A big Thank You to all who helped out when it was looking doubtful the course on the 17th April would have enough students to make it viable. We now have plenty of students, many from Morocco. There’s still room for more, but at this late stage it would be camping only.
We made some changes to the original arrangement, on request of some potential students, and the result looks even better than what we originally planned. The accommodation is in a house in Al Garage, a small town near the project, where there is internet access and the phones work. The course itself is on a Berber farm, and there will be a couple of days on our site up in the mountains, where the school and center will be, as well as the earthworks for the watershed project, so students will get a feel for the whole scope of the wider project.
The Permaculture Maroc site now has 23 members, and we are in touch with more. There are lots of great ideas emerging, and we should soon meet up to set up some kind of organization or network to promote and facilitate permaculture in Morocco, and reach people not on the internet.
One idea is to have a few days with an introductory course, somewhere in the middle of Morocco to minimize travel, The main thing is to meet up and see what kind of organization people want (if any), but the course would be useful in itself and make a focus for the meeting.
There are enough experienced permaculture people for us to be able to find someone willing to give the course without fees, and if we arrange camping, we should be able to make it open to everyone, regardless of money.
Having this PDC course is making everything come together much faster than I ever imagined. And differently to what I imagined too. It’s all too easy for someone as stubborn and dogmatic (allegedly) as me to forget that every new person you meet is a new world opening up. I found that making an effort to restrain enthusiasm for my own ideas and look at others makes the world more interesting and fun. If my ego gets in the way, I can always pretend they are my ideas, it’s fairly stupid and easily duped.
Unfortunately it looks like the two Somalis won’t be able to come. We don’t have enough to pay their airfares, and any mainstream funding ‘opportunities’ would take till Christmas to work through the system.
Securing funding is like trying to walk home through thick mud with concrete boots, and when you get there it’s invariably not home anyway. But things are developing on that front, and we will, in sa Allah, have some good news to tell about Somalia in bureaucrat time.
I can’t over-emphasize the importance of organizations like the PRI. From the very start they were supportive and positive. For a small group of people in a place where money is so unevenly distributed it’s really crucial to have allies in other places, with resources and connections. The whole purpose of Tribal Networks is to help people make those connections. Without the PRI, things would be a lot harder. We would have difficulty in finding teachers with just the right experience, and being in partnership with an institution that has respect opens up possibilities that would otherwise be remote. As the projects in Morocco become ‘respectable’ they will feed that back into the PRI, in the way nitrogen-fixing plants are fed by the soil, and feed it in turn.
I’m sure this PDC will be an amazing experience for those taking part, and they will go away with lasting memories of a timeless and magical place, and be ambassadors for the people there who want to return it to fertility.
For interest, here’s a video I shot recently on the Ait Attab water shortage: