This is the new site for a second community home. The climate and lay of the land is very different than KACH. It is brown, hot, dry and windy almost all year with very little rain fall. It is absolutely beautiful with a natural saline spring and two varieties of acacia trees. The Acacia senegal is known for it's seeds and sap. The sap is the source of gum arabic and is used as a food additive as well as medicine. The seeds can be eaten and are said to help with milk production in both livestock and humans and are extremely nutritious. We have been to the site three times and each time I am struck with a new idea and appreciation for the beauty. One of the days, We headed over with exuberant Dutchman and his funny team who sell windmills. He just fell in love with it, and was a wealth of laughs and knowledge. One lively guy in particular was very familiar with the microclimate and ecology and would be someone to include in the future. We came up with some crazy ideas of natural spring pools, and eco resort and vineyard. The area is surprisingly good for growing grapes and practicing permaculture within the existing ecosystem. The bedrock is a white limestone which has wonderful building capabilities and leads to the soils being very productive. As with everywhere the are many people there utilizing the property and springs so the concept of the community home and creating a project that ripples out to the entire community will be critical.
I have a dream of creating buildings using only local materials such as stone, lime mortar, lime plaster and black acacia timber with thatch roofs. While here I have been revisiting Ian Mcharg's "Design with Nature" and remembered we often miss the simple things and forget to look at our spaces as a "layer cake" of history, hydrology, ecology and human patterns and how fascinating it can be to look at a small parcel of 5 acres like RACH and all that it holds.
Our Fearless Leader
sisal plants nibbled by camels
the Dutchman and team