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Confessions of a Permaculture Aid Worker, Episode 2 – Ringo in Afghanistan II

‘Confessions of a Permaculture Aid Worker’ (CPAW) is a new weekly podcast show from PRI Australia aimed at documenting the experiences of people out in the field and making more information available about what’s happening in the Permaculture world.

You can subscribe to CPAW podcast feeds here!

A local girls school started by Mahboba’s Promise 8 years ago and is the
location of an upcoming Permaculture garden program initiated by
"Kids Are Sweet International" founder Lesley ‘Zaynab’ Byrne.

Episode 2 is the second part of an on-going conversation I’m having over skype with Paul Kean, aka Ringo. Originally from Perth in Australia, Ringo is currently in Kabul, Afghanistan working on a project there which has been organised by PRI and funded by Mahboba’s Promise.

Topics covered in this episode:

  1. Local Knowledge
  2. Cement Water Tanks
  3. Excursion to Panjshir valley
  4. Mud building and design
  5. The hunt for nitrogen fixing trees
  6. Bali Belly
  7. Building the Compost Toilet
  8. Waste Disposal
Confessions of a Permaculture Aid Worker Episode 2 - Ringo in Afghanistan II

Editor’s Notes: Ringo has taken PRI’s Permaculture Project Aid Worker (PPAW) course, which helps prepare workers for challenging/interesting/rewarding permaculture experiences worldwide, and is now finding paid placements through PRI’s growing network of projects. After Afghanistan, Ringo is heading to Malaysia. Our next PPAW course starts June 14, and after that is September 13.

Want to make your work known?: If you are working on-location somewhere, and want to tell the world about your work and vision, contact editor (at) in the first instance.

Pictures to follow:

An aquaduct system constructed some 40 years ago to bring water from
Panjshir Valley to Kabul. With the war with Russia and changes in government,
the project never made it to Kabul. It did however turn areas north of Kabul
into agricultural oases.

Remnants of a Russian military base en route to Panjshir Valley.
A chilling reminder of the past.

"Lland maggots", as geoff Lawton refers to goats and sheep,
grazing on the barren landscape.

The Panjshir River pass. This is where the Afghan freedom fighter
"Ahmed Shah Masoud" and his army blew the canyon and held the Russians
from invading Panjshir Valley – a very significant place in the hearts
of Afghan people.

A local villager who volunteers to assist road users
to the conditions of the road ahead.

More Russian memorabilia.

Entering Panjshir Valley – this is where Mahboba Rawi’s parents were from.

The Garden at the end of the World. The location of the film by Gary Caganoff.

Ringo’s trusty Spectrum Precision LL100 laser level in use training local workers.

Saffi the camp cook climbing down a recently hand dug well.

Orphan boys at Hope House playing soccer with soccer balls donated by Ringo.

Excavator Alley.
The road north of Kabul where excavators are for hire for $30 p/hr.

Workers huddled in a tent during the hail storm.

The site after the hail storm.

Australian expat worms working in Afghanistan.
Living in a home-made tyre worm farm.

Ringo’s day job in Australia training personnel
to operate heavy mining equipment.

Remnants of a war torn landscape.
The tail end of a rocket propelled grenade found on site.



  1. Hi Ringo,

    I have been following your pod casts via iTunes. Mate, great work. Please keep the infomation coming thru. Cant wait for the next podcast. Also keep the photos coming.


    The podcasts are awesome. Now I can download them quick and listen to them on the road or while working. Mate you have my support, knowing the locations Im working in its a bit hard to read all the posts on my iPhone. With one click its in my iTunes and im away.

    Great work All.

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