I’m sitting, gratefully basking in the warmth of my wood-burning stove on an unusually wet and cold May evening, with time to reflect on my semi-retired life here in Tara’s valley.


I joined Alan’s recent retreat on the Buddhist foundation practices and really benefitted personally. He skilfully and with his usual humility, kindness, and skill, managed to offer useful information and guidance to both long-term and completely new practitioners. Thando, one of the participants had this to say about her first experience of TRC.



My personal life this week has been dominated by my little old Jack Russel dog Chokyi, who after enjoying a long walk with me on Saturday, began having fits on Sunday which continued getting progressively worse for two days until she passed away. We buried her today which was emotional for me.  Peta, my other dog has definitely been affected and appears depressed. She refused to come inside on a very cold night last night and isn’t eating. For me,  yet another reminder of “the truth of impermanence”.


It is not my remit to report on this permaculture side of activities but I am peripherally involved.  The land team is working very hard to improve and further develop the area under Alhyrian’s guidance while other developments are moving ahead since the Rokpa Funds arrived. They have recently appointed a young woman, Sentle, as an administrator who says she has a lot to learn but is very enthusiastic and keen. They hope soon to appoint an older woman to be based in the house intended to offer refuge for women in need.

I continue to visit Tirisano crèche in Rietvaly on a fairly regular basis. One of the staff members, Rebecca, recently had another beautiful daughter named Hope, and another community member Elisa is there helping out until Rebecca returns. Elisa is great with the children and is fitting in well.



In recent weeks I have participated in two greater environment activities. The first yet another public participation meeting for a proposed slate quarry on the border of the biosphere in a sensitive environment very close to an important Tufa waterfall. It was a chaotic meeting in a highly unsuitable location alongside a dirt road. We sat uncomfortably in the sun trying to listen to a very poor presentation by the potential mining company that was picked to pieces by the participants.  They clearly knew little about the area, and much of their very lengthy BAR document was riddled with flaws, much of which was obviously cut and pasted from other documents.  One example was of their totally incorrect description of local weather, saying wet winters and hot dry summers. They will have to return soon for another meeting. Being involved in opposing the ever-growing number of prospecting and mining applications is time and energy-draining, particularly for the hugely dedicated Jeanne and Brian who are the main energy and skills behind “Mmutlwa wa Noko.”

This week Sentle and I participated in a Marico Biosphere planning meeting, which was interesting and informative. It was well organised. It was hosted in a beautiful location on a nature reserve in the area. The participants were from various NGOs, Government departments involved with the environment, the SA UNESCO team, local landowners, and a potential donor from Belgium. It was a positive meeting geared to exploring possible strategies for interventions that will hopefully bear fruit in the future to preserve this special area.


Keep warm!


May 2022