Sunday, November 28, 2010

Being crafty at Mama Lulu


OK, so first I am super proud of this website I made for Mama Lulu. Ok, so it´s nothing magical but I only had a few days and it is a blog, so it´s free and really easy for them to learn to update but I made it look and act more like a real website! It has sweet photos and info about Mama Lulu.
They are going through a big change and want to become more like a school and educational center where they can teach their expertise in guadua and sustainable agriculture. I helped to make the website clearer to find these things and add meta tags etc to improve their search results so that tourism sites don´t pop up first. Hopefully it works and helps to draw more of the right people to this amazing place.


I learned to make a lot of natrual products, including, soap, toothpaste, paper, wallets, how chocolate from picked beans and pizza from an orno.

A group called Chic Chan who helps edcuate about recycling came and taught us how to make things out of trash. They also organized concerts where the entry fee is trash for recycle..coolio

Paper from recycled paper
So easy... you take old paper soak overnite, add a bit of lemon and glue then blend.
Pour the blend over a screen and lift out of the water and voila!

Wallets made out ot tetra packs from old juice boxes.
Directions here

Natural toothpaste
4 tbs of sifted ash from a fire
1 tbs of sea salt
1tbs of baking soda

I also recommend Miswak for the Peelu tree for brusing teeth!

Pizza from orno

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mama Lulu

Mama Lulu
One of the most amazing places I have visited. Starting with hardy any money or posessions other than a tiny piece of land, for 30 years Mama Lulu and 3 generations of the Hincampie family have become masters at Guadua construction creating an artistic, sustainable and highly inventive finca.

Their granja embodies what I strive for and what this whole blog and journey is about. Not only is their home and finca in sync with nature using local materials, harvesting rainwater, implementing permaculture landscaping, farming animals, and composting but all is infused with the highest quality design, art, craftsmanship and creativity I have seen yet.

Every inch of their house is art, every piece of dirt has beautiful vegetation, even the water system Hernando Hincampie designed has steps so the water drops making music to go along with the hum of the crickets, the songs of birds, the whistle of the wind and croaking of frogs.
Hernado says that nature is his blackboard.

As for inginuity they have that too. Ever heard of a bike that pumps water for a shower? Well they have it. Exercise and get clean at the same time. It also can pump it to the reserve at a rate of 20 liters per minute. They have technologies such as a solar oven cooker, biodigester for biogas, drytoilets, rain water catchment, water pumps that us the flow of water itself for energy.
Not to mention the highest quality Guadua construction and design, they even design their own furniture.

All of this art and design is all linked under one goal to perserve and protect the land and health of the animals and people here. They have reforested their backyard and take care of goats, cows and pigs.


Their House
they built it themselves, by hand in four years for
30,000,000 pesos which is 15,000 dollars!above is also the bicidouche, that showers you as you exercise!The hotelnotice the parrot plant holder made out of old tires...ingeniousinside their housethe bathroomStruggling to cut Guadua.
They only use hand tools to build all of this, except for a drill and a sander!Jorge who has been cutting Guadua since he was 11 slices through it like butter.
I never thought watching wood being cut would be fun but he chips it so fast with the precision of a master sculptor.Some of the many funiture designs they made.

One of the most amazing things they have accomplished is the restoration of the vegetation on their property.They have literally created a forest/botanical garden where there used to be a monoculture of coffee plants that ruined the soil. It´s hard to see through the thick vegetation but where thr property ends and the neighbors begins there is only short grass.

Here almost every plant has a use. Below is the Cocoa plant for chocolate. They have hundereds of other vegetables, fruits, and herbs like papyrus, Mango, Papaya, banana, plantain, oregano, lemongrass and of course Guadua. They even have a plant you can smush in your hand and use as soap in a bath, plants for curing rashes, tummy aches, endangered woods way to much to list.
piggy´s, with a heater powered by biogas from their own poopies


These are some of the sustainable technologies they had.
Below is a biodigester that the cow, goat and pig poo is washed directly to. As the manure ferments it creates gas that fills up the plastic tube and then siphened to a stove for use.Here is a stove powered by biogas
Below is an Ariete. It uses the flow of the water from two pool above it wher ethe water bubbels up from the earth to power a pump that sends this water all the way up the hill.
Here is where the water from the Ariete comes to.
A pool that also houses fishies they grow to eat.
Behind the pool you can see a solar oven cooker!
The used shower and toilet water comes here to be cleaned.
After the septic it goes through a plant bank. This system gets rid of 95.9% of the soild waste.
Here Hernando wants to make 4 dry toilets.

