Back in the USA (January 2011)

After two years in southern Africa, I’m back in the states.  Gardening and permaculture design have brought me to the realization that I’d like to work as a landscape architect to design places that connect people with nature while regenerating natural and cultural landscapes.  Nature is intelligent and beautiful and if we mimic these qualities in our built environment it is likely that our impact on the planet will undergo a thorough transformation.  I’ll now shift the direction of this blog from focusing on my work in southern Africa to exhibiting work of environmental designers, landscape architects, architects, urban planners, artists, and farmers who are working towards greener ways of being.

What is Permaculture? (September 2009)

Permaculture is a whole systems approach to sustainable living.  It is the application of design principles in working with nature to create sustainable human habitats.  It’s about healthy living, human and ecological.

Permaculture, as a word, is a contraction of: permanently sustainable agriculture & culture.  This term was coined by Bill Mollison during the 1970s in Australia.  Currently there are many projects worldwide that involve permaculture.

My intention for this blog is to write casually about my experiences living in Botswana where I manage an organic horticulture project, as well as include some stories about travel when it comes around.

I arrived in Botswana in January 2009.  My home base is in Gaborone and since my main work is at a school, I have time to travel around southern Africa during school holidays.  So far I’ve been to: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and Swaziland.  Sometimes I travel by bus, occasionally I hitchhike, but mostly I travel in my own vehicle, Bertha.  She’s a beast, an old farm truck owned by an Indian man so a bit pimped out with a lift, cheap shiny rims, and dual front end suspension.  She’s proven to be a reliable lass, which brings me to the question of why do we speak of cars and boats as if they were ladies?

Currently I run the Green Drive at Maru a Pula School (an independent secondary school in Botswana) to expand the ever evolving eco-consciousness of its students and transition the school to Green School status.  This involves working with students in afternoon activities such as: permaculture garden, orchard gardening, recycling, and the environmental awareness raising group the Eco Warriors.  I am also in the process of setting up a Community Recycling Center and working with staff and faculty to ensure the future of MAP’s transition to a more eco-friendly school.

I have my own landscape design company in Botswana, Gotshepha Pty (in Setswana, “to trust”).  I do residential and commercial landscape design and implementation.  I also volunteer my time to work with orphans and vulnerable children in the village of Mochudi in keeping a permaculture veg and herb garden to grow food for their program at Stepping Stones International.

Burners Without Borders has sponsored 3 of my projects in southern Africa, all documented in this blog.  These projects are: the Permaculture Garden at Maru a Pula School (Botswana), the Nsumbi Village Wash Basin Project (Malawi), and the Permaculture Garden in Mochudi (Botswana).

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