What does it mean to travel with purpose? To reach beyond sustainable tourism? To form deep relationships which serve the land and people?
In may 2014, the PermaculTourism Initiative hosted the first Nepal Permaculture Adventure, a 16-day journey through the Annapurna range of the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal. Since then PermaculTourism members have formed an organization called Woven Earth, which has now taken on organizing this Nepal Permaculture Adventure for the last 2 years. This year again from April 1-20 our 20-day Permaculture Design Certification Course will occur, followed by an 8-day Traditional Himalayan Skills Course & Trek from April 22-29. More information can be found here on the Woven Earth website!
Here are a few highlights of our meaningful experiences and the impacts from our first Adventure in 2014:
1. Rainbow Children’s Home
Our group taught the “Ethics of Permaculture” (Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share) to the children at the Rainbow Children’s Home in Pokhara. We also gave a half day of service in their organic vegetable garden and learned some valuable tools of the trade from resident gardener, Amma.
2. Permaculture Homesteading in Tatopani
In the village of Tatopani, we engaging in meaningful service-learning experiences at our friend Bhupen’s farm, such as filling in layers of his food forest and learning the basics of apiculture (bee-keeping). We also had the luxury of beginning and ending our days by soaking in the hot springs of Tatopani!
3. Observation of Village Systems.
We continued our journey, higher into the Himalayas, trekking through beautiful villages such as Dana, Ghasa, Lete, Kobang, Naurikot, and Marpha. Within these traditional Nepali villages, we had the chance to observe the structures and ways of Life that have sustained these people for countless generations. We gained more insight on old-world technologies such as stone building, heating and cooking with cob rocket stoves, water-powered grain mills, and animal husbandry.
4. Permaculture Education and Practice at the Shree Jana Adarsh Secondary School
We spent 5 days engaged in Permaculture education and service at the Shree Jana Adarsh Secondary School in Kobang. We designed and built gardens, composts, and planted so many seeds for the future (both literal and metaphorical seeds). The students are so engaged and interested in discovering more about Permaculture!
5. Service-Learning at the Tibetan Settlement of Chairo
We learned and served alongside the Tibetan people of Chairo Village. We helped them with interplanting beans and corn, and shared some examples of Permaculture methods such as “no-till” soil management, and heavy mulching of fruit trees. We also sang the Tibetan songs used for seed sowing!
6. Cultural Exchange in Kobang
Because of our presence, the citizens of Kobang and surrounding villages organized an evening program where westerners and Nepali’s alike shared songs, dances, and other types of cultural performances. This program, along with our closing fire gathering the last night in Kobang, brought out the best of all of our diverse cultures, such as American, Japanese, Swedish, Australian, Tibetan, and Nepali.
7. The Spiritual Journey
For each one of us, this journey turned out to be as much of an inward spiritual journey as it was an outward adventure. We experienced highs inspired by waterfalls, temples, morning yoga sessions, and the open hearted local people. We also found ourselves at the edge of our comfort zones at times, confronting human realities which we don’t usually see back at home. All of it, inner and outer, blissful and challenging, presented a profound opportunity to grow. One of the highlights of this spiritual journey was trekking to the cave where Guru Padmasambhava, the father of Tibetan Buddhism, attained enlightenment before first bringing Buddhism to Tibet in the 7th century.
To find information about our upcoming Spring 2015 Permaculture Adventure, please click here!
to Buddhi Ratna Sherchan, the “Apple Father” of Nepal, our Buwa (father), for guiding us, and teaching us so much about Horticulture and Human Nature. Thanks to my co-facilitators, my team, my brothers and sisters, Theron Beaudreau, Thom Waymouth, Ashley Wright, Toran Gauchan, and Bhupen Pun. Thanks to all members of our traveling band of PermaGypsies, Erin Watson, Lauren Bellafiore, David Baker, Jacob Bear, Ebba Bergstrom, Mizuki Watanabe, Kate Mountford, Animo Weng, and special thanks to Ben Newman for taking photos, and to Jenna Jasso for sharing her yoga teachings. Also a great big thanks to our community at the Shree Jana Adarsh School, Renuka, Tekan, Roshan, Samir, Suman, and all other teachers and students at the school. Thanks to our Tibetan friends, Tashi, Tenzin, Tsring, Pema, and more for embracing us and teaching us so much about Tibetan culture. Dhanyebhad (thank you) to every Nepali “Bhai”, “Dhai”, “Bahini”, “Didi”, “Amma”, and “Baba” who treated us as family, hosted us, fed us, and taught us such great things about being human beings on this Earth… Phedi Betaula! (See you again!)
-Brandon Bodhi Denton (founder and group leader)