In mid-June the cold creeps in as the sunsets. I have just come in from the cold where I braved a bowl of soup while watching the sky colours change and the waxing sickle moon and  Venus and Mars growing brighter as the darkness crept in.  The welcome wood-burning stove is now glowing, bringing needed warmth to me and my animal friends.

It is a quiet time of the year. Most in the gardens around my home and at the Permaculture site are looking pretty dead after night temperatures as low as – 8 degrees C.  The worry at this time of year is the danger of fire in all the long dry grass around the property which we are ill-equipped to handle.

Change is afoot at the Training Centre when soon the two new stewards Alhyrian, an experienced Permaculture practitioner and trainer, and Tania with varied experience will shortly relocate to take over activities. It is a sort of bardo period during which I, the old, continue to be the on the ground presence, while we all await the new.

I continue to visit the Tirisano crèche in Rietvaly regularly.  There are 24 children on the register, but attendance is erratic. This is thought to be due to both the cold weather and other changes due to the pandemic. Children prefer to remain at home when their slightly older siblings are home from the primary school which they are bussed to in Zeerust. School attendance has been very erratic. Initially, it was 1 day school, the next home, then 1 week at t school, 1 week at home, and more recently long periods at home as some of the teachers have been off with covid.

For 3 months, Keba, one of the two working with the children was off due to family and customary practices following a death in the family. A young single parent Martha, stepped in to help. Keba recently returned and things are settling back. Hopefully, in time, the planned new buildings and site development will offer much better facilities.

On the broader environment scene prospecting, and mining is an ongoing threat to the Marico Biosphere and protected areas. There are currently 3 prospecting applications to which we, with invaluable advice from dedicated and skilled, Brian and Jeannie of “Mmutlwa wa Noko “ are objecting. I attended a lengthy, heated public participation meeting recently. It is becoming an ever-increasing challenge as the government is pushing mining to boost economic recovery.  It would be such a shame if this area became a mining area.

We continue to welcome visitors and any who wish to escape from the city for some healing fresh space.  We would welcome your support and interest.

Pippa Cope

June 2021