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
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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Getting trees to take back for planting at farm
Getting trees to take back for planting at farm

Dear Friends and Family, 

With the onset of another long monsoon season here on the Shan Plateau we focus on our design work and strategic planning for the our new training centre in Sha Bin village 12 km from Kalaw. 

Kokopelli Seed Saving Video about Whispering Earth
A while back we had the pleasure of meeting Alexia who brought with her to Myanmar an enormous bag of life….seeds, seeds, seeds!!!! She donated the seeds to us on behalf of Kokopelli, a seed saving organization based in France who had put together a variety seeds to be shared here in Myanmar. Along with this wonderful gift, Alexia also made a wonderful video to raise awareness about Whispering Earth and the work we are doing.  We are working on planting the seeds and sharing the seeds with other groups. Please see the link below for the video!

Massive Tree Planting
Over the last month, with a long list of trees we wanted for planting at the centre,  we traveled to several government nurseries between Kalaw and Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State.  Between the nurseries, friends and collecting cuttings from local trees around Kalaw we just completed a massive tree planting of over 600 trees!!! It has been challenging work, especially with travel in and out of the farm on bad roads in wet and muddy conditions, but we are so happy with the outcome. An enormous variety of fruit trees, medicinal trees, flowering trees, hard wood trees and more. 

Design Work for Farm and Buildings
We continue the design work of the land using Permaculture principles and mapping out specific areas of the farm.  We have been slowing watching the land and adjusting our design work as the seasons change on the land over the last year. We are also continuing design work on the buildings which we hope to start in November of this year. Design work will also include our first rocket mass heater which we very excited about building and will share more once the building work begins. 

Search for 4x4 Vehicle
As some of you may know, the distance to the farm is only about 12km, but due to bad conditions of roads, it can take us 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach the farm.  We have been using motorbikes to haul everything out to the farm and are in desperate need of a vehicle to help us safely transport ourselves and materials.  As we get further into the design and building of the centre we will need a 4x4 truck.  Luckily we have found a rugged Toyota 4x4 pick up truck and are aiming to raise funds to purchase the vehicle.  This will make it possible to start the building work once the rains stop in November. 

We are thankful for all the support we have received and looking forward to sharing more updates in the next report.

Warmly, 

Whispering Earth Team

Taking a break-beautiful day from tree planting
Taking a break-beautiful day from tree planting
Trees headed out to farm for planting
Trees headed out to farm for planting
First water catchment container preparations
First water catchment container preparations
The 4x4 truck we are trying to raise funds to buy
The 4x4 truck we are trying to raise funds to buy

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Long road coming into farm needs more work
Long road coming into farm needs more work

5thReport for Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre

Dear Friends and Family, 

We hope this finds you all well. We have been so busy here in Kalaw with the move of our home and Sprouting Seeds Training Centre, Café, Bakery and Eco Shop. As you may know, sold the house we lived and run the project out of. Unfortunately, it took a very, very long time with lots of challenges to find a new place. We have spent the last few months making the transition and fixing the new building and property. 

Due to this our forced move from our home and training centre in town, all of our energy has gone into this. Our work on the development of Whispering Earth Training Centre out in the village has still continued but we have not been able to move forward as quickly as we had hoped. 

Forest Fire Burns the Farm
A few weeks back, we had a call that there were many forest fires in the local area around the farm. This year in Kalaw and surrounding areas have been the hottest and driest ever! This combined with the local practice of burning underbrush in the middle of dry season causes horrible forest fires. The nights are filled with glowing fires in the surrounding mountains. 

Unfortunately, the neighbors were burning their fields while strong winds and the fire spread into our farm. The fire burned the majority of the land, but the villagers were able to help and stop the fire from burning the top half of the land and the main bamboo house. 

This has been a huge setback for us. Along with all of the energy spent on the move to the new café space and continued work on making it look nice, now we also have so much work at the farm. 

The majority of large trees were not burned and some of the young trees that were just getting established also survived. However, many of the trees we planted during last rainy season were destroyed. 

 It has been a lot to deal with and now we work to set up the water system and continue to clean the property in order to prevent any further burning. We also continue to work on the nursery so  we are ready to plant as soon as the first rains start to fall in the next month. 

