PDC 2019 by Michelle
Now that everyone has left, it is time to come to the reflection and conclusion of the PDC 2019 at Tinos Ecolodge.
I had the pleasure to arrive two days earlier to the Ecolodge and could witness with how much love for details Marilia, Nicos, Yannis and Peter were preparing the course. For the really tasty Greek, vegetarian/vegan food for the seminary there was also Froso preparing the first meal in the kitchen. During the two weeks she truly was bringing such a nice and good energy – singing and dancing. It was a big feeling of excitement when I could listen to the discussion about the itinerary of the seminar. Peter Cow from England would be the leading teacher, but he brought a lot of co-teachers with him: Fotini Georgousi from the project Nea Guinea with a Permaculture School near Athens, Alex Kostis from Andros and Bram van Overbeeke who is from the Netherlands but lives in Athens. Of course, I can’t forget our lovely host Nicos and Marilia, which would also cover lessons but first of all should us, how permaculture like living looks like in reality, giving such a great example with their Ecolodge. All of them would cover some specialties and make the PDC the richest I could have imagined. But let’s start from the beginning.
Everyone arriving felt quite chaotic, who puts his*her tent where, who stays in which house, how does the compost toilet work? A lot of questions, but in the end, everyone had a bed to sleep and Marilia and Nico gave a first introduction on how and where to pee and poo. Later on, Peter, Bram and Alex would start presenting the itinerary of the course, which felt quite a lot, but I could see that the others felt the same excitement as I did. The introduction for the group was to present ourselves talking for 2 minutes about what does ‘home’ mean to us and to tell a little bit about our history. It was interesting to see, that we were such a heterogeneous group, coming from different countries and such a wide range of experiences. Within the first exercises we were split up into three groups for the site support, which I will explain later on, and we also found out that we were quite equivalized morning birds, goats and owls. These three groups could do the dishes after each meal within their natural ‘best hours’ of the day. I was quite surprised, how good this system worked out.
The mornings always started with the ‘morning circle’ which was to talk about everyone’s needs, to be grateful and to have a creative review of the previous day; creative review means: We were drawing, playing hangman, singing songs, hearing poems and having theater. The morning circle generally was followed by the site support, which meant we had half an hour to support Nico and Marilia with weeding and trimming in the green house and the vegetable garden, but also to feed the chicken and keep them happy.
Within the topics there was a lot of variety: from ethics and principles to more detailed information about topography, microclimates & zones (thanks to Alex), soil & composting (thanks to Fotini), water management (thanks to Nico and Marilia), up to buildings, forests, community and so much more (thanks to Peter and Bram). The wide range of topics sometimes felt overwhelming, but Peter managed to always provide a nice and good learning atmosphere. The group got together more and more, especially after the talking circle, which opened our hearts for each other. The bonding within the group became stronger and thanks to so much work in smaller groups we had the chance to learn a lot from each other, too. We owe Peter, as an experienced teacher in community building, a big ‘thank you’ for choosing the activities so wisely to build up a strong community between us.
A highlight for sure were the practicals making a hot compost, vermicompost, raki, propagation of herbs, planting of herb and even stone wall building. For the host compost you have to have: green, fresh mass (leaves, etc.) which will provide your compost with nitrogen, then you need the double amount of brown mass (dry leaves, etc.) which will provide carbon, you mix it, you water it and then you leave it. The vermicompost has different layers and special worms which help the organic matter to decompose.
Another part of the course which I will remember for sure were the site visits: To start the day we went up to the mountains to Agiliki’s self- and homemade cheese. She learned how to make cheese from her grandmother and told a lot about the family business. Afterwards we went to the local winemaker Christos Fonsos, which has first of all great sense of humour telling a lot of stories about his way to produce local wine. Remarkable were the different types of cooling methods he and friends had come up with. Of course, we had a nice wine tasting, which lead us to buy quite a few bottles. The next stop was the herb distillery of Thiery, which explained about the long process of finding, preparing and distilling herbs to essential oils. This perfect day was rounded up with pizza and going to the nice beach Kolibithra.
After so much inspiration and new knowledge, we started to get into our own design process. The group divided into seven small groups: Korfu – , Ikaria – , Germany – , Tiny House – , Tinos – , Tinos Ecolodge – , Tinos Ecolodge – . We started right from the beginning with the mapping of the plots and Bram got quite creative to help us to set up all the maps. After the client interview we had to think about three main functions, put them into beneficial relationships, but also to just dream about all the things we would like to implement if we could. After this we started doing the overlays, putting the topography and microclimates and the second overlay with the zones and placement of implementations. The end came near and we thought about the implementation plan and finally we could present the projects to each other with a feedback from Peter, Bram, Marilia and Nico.
In between all of this I want to highlight the emergent session, which was to offer workshops from within the group. We had: Thai massage, Greek dance, sharing music, guitar lesson, Greek lesson, dance workshop. I am really thankful for the persons volunteering to share their knowledge with the other participants.
Furthermore, even the free evenings were filled with music, talking about spirituality, dancing, some raki and wine – because you should never forget about celebration with all the dreaming, planning and doing. 😉 I hope to stay in touch with the group to see the implementation of the different projects and hopefully our ways of life will cross again.