Footprint Journal, Diary of our EarthRoute

We, EarthCode adventurers, have been traveling for the past 9 months. From August 2009 to April 2010, we visited some incredible communities and ecovillages throughout South America. For now it is time to settle down in tropical North Queensland, Australia. We have a lot of work to do… In order to write, edit video and audio, paint, play, and make careful selections of our pictures to publish on our web page ASAP, we have gone back to the home of our inspiration: Taylors’ Hill Nature Refuge.

Come back soon to check out the articles as they go online! And please… comment, criticize, share your views and help us to spread the word of sustainability!

But before disappearing into the ether, you will find a glimpse of what we have experienced during these moments – only a tip of the iceberg of what is to come!!!

Starting in Brazil… (Aug’09 to Oct’09)

We recycled with a carroceiro of Parque do Gato in the heart of Sao Paulo, collecting the recyclable materials to be found over a 20km day.

Exploring the jungle, we learned to speak a few words in Guarani and discovered more about the traditions and culture of the indigenous tribe, Tenonde Pora.

In Bahia, Northeast Brazil, we awoke each morning to a life within paradise, helping to reforest and making non-dig vegetable gardens in Piracanga.

Surrounded by hummingbirds in Abracadabra, amongst the insects and thickly humid air, we participated in the magical process of making chocolate – from harvesting cocoa to eating homemade deserts. Yummy!

Hiking for 3 days over the highest peak of the Brazilian Northeast, we trail blazed a path and fought with exhaustion and thirstiness till finding the springs of the river system Rio de Contas at Serra da Tromba (Trunk Cliffs).

We unburied a cow’s horn to prepare a biodynamic liquid compost for the coffee plantation in Flor do Café – home for snakes, spiders and scorpions.

In Brasilia, the modern capital of Brazil, we made a banana ring to treat the grey water of the Ananda Marga community, Ananda Vasundhara.

In Argentina… (Nov’09 to Jan’10)

After crossing the Brazilian/Argentinian border over the Iguazu Falls we camped on the other side, by a much smaller but still charming waterfall at Salto Berrondo.

Under torrential rains in the heart of Misiones State, we got our tent flooded for the first time, admired the uncountable butterflies and helped to put on a recycled roof in Mama Roja.

We left Misiones and embarked upon a 36-hour train voyage to Buenos Aires. Due to a confusion of dates by our host, we ended up in the central train station for hours, not knowing where to go or what to do. It was then that we remembered the recommendation by a friend we had made in Piracanga, suggesting us to visit an urban community right there, in the Argentinian capital.

Off we went to Vela Tropa. Again, we had our tent flooded (more than once), whilst being eaten alive by clouds of mosquitos. Between one bite and another, we fought against bulldozers, made a human-rope in protest, recycled food from rubbish bins… and ended up in the police station… well, that’s another story!

We danced, planted, danced again, harvested, danced some more, learned how to make handcrafts, and participated in an engagement ceremony where bride and groom joined hands for the first time, in a religious ceremony at the Twelve Tribes community.

By then our savings had finished and yet there was so much to explore. Well, we had to continue with our mission and the real adventure was just about to begin. Thumbs up!

 


While hitchhiking for four days towards Patagonia, we slept in the last car of a massive ‘car transporter’ and had coffee and biscuits for breakfast with the driver of our first lift. We carried on, laden under our heavy packs. Then, camped in service stations and backyards. After freezing in Bariloche, we were thankful for the generosity of an angel we met, who allowed us to camp for free in heaven (the banks of beautiful Gutierrez’ lake). To our surprise, the last lift en route to our next stay was with Richard, the Canadian man who we had met in Twelve Tribes, some five thousand kilometers behind us where we started hitchhiking.

At Reko, we were involved in various processes of natural building styles. We cobbed, stuccoed, crafted and built; sealed an indoor greenhouse with beeswax and linseed oil, and hand-made furniture; participated in a minga, a colossal reunion of friends where all contributed for a day to natural construction, at a local community called Munjo.

Christmas arrived and we celebrated as family – some fifteen multi-national volunteers –, exchanging gifts from our hearts, made with our hands.

A picturesque wander along the Argentinian ‘Blue River’, brought us to Granja Valle Pintado. There, we saw a mix of gardening techniques from Fukuoka and Steiner to Mollison.

Back in Reko, it was now New Year’s Eve and suddenly we were 120 people hugging each other, singing and dancing by the fire… celebrating the arrival of 2010!

The last community we visited in Argentina was CIDEP, a reference for the investigation, development and teachings of permaculture.

While in Chile… (Feb’10 to Apr’10)

Back on the road, it was time to pull the old thumb out again. Besides camping here and there and sleeping in people’s houses from pure acts of kindness, we met a beautiful couple of artisansand managed to sell some of our first handmade artwork in their stall, received donations during our lifts, and got geographically confused while camping by beautiful waterfalls between Florida and Los Angeles.

By the time we arrived in El Manzano, considered to be the first Transition Town in South America, we had already made lots of Chilean friends in the small city of Cabrero. Seeding, planting, building, and studying the application of sustainable aspects in the neighborhood’s lifestyle were amongst our activities.

In Parque Educativo de Agrotecnologias, Linares, we helped to build a food-dehydrator, planted Araucarias, and constantly fed a Californian-worm farm.

We felt the earth shaking under our feet during one of the largest earthquakes in history (8.8 magnitude), while residing in Eluwn, located close to Melipilla. There, we helped to build a food-compost, a pergola (painting it artistically!), a stylish stone igloo to protect the precious spring water, made a ‘yinyang-shape’ vegetable garden, and digested delicious home-made mandala pizzas.

As we sat down on a bohemian street of the capital Santiago to vend our handcrafted jewelry (to then spend it all on Henny’s visa application at the Australian Embassy), we proudly stood up to see Pablo Neruda’s house.

Chile, in its entirety, was still trembling when the new President came to power, but we were on the road again, hitchhiking to the most Northern point we visited on this part of our journey: the region of Valle Elqui.

In El Romero we helped to build posts using recycling pet bottles as a moisture barrier, insulated walls using bamboo, tetrapack and adobe, and got to know a Mapuche (Indigenous Chilean) descendant.

At Tzolkin, a community named after the oldest of all Mayan calendars, near Ovalle, we built a food-compost, a two-phase bio-filter and a greenhouse where all the materials were either reused or recycled from a junk heap beside the property.

Closer to Santiago again, this time at Maiwe, we participated in a workshop about health, vegetarianism and alternative medicinal treatments, put together the community’s first vertical garden and built the structure of a dome, with its foundation made from recycled tires and cans.

The last place we visited in Chile was the home of Eco-Sol, in Pirque. There, we admired beautiful sunsets, helped to build the structure for a workshop, rebuilt fences eaten by cows and walls fallen during the earthquake.

By mid April there were plenty of reasons to celebrate as we had accomplished the first leg of our journey and it was also time to sing happy birthday to Henny – in the Chilean way!

Going back to say goodbye to our friends in Maiwe, Eluwn… was not easy. But as we happily embarked on the long journey across the Pacific to arrive in tropical Australia, we reflected on the adventures past.

Between wanders in the rainforest and the occasional swim in a waterfall or hot spring, we have been editing the precious material of the intention sustainable future we managed to capture in our photo and video cameras, eyes and ears.

Hope you enjoy our adventures throughout South America! Watch out for more and let us know your thoughts through commenting on our webpage!!!

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