Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Composting Toilet Lady and her Doggies!


For a cheap flight via Spirit Airlines to Cancun Mexico, I lived and worked with Dinah Drago in Puerto Morelos and learned all about the important work she is doing to protect the water table and coral reef in Mexico.

Dinah is a care-giver of the highest order. Shes a biologist who builds composting toilets in the Yucatan. Of course as soon as one thinks of 'composting toilets' our noses crinkle up and we think smelly. But no. On the contrary. Dinah has several on her property and not only are they aesthetically pleasing little structures, they are also fragrance free. She chooses to design the interior floors and sinks with an artisanal treatment of mosaic tile art.

Dinah was a bit of a maverick 2o or so years ago when she started all this. As a cave diver and environmentalist, Dinah's been a champion of many initiatives to protect the earth, over the years. Composting toilets caught on and are being seen as a super alternative waste system, highly regarded now in many countries around the world.

Dinah's also a dog lover and rescues and rehabilitates street dogs in Mexico, which is how I came to know her.

And, she's an indigenous plant rescuer. The little town of Puerto Morales, just 30 minutes from Cancun, is being encroached on by big resort corporations. Dinah finds herself rescuing indigenous palm trees and such from construction sites. She's set up a little arboretum on her property to protect these plants.

When we met, we hit it off instantly. I had another month to spend in Mexico and she thought she could use a hand with the dogs. Before we knew it I was making their daily midday stew (chicken and vegetables and other things...); walking them individually on the beach daily(tough job but somebody's gotta do it); helping with meds or trips to the vet and bonus... I got to spend time with the dog trainers in helping rehabiliate these loving doggies so they can trust humans. I had worked on a documentary series about working dogs for television and was pretty savvy in knowing what was possible. But it was hugely gratifying to get some solid training and one on one experience with two of my favourite little buddies -- Tio Juaro and Miss Pesca.

Dinah's Breakfast Juice
many mandarin oranges (10 - 15)
1-2 limes
2 stalks celery
1 clove garlic
several chaya leaves
This makes 2 - 4 nice glassfuls

Juice the oranges and limes and throw that and everything else in a blender. Whir it up and enjoy. It is luscious yet light and a great start to Dinah's day.

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