Owner-builder journey: living the simple life living alongside wildlife

Laurie first wrote for us back in 2014 about her journey as an owner-builder and the challenges of building with mud on the edge of Hwange National park, Zimbabwe. She recently posted an update and we knew our readers would want to see what she’s been up to… Their family home is complete and their gardens are thriving as they continue to live a simple life alongside wildlife. 
It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to post anything and people have been asking how the house is, our life here, and so here is a photographic update.
The house is a dream come true, to wake up every day in these hand moulded walls feels sublime. The metal termite barrier works and checks are regularly done around the stone stem wall to check for tunnels to knock down.

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 These beautiful photographs capture more of what we see and feel in our home, thanks to Brent for these.

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We still share our home with many creatures who are welcome, such as this wasp nest.  The wasps pollinate fruit trees and eat caterpillars so are more than welcome to take some plaster and make their nests.

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Nyimo (after our favorite indigenous legume) is a new addition to our home full of life, he goes into everything he does with 100% energy, inspiring.

Our work as the Soft Foot Alliance is going really well, with many initiatives taking off in the less than 2 years we have been operating. The Soft Foot Alliance is dedicated to improving the lives and landscapes of people living on the boundary of Hwange National Park and at the same time achieving a sustainable co-existence with wildlife.
The Soft Foot Alliance serves to design and implement long-term sustainable solutions that promote human-wildlife co-existence.  Lion, Hyena, Elephant, Baboon and Honey Badger are the main focal species as they impact people’s livelihoods on the park’s boundaries. By designing actions that firstly improve the lives and the livelihoods of the people living with these animals and, secondly promote the conservation of the animal, we hope to achieve co-existence between the two.

We have 2 hives and love love love the bees! We have been learning about bee keeping as one of our conflict mitigation initiatives is to test out fences made of bee hives throughout the community to stop elephants raiding crops. This has had great results in Kenya and is a win-win-win: protecting pollinators, increasing crops, protecting people and elephants, and generating income from the sale of honey and wax products.

We have 2 hives and love love love the bees! We have been learning about bee keeping as one of our conflict mitigation initiatives is to test out fences made of bee hives throughout the community to stop elephants raiding crops. This has had great results in Kenya and is a win win win, protecting pollinators, increasing crops, protecting people and elephants, and generating income from the sale of honey and wax products.

This rocket stove is almost 3 years old, we use it every day and it makes our lives so much easier, using just tiny sticks.  More than 100 women have been trained by us to make these stoves and many have gone away to make more to sell.

This rocket stove is almost 3 years old. We use it every day and it makes our lives so much easier, using just tiny sticks. More than 100 women have been trained by us to make these stoves and many have gone away to make more to sell.

Our new years resolution is to go plastic free by the end of the year, this takes time to plan but creating a plastic free system doesn’t have to be so hard. This is a hand cranked oil press and flour mill. Baking bread once or twice a week, using cloth bags to buy any produce anywhere, growing our own natural sponges are just some of the ways we are using to eliminate plastic from our lives and the environment.

Our new years resolution is to go plastic free by the end of the year. This takes time to plan but creating a plastic free system doesn't have to be so hard. This is a hand cranked oil press and flour mill. Baking bread once or twice a week, using cloth bags to buy any produce anywhere, growing our own natural sponges are just some of the ways we are trying to eliminate plastic from our lives and the environment.

 

 

This post was first posted on Laurie’s blog Dance like an elephant, and is reposted here with her permission.

https://www.naturalbuildingcollective.com

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