We often encounter initiatives that may be small in size, but make a grand difference in the world. Below are three eco-villages that are creating their value in the world and offer a beautiful and special stay for guests. To become part of their community for a shorter or longer period will definitely inspire you and leave a positive mark on your own journey. These are experiences for people who are looking for lasting memories.
Hamro Gaun Eco Village – Nepal
The Dutch foundation Veldwerk started building an eco-village in Sankhu, Nepal, in 2006. They named it Hamro Gaun, which means ‘Our village’ in Nepalese. It is now home to over 50-orphaned children and houses a school for 35 more children from poor areas. They also train women to gain their own income. More than that: Hamro Gaun is a completely self-sufficient village. They have their own water source, sewage systems, biogas, electric power by hydro, solar system and a biogas generator.
Cooking is done through a solar system and solar boilers take care of warm water for a shower. Biogas gained from waste and compost from the farm takes over that job during the rainy season when there is hardly any sun. Even computers can run on their backup installation for electricity: a hydropower system. The system works through a little river that runs through the village, covering a height difference of about 8 meters. That same river supplies water for the farm garden. During the rainy season the people of Hamro Gaun collect 100.000 liters of water in a well. There is even a filtering system to provide drinking water. Food is provided for with a fishing pond, agriculture for fruit and vegetables and even mushrooms.
As you can see, Hamro Gaun can rightfully be called a fully sustainable and independent eco-village. If you wish to participate in their project , visit an eco-village or even live in an eco-village for a while, have a look at ecovillage.org.
Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge – Ethopia
Strawberry Fields is an oasis of green sitting amongst the dusty hills of Konso, Ethiopia. It is a farm, eco-lodge, a restaurant, and organizes and several in-depth workshops, lectures, trekking trails and community-based activities.
It started with the farm that was built in 2007 and uses a form of ecological agriculture that mimics natural ecological systems from which they produce food, spices, fibers, medicine and of course a pleasant environment. Three small watersheds and a secondary gully has flourished into an oasis of greenery within two years and the trees that were planted in 2007 are now growing big.
Integrated with the system of water, fruits and vegetables are of course small animals, like rabbits and chickens. They eat up kitchen scraps and their waste is being used as nutrients for the garden. Even human waste is used, but not for the gardens. Our own compost is what makes the trees grow. Strawberry Fields uses a Permaculture design that has many stages and makes uses of cooperative and participatory techniques to gather input from as many available sources as possible.
A great part of their existence is also aimed at bringing local life together and providing opportunities. The community of Konso meets here to work together, to help, to discuss or just to relax, enjoy and discover.
PuVida – Belize
PuVida in Belize is still in the process of becoming a self-sustainable eco-village. The vision of their founders is very clear: to offer solutions for the current problems the world is facing. There is a bright future and a way to get there. PuVida wants to set in motion a movement to give the Earth some time to breathe. They want to create a way of life for the people in Belize and also clear the way for others, so that they can choose to live this way too.
At the moment they are looking to buy a piece of ground that is suitable for 250 families to live and grow food on, that has space for the village to grow and settling here would also save part of the jungle from logging. Their future inhabitants will have at least 300 different trees, crops, flowers and herbal plants at their own hectare of land. A windmill will pump water to the water tower and solar panels will provide power. 2000 coconut trees and plenty of fruit trees can provide fresh juices every day. Palm trees will be used to build the roofs of the houses to come and rocks and stones from the river are building materials as well.
PuVida is looking out for people to help them in the year to come. There is a lot of work to be done. Locals from Belize will cover most of it, but specialists are required as well. So if you are interested or know any construction specialists, permaculture specialists or someone who is just adventurous and would like to take a shot: drop them an email or message. You can also check PuVida’s Facebook page for job openings!
It is wonderful to see that more and more great initiatives are popping up and that it can be combined with traveling. It definitely inspires us to see so many devoted people working on self-sustainable projects and creating beautiful places. You can visit the eco-villages in Nepal and Ethiopia and maybe you’ll experience the ultimate local adventure by working in Belize. Let us know if you’re inspired and why, we’d love to hear from you!
Hannah is a freelance copywriter, admirer of the world, explorer, and a dreamer and writing for I Like Local. She shares her own travel experiences and delves into the travels and wonderful initiatives of others. Read more about Hannah and see her work on www.hannahellens.nl.