also make a tea from the leaves which is used traditionally to reduce the fever caused by malaria. The bark and the roots are used to control fleas and ticks on animals. Neem extracts also are used in treatments of several diseases including diabetes, AIDS, cancer, heart disease among others.
And one of the great advantages is that just having the tree in your garden will help cut down on mosquitoes – I have not seen one mosquito since I moved here.
The finished item is…interesting but definitely rustic.
Now they are working on a balcony. Watch this space.
But saving the best till last, this week saw the miraculous return of Cojo, the three pawed cat who had been missing, left at our old house, for two months. I had given up hope as I offered a reward of 1000 pesos which is about 25 dollars for him but still no joy. Then at last, on Tuesday, I had the call I had prayed for. He had been found and my stepson had him in a cat carrier. He brought him here the next day. Cojo was delighted to be here. He is very thin and a little beaten up, but has made himself at home straight away.
Lesson to be learnt is never ever give up hope.