Implemented in 2012, the project at Pampas Gramalote was thought to be largely a failure. however time has shown the original project planted important seeds which have now resulted in significant community development and site preservation
In 2012 SPI trained local community members in gourd carving and built a workshop, a permanent exhibition area for the site and a small store selling gourds in the nearby beach community.
During that year over $3,000 worth of gourds were sold, and Gabriel Prieto was honored by the local municipality.
However, the initial business ran out of momentum, seemingly due to a lack of local leadership.
SPI has found that its early activities provided a seed for real sustainable development.
Pampas Gramalote has now become known as an attractive and safe archaeological site. Increased visits by tourists and schools has meant that while in 2011 there were no hotels and only 10 restaurants, today there are five hotels and over 20 restaurants. Local businesses and investor now emphasize the site and local heritage as a selling point of the area!
In 2012 there was only one artisan, and therefore one family, benefiting from gourd carving. Today there are 25 full-time adult gourd carvers providing for 10 families. Local schools now teach children the art-form and the local community are holding gourd-carving festivals.
In 2013 Pampas Gramalote was the victim of invasion by people seeking land. However, demonstrating the value that the site now has, the local community contacted the police and Ministry of Culture and got the invaders evicted. True sustainable preservation!
SPI continues to be involved with Pampas Gramalote, understand the factors in its success and look at how we can continue to work with the local community for their benefit and for the benefit of the site.