Embun Pagi is a 2 year project. It started out as the grounds for my permaculture experimentation in Jan 2009. I had done my Permaculture Design Course in the US in Oct 2008, and decided to jump into living the life I had always dreamt about, not knowing how I was going to make ends meet. At this point, I had quit my job and used up all my savings, but i felt a sense of liberation and renewal as I started my new life. The relatively cheap rent for the property, and the fact that my very supportive parents lived nearby was enough assurance that I will somehow survive.
A month later, just as I was sinking my feet and spreading out my green canvas on the ground, I received an e-mail from one of my permaculture teachers in the US, offering to come and teach a PDC in Malaysia. I said ‘yes’ without thinking twice, and 2 months later, we organised the first Permaculture Design Course in Malaysia. We managed to accommodate 11 out of our 15 students in our 200 sq. meter house. We had a couple of Malaysians, Singaporeans, Burmese, and an American couple. Doug came with two other friends, Kaila and Gautier… and they made such an inspiring & exuberant teaching trio.
Here are some images from our early days, before Juergen joined me in Oct 2009.
Clay... clay everywhere! The site was a pretty boggy place with an abundance of water retaining clay throughout the property.
One of the first things I did outside was to get a tractor to dig up a pond in the boggiest area near the house. I left a tiny island in the middle so the kang kung growing on the site could establish itself on the pond.
This is how the pond looked like in week 2 when Doug, Kaila and Gautiere arrived a month before the PDC to help get the place in shape.
Making a path from the dug soil and sowing green manure on the edges of the pond where the tractor did its damage
Green manure getting established and protecting the soil from erosion
Digging a spillway between the new pond and a boggy area at the back of the property which will become the kangkung and catfish habitat
The walls were painted with the help of my intern,Tei, an amazingly gifted Burmese girl who grew up in a farming family. This hall/classroom area was initially used as a bedroom area with a curtain drawn in the middle partition to accommodate 4 male and 4 female participants, sleeping on metal double decker beds on either sides.
We broke down this small room and brought it forward
We did some renovation works in the kitchen. One of the walls were broken and replaced with grills to allow more air and sunlight in.
Our first classroom, which was later on converted into the partitioned dormitory for our second PDC
to read about how the first PDC went, click here