At the Green Warrior Field School we have been developing a series of courses and workshops to train people in the practices and strategies of Permaculture Aid. For folks wanting to get some basic experience in Permaculture Aid in the field we have developed an exciting way for people to test their abilities and gain real experience helping people and restoring the planet.
Permaculture Aid Volunteer Experience or PAVE received its first candidate last month! Christoph Seiler, a young German university student arrived with his huge backpack and a huge amount of enthusiasm. As we are building a field school and preparing for our first Permaculture Design Certificate course there was plenty of work for Chris to get stuck into.
PAVEr’s come for a minimum of 2 weeks and pay a weekly fee to cover accomadation, food and some materials to be used in their projects. Some projects are at the field school and others are dotted around the community. The community here is still recovering from Typhoon Yolanda as well as years of poverty. Permaculture Aid practices are helping change that situation.
His first task was to dig the pit for our new long drop toilet. Starting at dawn before the sun got hot, Chris got into the dirty job of excavating a hole 2 meters deep and 1.5 meters wide. No easy task but over the next few days Chris slowly dug down until only the earth flying out of the hole could be seen. Soon we had the perfect hole.
In his 2 weeks here Chris completed the following tasks, all with a smile on his face!
- Dug the toilet chamber
- Constructed the outhouse building from bamboo
- Constructed the outhouse floor from bamboo slats
- Transplanted almost 100 full size pineapple plants (lots of cuts from the spines!)
- Erected a training shelter
- Dug a series of drainage trenches
- Built a grease trap with concrete blocks
- Assisted in the construction of a waster water filter garden
- Excavated the training circle
- Built a mosquito proof enclosure
- Set up tents for the coming PDC students
As well as completing his allotted tasks he also managed to visit the waterfalls and the river several times a week. The children took him for a tour of the forest and mountains. After his daily work Chris visited several local families to socialize and check out their farms and animals. Like all the people who visit our project, Chris fell in love with the people and the land. Our field school projects took a leap forward and we all enjoyed working with Chris. Lots of spiky plants make planting a challenge!
Christoph finally had to jump on the bus heading for the Iloilo airport so we had a farewell pizza at a local Italian café on the beach. It was great to have our first PAVE candidate or PAVER as I call them enjoys his experience. Chris will be sorely missed but he has assured me he will definitely be coming back in the future to complete an internship in Permaculture Aid. Christoph has set the stage for all future PAVErs and we are ready for the following hoards of people!