Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre

by Whispering Seed
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre
Playing in the mud-building our house!
Playing in the mud-building our house!

Dear friends and family,

We hope you are all staying and healthy and that the situation in your country begins to improve.

As many of you know, towards the end of January, Myanmar was beginning to contain the 2nd wave of Covid which has spread through the country. Unfortunately, Myanmar now faces new challenges. On February 1st the military gained country of the country resulting in a very unstable country and civil unrest. If you are unaware of the situation please check your international news in order to see the current political condition of the country. We pray for those brave youth have lost their lives of over the past month working to restore democracy to the country and keep them and their families in our hearts.

Due to the current political situation and unstability in the country we have chosen to focus our energy and time in the village at Whispering Earth Training Centre.  Regular phone, internet and power outages contribute to the many challenges we face once again here in Myanmar. 

Treated Bamboo Viewpoint Meeting Hall
We are so pleased to share that we were able to build our first treated bamboo house on the new land over the last 2 months! The building was the first experiment with treated bamboo, a technique using borax treatment to prolong the life of the bamboo. We also worked with local village carpenters to teach them new techniques of building, joining and working with this treated bamboo.

It took some persuasion to convince the villagers that the bamboo would be strong enough with the new design, but they have been quite pleased with the new learning and the result of the building. We still have some finishing touches to put on the building over the next two months before the rains come.

First mud building at Whispering Earth
We are also so excited to share with you that we have started our first mud building on the training centre. Due to the political situation and uncertainty of security, we have chosen to start with a smaller building in order to ensure the completion before the rains in case we cannot easily travel out to the farm.

Together with the villagers we have been making bricks over the past year and have over 5,000 bricks. We have completed the foundation and are almost complete the first floor of the building.

It has been so fun to see their faces as we tell them that no cement, concrete, steel or wood support beams are needed….only mud, straw, rice husk and sand!!

We have been inserting recycled glass bottle windows and teaching them a variety of techniques in working with natural building including; adobe, cob and much more.

We are so pleased with the result so far! We will continue to work for the completion of the building for the next two months prior to the coming of the rainy season. We cannot wait to share with you the final result in our next report.

Dry Season Fire Break and Struggles with Water
As some of you may remember, we have at forest fires over the last two years at the farm. This year we have been working hard to plant a green or living fence around the property and to create a small fire break to combat the fires during the few months of hot dry season here in Kalaw.

Because we have been unable to stay easily in town and run Sprouting Seeds, we have spent more time out at Whispering Earth. With more people staying here and building this year, along with an exceptionally dry hot season, our water source which we borrow from the neighboring farm has almost completely dried up.

For the last month we have been researching and visiting various sites around the farm to see what options we have to get more water.

We are pleased to share that we will start digging a bore hole in the next weeks! This is process becoming more popular in the local villages.

This will guarantee us a sustainable and endless source of water on our farm. This will completely change life on the farm! We are so excited as we will not only have more water for building and simple living on the farm, but we will be able to care for our trees much better and also will be able to grow more vegetables, fruits and herbs on the farm throughout the entire year!

Although we face extremely challenging times here in Myanmar once again, we are focusing our energy as best we can on the development of our training centre. Our aim is to be able to continue to support the people of Myanmar as best we can and make our small contribution to the development of the country.

With warmest regards,

Whispering Earth Family

Fun for all ages
Fun for all ages
The building is going up!
The building is going up!
Building the walls with glass bottles
Building the walls with glass bottles
So many things we can make with mud
So many things we can make with mud
Making cob is lots of fun!
Making cob is lots of fun!
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New land views & future training hall site
New land views & future training hall site

Dear friends and family, 

We hope you are all staying and healthy and happy as much as possible during these extremely challenging times! 

As some of you know, Myanmar is currently in the middle of a 2nd outbreak of Covid, resulting in the entire country currently in lockdown. Our small town of Kalaw is locked down and we cannot leave the city, but have movement to travel around within the town. This allows free movement out to the farm for the time being. 

As we are just coming out of a long rainy season, we are excited and hopefully that the rains will stop within the next month and half and we will be able to begin our building projects on the farm. 

Project of the Month Club
We are so excited to share with you that we were selected as Project of the Month Club for the month of August at GlobalGiving! This was such a great surprise to us! We were featured in ther Project of the Month Club for all of August. As part of the benefit of being selected as one of their feature programs, we are so excited to share that we will receive $10,000 as part of the prize for being selected! 

We are so excited and thankful for this great opportunity. The money will be shared with our other project, Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre. The money for Whispering Earth will be used to run the first natural building workshops on the land to build the first buildings as soon as the rains stop! 