We are just so happy that no one was injured during the fires and we are working hard to re-green the space as soon as possible. 

Nursery & Living Fence
We continue work on the development of the nursery here in town at the café project. Once the rains begin we will transport all the young trees out to the farm. We also have been working on the living fence at the farm.  We  have planting several species of plants along the border of the property in order to create a barrier to help keep out neighboring water buffalo. 

The plants started almost a year ago are already taking root and with the coming rainy season we are hoping for them to really take off and cover some of the exposed areas around the border of the property. 

Continued Road Work
We have continued road work on the at the farm to allow easier access into the farm during rainy season. With a little more work and a truck load of gravel we should be able to enter into the farm much easier over the next 8 months of monsoon season. 

We are so thankful for all of your support for our work in the development of the new farm and Whispering Earth Sustainability Training Centre.  We are excited to share the news as we progress into the rainy season over the next few months!

Warmly, 

Whispering Earth Team 

Young nursery trees waiting for transplant in rain
Young nursery trees waiting for transplant in rain
Forest fire burns a large area of farm
Forest fire burns a large area of farm
Dry season forest fires burn parts of farm
Dry season forest fires burn parts of farm
Young edible borage flower plants getting ready
Young edible borage flower plants getting ready
Road work continues in prep for rainy season
Road work continues in prep for rainy season
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Site of the first welcome lodge at the farm
Site of the first welcome lodge at the farm

4thReport for Myanmar Youth Sustainability Training Centre

 Dear Friends and Family, 

The cold season has arrived here in Kalaw and even colder out at the new training centre in Sha Bin village 1,500 metres!! We made it through our first rainy season and now trying to keep stay warm as we wait for the hot season over the next few months. 

As some of you may know, our main project in Kalaw, Sprouting Seeds Café, Bakery and Eco Shop Training Center has to move to a new location. The building which housed the project and also our family has sold and we have been given 2 months to move out. This is our biggest priority at the moment as it is directly linked to the farm and all of our work with Whispering Earth. 

Although we are focusing our energy for the next month and half on the move of the café and home, we are still very excited about the progress we are making out at the farm. 

We are working with local villagers and have the 4-5 months of dry season to really work on parts of the project while the weather is nice. 

Vehicle for projects
We have spent the last week with one of our Board of Directors making lots of for all of the projects for the upcoming year. We are so excited for all the plans we have ahead of us. We have identified the importance of having a vehicle that we can use for all of the projects. It is crucial at this stage to have a vehicle in order to safely get ourselves, materials and volunteers from town out to the farm and for uses with the other projects. 

Adobe Brick Making
Within the next week we will organize a team of local villagers and start our workshop on adobe brick making. We have arranged a large truck of rice husk and rice straw for the bricks and to start the first building. This will be a unique opportunity for the first time for villagers in our this area to learn how to make adobe bricks. 

Green House and Shading for trees
As you all may know, we have planted many trees over the last few months of rainy season. Now with the cold weather and dry season ahead of us, we are focusing our energy on protecting the trees with natural mulch and shade cloth. We are also starting a small greenhouse space to prepare seedlings and young trees and veggies to get them ready for planting in this coming rainy season. 

Road Repairs
Because the road going into the farm is new and we had some erosion in the rainy season, we are starting road repairs over the next week. We will have several workers maintaining parts of the road and some trucks of gravel will be dropped to make it easier for travel in during the heavy rainy season. 

Water System
We are ready to set up the first large water catchment tank on the farm. Once this is in place we can begin to set up smaller tanks to use gravity to drain down in order to water all the young trees and allow us to be able to make the adobe bricks.  We are very excited to have a basic water system set up soon on the farm! 

We are excited to share more photos with you as we make progress on the farm over the next few weeks!!! 

Thank you for all of your support!!!! 

Whispering Earth Team 

Bamboo welcome entrance to be built this month
Bamboo welcome entrance to be built this month
Road in need of repair after first rainy season
Road in need of repair after first rainy season
The only way to get materials out to the farm
The only way to get materials out to the farm
Ohhh....the muddy, muddy roads!
Ohhh....the muddy, muddy roads!

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Whispering Seed

Location: Penn Valley, PA - USA
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Project Leader:
James Connor
Penn Valley, PA United States
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