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
Strategic planning session for the next few months
Strategic planning session for the next few months

Dear Friends and Family, 

 

We trust you are all doing well and staying safe and healthy during these challenging times. 

Here in Myanmar, we are still facing a very challenging time. With a very unstable political situation and still threats from another wave of Covid-19, daily life is extremely challenging for all. 

 

We are slowly coming out of a devastating 3rd wave and starting a vaccination program across the country. With rapid opening of everything and limited resources, we are worried about what is still to come. 

Clear winter weather coming our way
Through all we have continued to spend time at the farm training centre as often as possible. With the heavy rains coming to an end, we are getting ready for clear and cold weather. This is the time when we can more easily be at the farm. We will begin starting to make our mud bricks again and designing the next buildings.  Our aim is to start basic youth camps for local children from the surrounding villages in the next few weeks. 

Schools have just opened, but we are uncertain for how long they will stay open and due to the political situation some students are still at home. We are aiming to create several programs for a variety of ages over the next few months. 

 

We have already installed a better road for easier access into the farm and several more rain water catchment tanks. This will allow us a much easier time through the long dry season to keep our gardens and trees happy! 

 

Wild honey bees and lime plaster
We are currently sampling new lime plasters and will paint our buildings as soon as the weather allows. We are also going to start our first time with bees on this land. We are learning new techniques for working with bees. There are so many wild hives of honeybees so we will start to work with them over the next few months. 

 

Life continues to move along slowly with all of the challenges, but we are happy to share that we are still able to continue our work in the local villages. 

 

We look forward to sharing more news with you over the next few months!

Wild flowers in bloom with clear skies
Wild flowers in bloom with clear skies
End of the rainy season means lots of rainbows
End of the rainy season means lots of rainbows
Building of new water catchment tanks at the farm
Building of new water catchment tanks at the farm
Wild honey bees at the farm
Wild honey bees at the farm
Natural lime plaster color samples for new house
Natural lime plaster color samples for new house
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Whispering Earth's newest building & new logo
Whispering Earth's newest building & new logo

Dear friends and family,

We trust you are all doing well and staying healthy and strong.

We are sad to share with you that the situation in Myanmar has only grown worse over the past few months.

As many of you may be aware, we are currently, facing a devasting 3rd wave of Covid 19. Over the last few weeks and days, the situation gets more serious with a lack of oxygen throughout the entire country. With lack of staff, medical supplies and no vaccination program in the country there are so many challenges people here are facing and will continue to face in the upcoming weeks. Along with all of these challenges the country is in its 6th month of political instability. It is hard to imagine things being worse!

The good news is that we are still able to travel to Whispering Earth Training Centre and continue the development of the land and buildings. Although it is still extremely challenging, we are spending as much time out at the farm as possible.

Greening the Training Centre
With a very early monsoon season this year, we have already been able to plant over 500 trees and bushes throughout the 14 acre training centre. With a variety of fruit trees, flowering and medicinal trees, herbs, and veggie gardens the centre is really coming alive with the rains.

Earthen Buildings are back!
After a long time coming, we are so happy to have almost completed our first earthen building on the land!!

As we mentioned, early rains this year (almost 2 months early!), really took us by surprise. We thought there would then be a break in the rains, by the rains kept falling!

After several months working slowly on the few sunny days we have had, we finally have completed the roof. Now with the roof on we are working on the first base coat of lime and plaster and looking forward to choosing fun colors to paint the final plaster coat! This allows us to be able to stay at the farm when necessary.

When the rains stop and all things permitting, we will continue building and start another few buildings on the land including a permanent kitchen and more! We are so excited and thankful for this lovely space and opportunity to have the time to develop the project further during these challenging days.

A New Water Source for the Centre
Due to the situation over the last half year, we were unable to start digging the well at the farm. We hope to raise funds over the next few months in order to start drilling the bore hole in November and December when the rains have stopped.

Having our own water source will change things completely at the farm and allow us to live there more easily as well as be able to plant and care for more veggie garden space and all of our trees throughout the long dry season.

Each year the water source we currently use is drying up faster and faster as the local village access the water. A new water source will ensure more security for not only our farm but also the village we are working with.

It is an extremely challenging time here in Myanmar and we hold all those suffering in our hearts. We hope that the situation will change soon and people can begin to move forward with their lives.

We are grateful for all the support we receive and the opportunity to continue building Whispering Earth Training Centre to better serve the people of Myanmar in the upcoming years.

Warmest wishes and best of health to you all!

Whispering Earth Family

Our first bamboo and earthen cottage at the Centre
Our first bamboo and earthen cottage at the Centre
Experimenting with sustainable roof materials
Experimenting with sustainable roof materials
Our treated bamboo meeting lodge on the hill
Our treated bamboo meeting lodge on the hill
Next steps-natural lime plasters and paints
Next steps-natural lime plasters and paints
Views into surrounding villages from bamboo hall
Views into surrounding villages from bamboo hall
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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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Whispering Seed

Location: Penn Valley, PA - USA
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Project Leader:
James Connor
Penn Valley, PA United States
$14,874 raised of $50,000 goal
 
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