Autumn has once again crept in with seasonal food coming in from the kitchen garden, wonderful shades of colour in the trees, early morning mists and almost our first frost as it hit 0 degrees.

We had our intimate Easter creative family Elements Weekend with Jayne Pilossof, our home grown Tara Rokpa Therapist from Zimbabwe, who supports Trish Swift who has been our regional Tara Rokpa Therapist for many years.

The next inspiring weekend was the ‘Kindfulness’ retreat with Mark Joseph and his wife Marloes offering input on yoga. A few extracts from the feedback forms:

… way too short time, everything else more than perfect … a wonderful rejuvenating weekend in a loving and peaceful environment.. . a deeply healing and enlightening stay.

Don’t miss the next opportunity to join one of these weekends.

Tirisano Crèche is continuing with a relatively new person, Rebecca, helping mainly in the stimulation room, supported by stalwart Maria. Rebecca is very keen to learn and has a natural inclination for child developmental stimulation. She was helped with ideas by Anni, our lovely German volunteer who left recently, some women from Groot Marico who have visited twice, and myself.

Olibogeng about to construct a mukuku on his stand in Zeerust

The Modibate (“Die Stadt”) relocation process has had a boost recently with some much appreciated funds from Rokpa International. This has allowed us to buy one family a “zozo” room for their stand in Zeerust, and we are in the process of purchasing 2 more for some of poorest families, plus a tin roof. I am working in partnership with Maria, the semi -official spokesperson from the community, who is respected by all, as to who has the greatest need. Funds will be hugely helpful. This all requires time for transport of the building material and possessions, a lot of listening, ordering and trying to co-ordinate deliveries. There are now 4 families with RDP houses in Zeerust, many more with stands awaiting an RDP house. Most people from the community are choosing to head towards Rietvaly, about 10 km from Tara Rokpa Centre, where they now have stands, sufficient water available and electricity in many of the stands. Those wanting to move to Groot Marico are endlessly waiting for promised water, electricity etc. It has now been a 3 year wait with 3 possible relocation sites, so is very frustrating to all.

Tikologo and TRC are busy with autumn harvesting and planting. On the wider environment front the MRCA (Marico River Conservation Association) is optimistic that we are on the brink of recognition as a conservation area of importance recognized by UNESCO. The main area of importance is clean water and good biodiversity. Coen and I recently attended a Marico Biosphere Reserve Landowners Conference, where there were a number of very interesting presentations. The ongoing opposition to mining, mainly directed at the biggest mining company in SA, is on the point of possibly having to go to High Court. This is being tirelessly driven by Jeanne and Brian of Mmutlwa wa Noko, who are working with an amazing volunteer legal team.

As ever, non-stop site maintenance carries on with blocked toilets, hand basins etc which are all a challenge to fix as the old-fashioned hidden plumbing is so difficult to trace. And much-needed temporary renovation of the black water draining system from the kitchen block is under way.

Prep for Fero cement semi moat

Meanwhile, work continues on my house. The water works, aka Pippa’s moat, were recently filled. With a need for lots of local soil for the manufacture of the compressed earth building we needed to dig big holes. This has resulted in 3 water harvesting underground storage container – a large tank under the future stoep (verandah for non-locals), the semi ‘moat’, a large hole which will become a tank to catch a lot of water off a roof at the Tikologo Training Centre. The moat and under-stoep tank will collect rain water which might at times have to be topped up from a borehole on site which will be solar powered.

First excavation

The outside of the moat is shallower and will be a future reed bed for water filtration. There are connecting pipes which will have a small pump to help circulate the water, along with some flow forms. The inner section will be an organic swimming pool.
The water surrounding the E and N of the house help balance the elements as the site will slowly develop its own eco system through permaculture designed outside space.  If you need further information contact Coen at

We so appreciate your support, casual visits and attendance at events, and are looking forward to hosting you again in the near future.

Pippa, Brenda and other volunteers.