Four months have gone by- here its been a time focused on the “Protect O.U.R.Ecovillage forever” campaign, while I was on the other side of the planet working with villagers and volunteers in Tanzania.
And as the days are getting longer and sunny afternoons beckon us to go out and rake the front yard we are making plans to host one of our favorite events: the Natural Building Colloquium; mark your Calendar for May 19-22, 2011 .
If you’ve been around the natural building movement you will have heard of these gatherings: people come together as community- to re-kindle their spirits, spend time catching up with each other and to integrate new members into the movement.
It’s fairly informal, warm, exciting, inspiring. We listen to each others stories of successes and experimentation, see images of work, try out a new technique and go for walks with old and new friends.
Many of us still remember the last time we hosted the colloquium here: we had so much fun dancing to the music of Marimba Muzuva that the next day all of us walked around a little stiffer. So here’s our promise: we’ll have another dance – will you come and join?

Changing worlds doesn’t get easier over time as you may think- culture shock still happens to me when I return back to Canada. First the world seemed so much quieter and so gray here, not to mention cold. My dreams kept taking place in Africa and even now after a week still do.
So let’s go back and revisit Baobab Shamba where we spent our last month.

view from the road with the new kitchen in front

When we returned from Arusha the kitchen walls had been built and the roof frame was started. Everyone was eager to move forward with next steps. The rains had turned the land green again and it seemed like everything was growing.
Our list of things to do was never shrinking: support the garden, work on gray water system, build shower at the house, build sinks for both shower areas, plaster, wall tiling, build stove, and so on.

Tiling….

Early January brought a handful of new volunteers to the farm. Some came with high skill: Eckhard Beuchel, a builder friend of mine from Germany, followed my invitation to build a stove for the kitchen. The idea was to create a stove that allows for different fuels (hoping for fuel briquettes made from agricultural waste in the future), or at least get more from a given amount of firewood.
We came up with a stove that heats three pots with one fire and an oven that can be preheated by the cooking fire as well. Have a look:

While he was working on the stove I built the third and largest concrete sink and counter:
Well I didn’t do it without the help of Sean on the arches and the guys onsite who mixed the concrete on a Sunday morning.
All through the week the site was buzzing with activity. CM tells a good story of it all from his perspective on his blog.
Tile mosaics transformed the shower space, two other concrete sinks for laundry were cast in place, trees planted and another building started: Terri and Caito are now building a home for themselves.

Terri and Caito’s house
The compost bins

Sean built a solid set of compost bins and we held a demonstration class for the folks on the farm.  This is what our permaculture intro has come to: compost, trees, and greywater. If any two of these still work and live when I return I’ll be thrilled.
Really we are introducing ideas and inviting change of behaviour and that just doesn’t happen overnight. Small steps- pole pole
Finally here’s a series of images taken over time from the road entrance to the farm:

in the beginning : the Guava tree
the office was first
then the eating banda
next came Ubuyu 1 the house

 

and now the kitchen out front.

Soon the trees will grow up all around, the brick making will be done and the smell of food cooking will drift towards visitors who approach the buildings. Karibuni – Welcome!