Thanks to several generous donations, Never Ending Food was able to send two of its interns—Emmanuel and Kusala—as well as our Permaculture Manager, Hardwell, to a full two-week Permaculture Design Course (PDC)! The guys just returned this weekend, full of excitement and new ideas. We spent the morning ‘debriefing’ to share some of the things that they learned.
Emmanuel and Kusala joined us in December, so they were the newest to the Permaculture concepts and have not had as much exposure to some of the theory behind the practice. Kusala was very interested in learning about the use of patterns, such as keyholes and mandala beds, to help maximize the use of land space as well as helping to conserve energy. Emmanuel really liked learning about the use of swale systems and how they can be used to help manage water and establish food forests. Never Ending Food is on fairly level land and we’ve never had to put much effort in making large swale systems; the majority of our water management is done through the use of very small contour ridges which help to stop, spread, and sink the water into the soil, so it was great for the interns to get exposure to these concepts on a larger scale.
Hardwell has had the most exposure to Permaculture ideas and has previously been certified in Permaculture Design through Never Ending Food. We wanted to send him to the training to get a feel for how other people teach and present new ideas. Hardwell has just been accepted by the Lilongwe Wildlife Center for a full-time education position, so we are hoping that his teaching skills will continue to help move Malawi towards a more sustainable future. Hardwell said that he was even asked to help facilitate on some of the sessions! The most interesting part for him was seeing the bicycle-powered water pump that lifted water from the lake to the garden.
For all three of them, it was their first time to go to Nkhata Bay in the north of the country. Just being by the lake, swimming, and eating fish was a great treat! Hardwell said that the other participants in the training helped him learn how to swim and he even got a hand-made certificate for ‘most-improved swimmer’! (He mentioned that Kusala preferred the beach).
Never Ending Food has asked Kusala and Emmanuel to put their new skills to the test by mapping and re-designing one of our ‘model village’ areas. They will be spending the next month working on this project, after which we will be assessing the best ideas from their design and making plans for implementation.
Once again, thank you to all of you who helped to make this a reality. Your continued support of Permaculture activities in Malawi is doing more than we could ever express to you in words! Thank you as well to Leiza Swennen of Lukwe EcoCamp, Kenneth Mwakasungula, and Josie Redmonds of Butterfly Space for all their hard work, facilitation, organizing, and logistics which made this training possible. Keep up the great work!