Living, creating and innovating with wood in Solano

Living, creating and innovating with wood in Solano

Colombia - 15 November, 2022

Yenser Fabián Pomar is a young carpenter from Solano that learned to work with wood thanks to the teachings of the prior owner of the workshop he owns today. Lately he has been looking for opportunities to make his workshop more innovative and to get involved in projects that allow him to create new things and experiment with new techniques.

Yesner is 22 years old and has been a carpenter for four years now. He considers that this skill provides a good way of living even if he does not see himself dedicating his whole life to this art.

For me, working with wood is incredible and full of potential because you can create handicrafts, furniture and more, each day something new comes up. It also motivates me a lot because you can transform a tree into many artifacts instead of letting important pieces of wood decompose in the farms.

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The field team of Tropenbos Colombia approached Yenser’s workshop to explore the reach of this skill, the knowledge it implies about the forest and wood and the practice of transformation and innovation it invites to assume as well as the alternative way of living it proposes to young people in Solano. In this spirit, he was invited to carry out a workshop in October 21 and 22 in Solano with indigenous young men from the Koreguaje resguardos of San José del Cuerazo, Peñas Rojas, Puerto Naranjo, Porvenir Kananguchal, Jericó and El Diamante, also with the participation of an assistant from Cabañita in Jerichá. This meeting sought to explore woodwork as a means to complement the Productive Participative Restoration program and to inspire the young indigenous with Yenser’s way of living while supporting his desire to find new partners and to innovate.

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Yenser was in charge of initiating the dialogue about woodwork. He started by presenting the different tools that conform his workshop. He also gave advice on how to make more efficient and sophisticated products. Among the themes discussed, the participants analyzed role of machines and their functionality to check if it was necessary to have them in the different resguardos. Many of the participants were enthusiastic about the idea of building workshops of their own and thus multiplying the number of young people learning this skill.

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Each assistant made a piece of furniture. They cut the wood, gave it shape, united the pieces, filled and sanded it but did not have enough time to paint it. The assistants were so interested that they even started earlier the second day. Yenser surely was key in facilitating the discussion and guiding the other young participants demonstrating his vocation as a teacher.

The experience of sharing knowledge in the workshop showed me that I could relate with other people and learn more form the interaction. I was excited to see how the young indigenous liked my workshop. The experience left me with nice memories.

In general, the youths from Solano see in woodwork an opportunity to take advantage of the pieces not used of trees when they are felled for the cultivation of the chagra. They also recognize they can make furniture for their own use and for income generation. Finally, they see this activity as complementary to the many they already do, including handicrafts and building houses.

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