So called progress is not stoppable I guess, but we suggest that a compromise can be reached where an area is set aside as a conservancy where rural local people can be respected for who they really are.
Respect would entail a quantum shift in the understanding of the Westerner to a point where we understood and appreciated that people are different and that their way suits them and has sustained them for many thousand of years.
In this conservancy ‘their way’ would dominate and the Westerner would be a guest or visitor, who would leave only their foot prints. No tipping, no feeling sorry for, no trying to change the way he lives, no superiority, no shame they are poor because they live in a mud hut – just common respect for the people who CHOOSE to live like this…..
Buildings at Ngepi
- only renewable commercially grown SA pine wood and Gum poles, as well as local reeds and thatching grass have been used in the construction of our buildings – we do not cut down indigenous local trees as this would degrade the forests that are already under threat, and these trees take 100’s of years to grow to maturity.
- we have never sprayed poisons for mosquito’s, and this ‘clean’ environment allows tiny mozie eating spiders, bacteria and other microbes as well as geckos, lizards, birds and other balancing ‘natural enemies of the mozie’ to proliferate and keep the population down without damaging the environment. A biome in balance!!
- We now have a filtration system for our drinking water. We treat all water we use for cooking etc by first filtering it through a sand filter, then through two 3 micron screen filters and then neuk it with ultra violet light. Its good 🙂 and its FREE outside the kitchen for you to collect in your own container ….. all to reduce our dependance of bottled water and the related pollution footprint.
As far as our rubbish is concerned
- We collect all our bottles for transporting to Johannesburg for recycling – on return load transport.
- We crush all our cans and send them to Maun where there is a can crusher – on return load transport.
- We compost most of our kitchen waste, but some is fed to the fish …
- We only burn mixed plastic & foil cartons, as all plastic wrappings and paper are recycled. ALL of it!!!
- We keep all plastic bottles for our indigenous tree re-planting project with the community, and when this re-used container is returned, we recycle as well – using return load transport.
- We return all old oil to a Maun depot that send it to Johannesburg for recycling so we are ensuring that it does not go into the soil.
- All batteries are returned for recycling.
- We have sealed two compartment septic tanks which discharge gray water into a French drain (a trench filled with rocks) this is then directed to a nearby tree – amazing growth. So in fact, the food you eat is converted into a tree!! A perfect carbon sink for that excess meal you ate last night. Think about that!!
- We have elected to take responsibility for our environmental footprint, and therefore all our energy needs are now supplied by renewable energy systems.
- Considering that all Namibia’s power comes from South Africa or Windhoek where they burn coal to generate it, and that this process pumps huge amounts of sulfur & Co2 into the atmosphere (power generation is the single biggest contributor of Co2 in Southern Africa), and whose cost of damage to the environment and damage to our children’s heath & future is NOT factored in on your electricity bill; we have chosen NOT to connect to the mains supply and rather have a working water wheel water pump that gives us 24/7 water from the river, supplemented by a solar water pump driven by 1200Watts of solar tracking panels. We also have 20,000Watt’s of PV solar panels that charge the 5,000 Amp hour batteries, giving us 18Kw of 220 volt AC power that we need to run the whole camp – fridges, freezers, computers, music etc etc 24/7.
- It was determined in the USA that power plant pollution causes more than 38,000 heart attacks and 554,000 asthma attacks per year, and costs the country R1,3 trillion annually. Factor that in!!
- Our freezers are housed in an old style charcoal water evaporator cooler room, and the cool air is ducted via the compressor’s fan to make them more efficient. We also have the latest A+ rated freezers. They consume only 25% of the old ones!!
- Although its now a 24 hour system, YOU can only run a small CAMPING fridge from our limited supply to your tree house or camp site – no microwaves, electric kettles, hot plates, heaters, air cons,old type incandescent globes etc etc, SORRY but this is the bush and those items belong at home!! -Well the old style light bulbs don’t belong anywhere except in the trash nowadays….