Some extras
Jorge is here with his invention, a guitar made out of Guadua.
He let me name it a guaduatarra.
He has won 30 awards for his singing and songwriting
My favorite song was
Tengo la guadua torcida ..Even their cat is pretty creative and resourceful, he has been milking this dog for 4 years!


Bridge out of Guadua

Pachamama is another ecovillage near Armenia very close to the other ecoaldeas Anthakarana and Mama Lulu. They have a Guadua factory where they treat Guadua (a type of bamboo) with a borax solution that is nontoxic and makes the wood last a long time. Guadua is an amazing building material that is local, readily available and grows so fast you can almost watch it. It is also incredibly prolific and has 3 ways of reproducing: through its roots, its stems and seeds. They cut the Guadua when the moon is at its smallest. This is when the water retreates most from the trunk so the insects won't eat it and the wood lasts longer.

They have a biodigester that takes animal waste solids and creates biogas for thier stoves. The people here are very lovely and welcoming. Molina, the head woman of the house, made wonderful home cooked meals with local organic rice and vegetabeles and fruits from thier garden.

The Guadua treatment factory made, of course, out of Guadua.
The guadua are pushed down under a liquid solution of
Borax and boric acid to preserve the wood
A young guadua can grow 30 cm a day to its full height of in 3-4 months.

Rain water treatment

Guadua growing near thier rainwater reserve.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Anthakarana logo

Anthakarana asked me to help them come up with some logo ideas. Anthakarana means a bridge under a rainbow leading from the material to the spiritual. Anthakarana to this ecoaldea also means family, life, and fertility, love.

The first is a bird with all the 4 elements: water, earth, fire and wind. Anthkarana sandskrit symbol is in the center of the bird and the colors of the rainbow corresponds with the elements.

The second concept is just the sandskrit for Anthakarana in a design that has refeerences to the sun, flowers, life and again the rainbow colors that relate to the bridge from the spiritual to the material.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Anthakarana near Armenia

ANTHAKARANAAnthakarana is a small ecovillage nesteled in the mountains of Salento near Armenia. Anthakarana means bridge under a rainbow from the material to the spiritual. Here they are going to host the annual ecovillage meeting Llamar de los Moñtanes. This is the biggest ecovillage meeting in the country, maybe I can make it back here in January for it.

I spent most of the time helping prepare for this event. Lots needed to be done. They needed to construct a maloca, build tire trails, plant the garden, make signs etc to get ready.

Building the maloca out of Guadua.
Feeding Nandi.We also spent time painting a goat shed with gasoline to protect it.
surrounding land.
the shower

Lotsa Art projects

We painted these sculptures 4 colors to represent the four races. They are going to make an art inatallation for Llamar de la Montaña.
Painted signs to show people how to wash dishes using less
water and how to use the dry bathrooms.I made some logo concepts for themWe also made lots of dreams catchers:)

We played bored games or talked most nights. Below I am with a young couple from Colombia who stared a Trueque (trade) store in thier hometown near Bogota. They lived without money for 2 years by simply hosting a Trueque where people came to trade goods, services and knowledge. I asked what she did if she needed to go to the dentist or doctor. She said she needed her wisdom teeth out so she went to the local dentist and asked what she needed. The dentist needed a bike. So Natalia returned with a bike and got her wisdom teeth out! If only life was that simle for all of us...but really, it should be.

This same couple, Natalia nd Juan Carlos, spent a lot of time with the Kogi Indians in Santa Marta. The Kogis are a fully sustainable indiginous tribe that live totally isolated and virtually unchanged for centuries. The way they live is facinating and the pictures Natalie showed me were unbelievable

Oriana and Osiris the young couple (21years) below who live here descided at age 15 that they wanted an alternative life. They were the ones who told Orianas parents Deyanira and Bahmar about this way of life. They now also have a beautiful baby on the way :)
Delicious home-cooked meals with things like arepas, arroz, patacon, and many veggie burgers and hotdogs. We got to make cheese, marmalades, and coffee which is all so easy why do we bother buying these things??
Grinding coffee
Butterfly/moth montage

This last little guy kept landing on us all day as we worked planting pasto (grass) seeds to replenish the rolling hills with food for the goats.