Our first natural building at Whispering Earth and New Land
Our aim was to build the first adobe building in the spring this year, but with mandatory lockdowns and local villages closing their borders, we were unable to get to the farm. The rainy season then quickly stepped in and our focus went to tree planting. 

Now with the rains slowing down, we are making preparations to build our first buildings on the land starting in November, with weather and lockdowns permitting! 

We already have over 3,000 adobe mud bricks made and ready to start. We are currently working on the design for the building and getting materials ready to start the foundation as soon as we have sunny days and get the rock delivery into the farm. 

We aim to build the welcome lodge, with its own unique heating source. We are so excited to start the building project and share our sustainable building techniques with the local communities! 

We are also excited to share that the 5 acres of land that were originally part of our farm have now come up for sale. We are negotiating with the owner of the land hope to make our first deposit at the end of this month! 

The new 5 acres of land connect beautifully to the current farm, allowing a quiet area on the other side of the mountain. This area will be used for the building of our main training hall and quiet retreat spaces. It is ideal with views into the untouched valleys below and only noises from the passing birds and local water buffalo squeaks! 

We are in the process of incorporating the new land into our overall Permaculture design plan. We look forward to sharing more news about this soon!

We have been working the last three weeks to cut all the grass at the farm in preparations for the upcoming dry season. We also are working on new fencing and continuing road work on the entrance road to the training centre to make it easier access in all season. It has been hard work but we are almost finished! 

Rainy Season Planting
As we mentioned in our last report, we received over 600 trees this year. Due to covid and illness within our family, we were not able to plant all of the trees this rainy season. 

However, all the trees that did not get planting are being repotted into larger bags and will be waiting in the nursery for the next rainy season to be put into the ground. 

We look forward to sharing more news over the next coming months!

Hoping you all stay safe and healthy! Warmest wishes for you all!

Whispering Earth Family

Beautiful views into southern valley from new land
Beautiful views into southern valley from new land
Site of future training hall and all the views
Site of future training hall and all the views
Fresh cut grass around temporary kitchen area
Fresh cut grass around temporary kitchen area
More trees at Sprouting Seeds ready for planting
More trees at Sprouting Seeds ready for planting
Some beautiful critters at the farm
Some beautiful critters at the farm
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Outside seating under the large jackfruit tree
Outside seating under the large jackfruit tree

Dear friends and family, 

We hope you all have made it through this challenging time of Covid over the last few months. Here in Myanmar, things have not been bad as expected, but still we take all precautions to keep safe. 

Due to all the stay at home and movement restrictions in Myanmar, it has been extremely difficult to get out to our farm in the village. Almost all of the villages in the region all around Kalaw and surrounding areas were closed off completely to foreigners. We were allowed to go in and out of the farm a few times, but mostly we were asked to stay away until the situation got better. 

With the situation easing up and business, travel and movement around Myanmar opening up, we are now allowed out to the farm. With the rains already here, we are now focusing our energies on tree planting. 

We just received over 600 trees from several government nurseries in the local area. Slowly we are loading the truck with trees and taking them out to the farm to plant. Some of the trees include; several species of bamboo, silver oak, avocado, lemon, lime, kumquat, banana, mango, lychee, pigeon pea, gooseberry, mulberry, many types of local hardwoods, species used for fire breaks and much more! 

About 2 months ago in the middle of the lock down we also had a small fire at the farm. This was in the peak of dry season and we were not able to get to the farm. Our local staff handled the fire, but our main bamboo building and storage room full of all of our tools and materials was burnt completely to the ground. Luckily, that was the worst of the damage. We had kept the grass cut and managed and so the fire did not effect many of the trees. 

Once rainy season is finished, we already have over 3,000 adobe mud bricks and we will start to build the first earthen building, the main lodge and welcome centre at the farm. In the meantime, we will busy over the next few months planting lots and lots of trees and doing more design work to prepare for building in the coming winter. 

As always we appreciate all of your support! We look forward to sharing more news in the next few months. 

Whispering Earth Team

Fruit, flower and forest trees ready to be planted
Fruit, flower and forest trees ready to be planted
Frame of first bamboo house burned down
Frame of first bamboo house burned down
Fire burning through forested parts of farm
Fire burning through forested parts of farm
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Adobe brick making begins again!!!!
Adobe brick making begins again!!!!

8th  Report for Myanmar Youth Training Centre

 

 

Dear friends and family, 

 

We are happy to share the latest news from the last 3 months with you. Its been a very, very cold winter here in Kalaw and out at the farm. However, things continue to move forward slow and steady. 

