My time at Terra-Khaya was a little like stepping out of the box where things you thought were just imaginings become reality and the possibilities for living lightly on the earth are endless. It’s amazing how simple everyday elements like a beer bottle top, a horse’s halter and a solar panel can be seen in a completely new light because of the beauty and exquisite experiences they can manifest when put to good use. This is how it unfolded….
The principles of living lightly are evident everywhere at Terra-Khaya, from the characterful cottages made from salvaged wood, road signs and other unique upcycled elements, to the recycling zone which is an everyday changemaker’s dreamland. Absolutely NOTHING is thrown away at Terra-Khaya, everything is sorted into categories in bright yellow old oil drums nailed to the wall so that the lids, bottles and corks can be given new life or recycled. So when it came time to mosaic the freshly daubed inside wall of the new lodge, built from the ground up on natural building principles, it made perfect sense to use the colourful, shiny metal bottle tops from beers and ciders. They were easy enough to find in the well-categorised drums and while the mud wall was still wet we pushed them in gently to create a glittering tree of life in celebration and in preparation for the reforestation festival that was about to start. That weekend, along with Greenpop, 250 of us planted 2 400 trees on that land and not only did I discover first hand the power of a human chain to move trees up a mountain and how many hands, including little ones, make light work, but I will never again look at an insignificant bottle top in the same way. It really is not something to be thrown away, it can be given new purpose in the tree of life, and it was.
Being aware of our footprint on the Earth comes down to reverence and respect for all life and Shane Eades, founder of Terra-Khaya, expresses this compassion beautifully through his natural horsemanship techniques. There are no bits and bridles at Terra-Khaya and horses are guided by your body, your voice and your respect for them. I grew up riding bareback on ponies, but I had never before been on an outride without the control of a bridle and so when Jeremy Loops, one of the local musicians performing at the festival and co-founder of Greenpop, was keen to swop out his surfboard for a trusty steed I was glad to get a chance to try the natural riding with just halter and reins. Riding through the tall tree forest and enveloping mist at dusk and feeling the freedom where horse and rider become one was truly memorable and the pure exhilaration was balm for the soul. What we think we know because that is the way it has always been done does not have to be so….
And of all the out-the-box experiences of my time there, one of the most heartening for the future was the vote of confidence in renewable energy and what it can manifest. Terra-Khaya runs purely on solar power and fire from alien tree wood. This includes cooking, hot water and computers being powered by sun and fire. And while the sun luckily does not have an off button, it seems neither do musicians. Jeremy and James were not going to be held back by our mental dependence on Eskom electricity to make a music video they urgently needed to send to America. So they proceeded to film it, cut it and mix it using GoPros and their computers fueled by the stored solar energy. So the Jeremy Loops video you see below is made purely on solar power and a whole lot of love right there on Terra-Khaya. Now that is something to get excited about, the innovations, the reverence, the creativity is there and waiting, all we need to do is step outside the confines of what we think we know and create the future beautiful we’re all dreaming of. Who’s game?
Photo credits to Kate Janse van Rensburg, Jeremy Loops, Rhian Berning, Terra-Khaya and Wesley Davis.
If you would like to experience the Hogsback Festival of Trees for yourself, happening this month 24-27 September 2015, then visit their page on Eco Atlas to find out how to book your tickets, and just for luck enter the competition below and you could win two tickets!
WIN TWO TICKETS TO THE HOGSBACK FESTIVAL OF TREES
Plant trees, dance to local musos, do yoga in the forest, eat healthy food, attend eco workshops and revel in the magic of Hogsback this September.
Here is how you enter, have fun!
1. Tag the person you would oh so love to go with in the comments of the Facebook post (feel free to add in a bit of poetree)
2. For an extra entry add a photo of a tree you’ve planted or tweet us on @EcoAtlas.
Share the love and share the Facebook post while you’re at it.
The prize includes…
Two three day tickets valued at R1300 from Thursday pm to Sunday lunch.
9 healthy vegetarian meals for two, tree planting, live music & Dj’s on Friday & Saturday Night, eco-workshops, yoga, meditation, discussion groups, upcycle art sessions & share fair. PLUS extra workshops on permaculture, natural building, making compost, building swales, forest hikes, food forest gardening, natural horsemanship & gardening with indigenous trees AND free camping on the Thursday night.
(The prize does NOT include transport to the festival or accommodation on the Friday and Saturday night, camping costs for the weekend at Terra-Khaya would be R200 in total for two people or you could find some magical accommodation in Hogsback village)
Winners will be announced on Friday 11 September 2015.