Apr 16, 2009

How did the course go?!!


We just had an amazing time during the Permaculture course, as it was expected... so, let me share with you some of the things we experienced...
Just before we started, Simone (who was at the land in the early beginnings) came with 7 other friends from Berlin, and they all helped us to set up the last things we needed for the course to start...It was a time for them to rest as well, so it was great how it all worked out...they could rest, and we could rest... We knew it would be a very intensive time, so we didn't want to do all things at the last minute... it all went smoothly...shantii, shantii, as we like...


The "class room" was ready... and we could enjoy the chilled times around the table during our meals as well...

Lesley Martin was our teacher, who, with a very sincere and humble heart, told us she had come to learn as well... We could all say that she is an amazing teacher... I loved the way she wouldn't simply download all her knowledge, but she would lead us to get there for ourselves... besides, we had the privilege to hear the many stories of her personal life...again, with a very humble heart...another kind of knowledge, one that is only gained by experience...

All together, we were 13 students...Emma, Maren and Steffi were coming in and out, as they were helping Ton in the kitchen... Amelie was also helping everywhere, and also taking care of baby Shiloh (who requires lots of attention, eh, eh)... The food was amazing by the way...Thanks to these ones... It was a blessing for me too, cuz I was already willing to not attend the course in order to help in the kitchen...but all went well, and I'm so thankful for all who helped...

As I said, we were 13 students...me, Chris (Amelie's husband... who came from California,USA), Dane and Jillie (also California...Hmmm,kinda...they were actually living here, and they invited Chris and Amelie), Josh and Rosie (who were living here but moved out to another piece of land in the south), Daniel (who was also living here before, and he's Ton's nephew), Nuno Raposo (who came from the surroundings of Lisbon), Miriam (Emma's friend from Belfast), Hanna (From London, who is about to move nearby here), David Juan (a Canadian who lives in Spain with his wife for many years), and Ishmael (from Sudan, who is living with David and Sharon in their community)...
what a diverse group hey?!! in age, we had Dane with 19 and we had David with 66... what a good mix...

As diversity is so important in Permaculture, I guess we had a good example with our group...
As you can see in these pictures, we didn't seat in "class" all day...we also had some nice "exercises" and fun experiences where we also learned...like this one, showing us how in all creation, everything is interconnected, everything plays an important role to create the original balance of it all... unfortunately we've been messing up a big deal, but hey, I don't like pessimism nor fatalism...There's Hope !!!

And this is something we also received from this course... We can all make a big difference, in our "littleness"...As Margaret Mead said : " Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Here's Shiloh in this picture also making a point... we should all walk in our own shoes (even though it's fun to try big shoes sometimes, but not really if we want to walk, eh, eh)... We are to BE who we are, and not trying to be someone else...not comparing ourselves with others... we were created for COOperation, not competition...

" If we are being less than who we are, we're stealing the world a great treasure" (a quote from myself, eh, eh)... We're all so precious !!!
Anyway, I'm drifting away here...sorry about that !!!
Here are some other practical things we did...like here on the side, Miriam, David and Ishmael, making an easy and useful tool to measure contours...







The same tool, if we have other materials, like a hoze and tape...

And practicing...Off we went to the woods...


How to make a sheet mulch...

easy and fast...


ready to plant...

During the evenings we also watched different interesting Dvd's

And finally, the interesting part came...we had 3 groups presenting a design for the land... it was really interesting to see the different points of view of each group...

While a group was presenting their proposal, the others would listen...in the end we would all have to say something we really like about the design, and also something we would change...

I was glad with all the designs... and I'll definitely take some good ideas from each one...

Hanna and her beautiful presentation...

Nuno...a bit shy, but he did well...

Jared, in his rap style presentation :-)... I loved his veggie garden design, and the thought his group had about the amount of land we'd need with food to feed the average of people who live here...

Emma and Maren would participate while chopping veggies...I liked that !!! Thank you so much girls...

Amelie and Shiloh, picking some cabbage for dinner...aren't they sweet ?!!

The design the group I was with made (me, Rosie, David and Chris) end up not being much different than what I had in mind before...
even though I tried to interfere as least as possible... that was cool too...



It was nice to have some tips and opinions from Lesley, specially about the irrigation system...
Well, now it's time to move on...
To define priorities and establish the different stages to implement this design in this land... Of course, being always flexible... if something doesn't seem to work along the way, lets see other options :-)

WE NEED SKILLED PEOPLE NOW TO IMPLEMENT ALL THESE GREAT IDEAS... AND SOME MONEY AS WELL, SO, FEEL FREE TO PARTICIPATE :-)

We were all satisfied in the end, and this made me think about more possibilities for more workshops and courses...not only permaculture (maybe next year translated in Portuguese), but also natural building, like straw bale houses, cob, etc...
we'll see...
step by step...

In the evenings we'd often had dinner around the fire place, and we had such a lovely time in the last night...
It was so nice to get to know those who came , and get to spend some more time with those I knew already... it felt like family !!!
And I'm sure we'll all be connected somehow...

1 comment:

gaffycowan said...

Ba, this is such a good synopsis of the week! I concur that Leslie was a fantastic teacher and I really appreciated being able to sit in on the classes, i feel like I have imbibed the principled of permaculture and see how it all fits together. I really hope that this is the first of the courses on the land.

I also agree that it was a wonderfully diverse group of people.

My impression is that it was perfect timing to have the course now, in terms of the stage that the land is at- in pure permacultre style, you have been there over two years - just observing, and now is the time to put make a good design/plan of what to put where, based on having lived in the ecosystem for this time.

We will not re-create that gathering again, it was very unique, but as you said at the bottom of the email, i hope we all stay in contact.

much love, em

ps its lucky im getting less vain- the pictures of me are dreadful- but hey ho!