 

 

Adobe Brick making starts again!!!

After many years of not having our own place to build, we are so excited to be once again in the mud!! 

 

After a few weeks of working on the adobe brick making we have close to 2,000 bricks made and ready for use. We are aiming for 3,000-3,500 to complete the first building within the next few months. 


The Lodge, or welcome centre will be the first building on Whispering Earth Training Centre to be built. We will experiment with alternative heating sources also, as winters are so cold here in this part of Shan State. 

 

We will be making adaptations of the rocket mass heater and also building a Kiva-Rumford fireplace for those cold evenings. We are looking forward to starting these two projects once the basic walls are up on the building. 

 

 

Water Tanks and Flowing water

Yes…after two almost 2 years of hard work and many attempts to pump water to the top of farm, we have had success! Its taken a long time, and it is a long way from our fresh water source at the bottom of our farm, to go all the way to the top, but finally our system works! 

Now we have capacity of holding and storing over 9,000 litres of water in various tanks spread across the land to use for building, farming, gardening and basic use in within the farm. 

 

APA Student Group

In early December we had the pleasure of working with APA and hosting 90 high school students from Yangon at our farm. This was our first group to stay with us, and we were so happy to have them there camping for 3 nights. 

 

We managed to build a larger temporary bamboo kitchen, a toilet, bathing areas and proper campsite. While the group was with us we worked on adobe brick making and started the farm and walls of our first adobe/bamboo vermicompost toilet (worm composting toilet). We are excited to continue our work with APA in the future!

 

We thank you for all of your support and are excited what the next few months bring of building and planning on the farm! 

Whispering Earth Team

 

Our Danu farm manager making first adobe bricks
Our Danu farm manager making first adobe bricks
Yeah...water reaching the top of the land
Yeah...water reaching the top of the land
Incredible views from our new land into the valley
Incredible views from our new land into the valley
2 of our newly built water storage tanks
2 of our newly built water storage tanks
Our new bamboo kitchen at the farm.
Our new bamboo kitchen at the farm.
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Bringing our group of new teacher interns to farm
Bringing our group of new teacher interns to farm

Dear friends and family,

We are happy to say that we have made it through another soggy monsoon season here in Shan State!!!! The sun is out now as we make our way into cold season which means more tourist will be coming to Kalaw!   

This means time once again to focus on developing the land and new buildings!!! So excited to share our news with you!

We found the 4x4 truck
We are so thankful for the amazing support from all of you and were able to purchase this amazing 4x4 truck!! We now have made several journeys out to the farm in the new vehicle. This will make a world of difference at we had into the busy building season. We are so thankful!

Road Work Completed
We just finished another round of road work at the farm. With a tractor and then several trucks loads of light gravel, the road is now improved 100 percent and ready for regular use into the farm! It has taken a while 

New Full Time Staff
This month we were able to hire our first full time staff at the farm! We are so excited. This is the uncle we were fortunate enough to have purchased the farm from, so he knows the land so well and supports us with a great connection to the village. We will work with Uncle over the next few months of dry season to really help make more progress at the farm. Welcome to our team!!!! 

New Water Source
Thanks to Uncle,  we have also been able to locate another water source from which we will be pumping our water for use at the project through this dry season. Water is a huge issue in this area….and will continue to be an ongoing issue here at the farm. However, with this water source and building more holding tanks this coming dry season to store up on rain water, things should get a little bit easier. 

Prep for APA High School Group
Finally, we are happy to say that we will have a group of 90 high school students from Yangon coming to work with us at the farm and at Sprouting Seeds in town in December. We are working hard this month to prepare everything so that the kids will be able to camp out at the farm for 3 days while they are here. It will be our frist group at the farm…so much to do, but we are so excited. 

Once again we want to thank everyone for all the incredible support you show us. With many plans for development of the farm over the next few months, we are looking forward to having more and more visitors in the near future.

We look forward to sharing more news with you of our progress over the next few months. 

We thank you for all of your support!!!

Whispering Earth Team

The tractor again making repairs after rainy seaso
The tractor again making repairs after rainy seaso
First load of gravel to help protect the road
First load of gravel to help protect the road
Our first full time staff member at the farm!!
Our first full time staff member at the farm!!
The new water source for the farm
The new water source for the farm
A birds eye view of the farm & surrounding area
A birds eye view of the farm & surrounding area
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Whispering Seed

Location: Penn Valley, PA - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
James Connor
Penn Valley, PA United States
$12,600 raised of $50,000 goal
 
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