Catalyst House

Cal-Earth Apprentices Arrive in Kolhapur India

Whitey at Cal-Earth

Excerpt from Whitey Flagg’s ShelterSpace blog

In September I returned to Southern California to begin my long-term apprenticeship at Cal-Earth.

– See also: Amazing SuperAdobe

I learned Super-adobe and many different types of foundations, flooring, plastering, waterproofing, and much more. I have been studying Permaculture for some time but was also able to participate in a PDC course and finally receive my certificate. As a bonus, this course ended with an unexpected visit from Geoff and Nadia Lawton who gave a one day lecture on “Greening the Mojave Desert”.

While I was teaching a workshop on how to build an emergency sandbag shelter, we received a visit from Lynnea Bylund of Catalyst House, a strategic alliance  consultancy, and her guest, Tushar Gandhi, great grandson of the Mahatma. Lynnea and Tushar sit on the Board of Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, a benefactor of the AVANI Organization, which provides child labor rescue and women’s advocacy in India. Together, the two organizations are building a residence for children and an educational facility near the town of Kolhapur.

Lynnea became interested in Cal-Earth last year and subsequently convinced the Gandhi organization to build all of the AVANI housing using these techniques. One of the other apprentices, Xavier, and myself, offered to come to India to volunteer for the project. We did not hear back and expected that we were not going but then received an email in early December from lynnea asking if we could come by 3 January!

So, here I am in Kolhapur. I was invited to attend a great celebration at AVANI last night. It was a birthday party for all 38 of the children who live here. They all celebrate their birthday together because 90% of them do not know when they were born. This date was chosen because it is the birth date of Savitribai Jyotirao Phule, who is a respected women’s rights activist from the 19th century.

The attached photos were mostly taken by the children. I taught them how to use my camera and nearly did not get it back with the constant yelling from all of them “Me! Me! One more! One more!”

>> Read more and see the children’s pictures at ShelterSpace

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