So the tree house idea was born and I took the opportunity to express all the ‘stuff’ that had been going on in my head for so long. See the post where the old man tells me to go to hell… Dear Mr Westerner
Ok so the whole Ngepi experience revolves around the environment and we see ourselves as ‘welcome guests’ because we only do things symbiotically with the environment that either reinstate the environment or live with it in harmony – and this fully includes the community, who we have seen demonstrate that they are fully in sinc with the environment and we now understand that if we change them to our western system that that is the beginning of the end as far as everything is concerned – especially the environment.
With this knowledge and the great feeling and value all this had brought to my life, I started by ‘talking to the individual trees’….I asked permission to build a symbiotic house in which the tree would play a special part ….. “to embrace people into nature so that we could learn to live in harmony”.
I then went ahead and ‘felt’ the best way each house could fit in with the tree, so that each could compliment the other. The other requirements were that you had to be able to see the sun rise between your toes and that you felt a real part of all this nature…. and then the view ….. AHHHH!!!!!
In the design no tree is harmed or touched by the building – the house is only a part of the tree, but is free standing. All water and waste is redirected to the tree so that it gets the benefit of the fertiliser and water. I tried to place the house on the eastern side of the tree so that the hut got the benefit of the afternoon shade as well as showing off the magnificence of the tree. Each tree’s shape and location ‘dictated’ how the hut was to be built and so the symbioses started.
Each person who ‘loves’ staying there contributes to that ‘aura’ and they hopefully go away with a smile that will rub off on the environment elsewhere. From the roll down reed walls to the evaporative air-conditioning system using a garden spray on the roof, to the simple décor – it all says … relax in nature.
A guest put it very well recently when she said, “it has everything you need for comfortable living …. open shower, loo en-suite … and your feet are in nature”!
We used local thatch and reeds, but imported all the poles and planking from RSA as it is commercially grown and thereby ‘saved’ our indigenous trees from a beating. All the workers are local chaps who excelled at the job with huge enthusiasm and love it all as much as we do. One of them demonstrating this with tears streaming down his face when one accidentally burnt down!!
We have used the African tin basin and pitcher to represent the African, the ‘new’ hot/cold mixer faucet and lighting to represent modern man, this mixed with this wonderful unspoiled nature …. melds the 3 realities together to form a whole…… symbiotically. Actually Ngepi’s buildings are just a facility for the view….
We produce solar hot water backed up by a well insulated electric geyser storage facility for cold or cloudy conditions – we also keep them glaringly ‘in view’ so as to promote the use thereof by the users when they get home.
We have started the Hambukushu Lodge Owners Association and all lodges in the area have agreed to a constitution in which among others we will in future only purchase Catamaran boats & use 4 stroke motors. The boats have a low wake and therefore don’t disturb Skimmer and other bird’s nests on the sand banks or other breading animals in the reeds along the river as well as not damaging the river banks. The 4 stroke motors are much more fuel efficient and quieter that the traditional 2 stroke oil burning noisy ones of the past, but cost more.
‘Keep on the grass’ is our ‘finger’ at conventionality…. (hope they wake up!!!!) So is ‘It’s the Waiters day off, so serve yourself’
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