- CFL (Florescent globes) which use 25% of normal globes have NOT turned out to be as good as promised, and DONT last as well as expected – and have significant mercury and other pollutants in them and are therefore difficult to dispose of. There are also serious concerns that they could be a cause of cancer?? We don’t recommend them ….
- LED lighting has come of age – the NEW generation of LED (light Emitting Diode) lights use 10% of the energy of the old type incandescent globes while giving the same amount of light, and lasts 50,000 hours! Ngepi is changing our system and this includes EVERY SINGLE globe. In fact we are converting the whole lighting system to 12v DC power as the savings to us and the planet are even better! You should do this at home as well – especially considering the security aspect when your power goes off, so you will now have 24/7 lights and never know the difference. Ask management for advice on contacts for this installation.
Solar Hot water
- We have vacuum tube solar geysers that are supplemented by electric or wood fires on the very rare occasion when the weather is OVERCAST. They work great and we have over 5000 liters of HOT water at any one time!! You should be doing this at home as well as it saves up to 50% on your electricity bill – DO IT NOW!!
- No trees are cut within Ngepi’s perimeter – not even twigs or grass are burnt – they are left for bacteria/nature to decompose right where they fall, so that there are more insects which attracts more birds – a biome in balance!
- We are involved with the community in a tree planting festival, where we plant trees outside in the forests. Agriculture supply the saplings when they have available, but they recently sent us non-indigenous JACARANDAS and so we have started a indigenous nursery to supply the forests that need replanting using the youth group to do it. Last year alone Margie and her team propagated 4000 indigenous trees and gave them away to anyone who promised to look after them, and planted the rest in every location that looked lonely. They are on a roll and this area will soon be a lush forest sequestrating a large part of the worlds pollution….>>
- we have also started a system where we pay N$10-00 per month per tree to contracted community members, for trees that they plant at home and water and protect from goats etc!! A big hit which is bringing money and employment to otherwise unemployed people, while doing a BIG favour to our planet.
Village tour policy
Our Bushman & Hambukushu policy on tipping when visiting villages with guests
We strongly disapprove of tipping for this activity, and suggest that a better way is to clarify to the patrons that we as Ngepi, pay a monthly amount to the Headman, for ‘out of the ordinary’ expenses that any villager may encounter. The village Elders monitor and control this money and it is not refundable to us.
Also, we have suggested to the Villagers that if they wanted to benefit from this activity directly, that they should start making curios that the tourist could buy from them – therefore promoting the ‘what you put in – you get out’, concept. After all, we are bringing the customers to them!
It is also suggested the tourist who wish to contribute something due to their experience in this wonderful environment, can donate – on a stop order basis – a monthly amount that will be deducted from their bank acc’s and will go to Conservation International, or another worthy environmental group, and be spent as they see fit. They will also get an email (probably bi-monthly) that will keep them up to date as to what their money is being spent on GLOBALY.
In this way everyone benefits
NGEPI FIREWOOD POLICY SUPPIERS AGREEMENT 5th July 2005
- It is agreed that all suppliers will collect wood from more than 3 km away from Ngepi camp. No trees that are closer will be cut and supplied to Ngepi.
- No living trees will be killed or cut to supply to Ngepi later when it has dried. Only trees that have died naturally from old age will be cut up and sold to Ngepi.
- A list of suppliers will be drawn up and they will each supply in their turn. John Katanga will be the contact person who the Management of Ngepi notify when we need more wood. The suppliers should wait until called before bringing wood.
- Size of bundle will be the same as the sample tied to the notice board.
- No soft wood will be supplied. Hard wood will be paid for @N$10-00 per bundle. (Ngepi makes no profit from this at all)
- The supply of wood along the road will be stopped and all suppliers will only supply to Ngepi direct.
SO PLEASE DONT BUY ANY FIREWOOD ALONG THE ROAD IN OUR AREA AS IT IS MOST LIKELY CUT FROM THE RIVERINE FORESTS THAT ARE UNDER THREAT ALREADY!!!