Thursday, 28 January 2010

Minutes of the 12th Meeting on Jan 24, 2010

Excursion to Manuksesa on Sunday, 24th January 2010. Beate offered to host the meeting at Villa Manuk in the home village of her husband. Elena arrived already on Saturday at our construction site and we spent some time indulging in her plans going back to Greece and doing permaculture design work at the Tao's Center on the island of Paros. On Sunday morning we all, which means Elena, Burgel, Beate and Nana, Burkhard and me, met at Warung Bambu to drive together to Manuksesa. As it is Rambutan season now we stopped when we saw a man standing by the road with a basket full of the juicy hairy fruits. With a big smile he just gave us a big bundle of fruits as a present.
In the village Beate first showed us the current situation with the grey water from the houses along the village road. From each house a 1.5" or 2" pipe comes out of the foundation wall and goes at right angle down to the gutter along the road. As the road is not very steep and the people don't seem to use much water (maybe there is no running water in the houses), the dirty water is dripping out of the pipe into the open gutter leaving smells and solids there while seeping away. The houses seem to have toilets with septic tanks. All the same some older people still have the habit to shit into the little river which runs through the village. Beate received a generous donation for her Children Project. So the idea is to use that money to improve the waste water situation in the village. A few ideas came up:
  • collect the greywater in a pipe system which leads to a common waste water garden in the village
  • build a waste water garden for each household
  • build a common bath house with waste water garden
The project now needs to be defined more clearly like identifying the needs of the people, identifying all resources, choosing a site, doing a functional analysis of a bath house etc.
Nana led us to the house where he was born and his family still lives. In one room the organic rice which was harvested the traditional way a few month ago was stored in a big heap, the rice corns still on the stalk.
Then we toured Villa Bambu and the garden where our eyes were caught by some monster papayas and a spinach with a stem like a tree. The vetiver grass in the waste water garden is thriving and the Sawo trees are hanging full of fruits. The pool is surrounded with various flowers which attract a variety of butterflies. Beate did a great job furnishing and decorating the rooms.
After a yummy nasih goreng from the organic rice we enjoyed a swim in the refreshing water of the pool.
Beate told us the feedbacks she received for the waste management concept which we discussed during the last 2 meetings and Elena volunteered to do the final editing before it is handed over to Ibu Ambari from the Governor's Office.
Our next subject was health. Who knows a good docter? Which hospitals are recommendable? What to do in case of an accident? Where to get a good treatment or therapy?
Burkhard informed about an initiative to form a fund which guarantees the payment for a helicopter flight in case of emergency. Often here in the north of Bali the problem is how to get somebody who is seriously injured from the accident site to a good hospital or the airport in order to be flown out to a good hospital. Burkhard will research the actual state and conditions of the fund.
Before we left Villa Manuk Beate showed us the simple but very effective grease trap made from 3 plastic buckets connected by pipes. The buckets are close to the compost place. So it is very convenient to clean the buckets often and throw the grease to the compost heap. Hidden in the lids of the buckets and some half cutted bamboo stems we found some standing water with moskito breeding places. So, don't forget to check for any standing water around your house to avoid Dengue Fever.
More informative articles about health issues you can find on the website of Bali4kids.

And last but not least some news and hints from our guru:
Wish I could come this Sunday, but we've haven't got a tutor for this school term, starting next Monday, so I'm it. This means I have to start preparing to teach, so I won't be able to join you... For the wastewater system, just remember the Principles that guide your design.
  • For septic tanks and treatment gardens, bigger is better! The longer the wastes are in the system, the more time there is for treatment. Longer time in the system is better.
  • Watch the slope in piping, always. The absolute minimum is 3%, but 5% is better. Avoid 90' L's in WC piping to the septic tank. Use 45' L's.
  • Make sure you prevent any solids from getting into the perforated garden piping.You may need something like a grease-trap, to catch solids like hair, soap, plastic etc...
  • Put a P Trap between the Mandi/Wastafal (all grey water) and the septic tank. DO NOT RELY ON THOSE CHEAP, FLOOR-DRAIN FITTINGS TO STOP SMELLS COMING BACK INTO THE MANDI, FROM THE SEPTIC TANK! Buy P Traps, with a screw-cap on the bottom, so you can drain off any solids that accumulate there.
  • Short breather pipes mean smells and mosquitoes! Breather pipes should go above the eaves of your roof, if possible.
Do please email me, if you need some help, or confirmation, for your design. (Don't forget the Sikaflex..! :)
Same for the waste management program. Stay with the basic Principles, and feel free to email, if I can help. And, at the risk of repeating the same thing too often... The Key is... a Collection Service, which does not (usually) pick up organic wastes. Transporting garbage is expensive. If possible, work with Pemulung, let them collect the recyclables. If you can, build a TPS, and give someone a job managing it.
I seriously can't wait to swim in B & N's natural pool. Enjoy, you guys!

NORM'S CURRENT WORK: I'm currently doing a tree-planting project in the protected forest above our place. We are planting 4,000 fruiting, native trees on 5 hectares, that was cleared illegally, back in the 70's. Locals have made money supplying the bibit, and doing the work. More and more large corporations are willing to sponsor this kind of project. This one is being paid for, by Standard Chartered Bank. We've just erected an information sign (attached) on the road to the rainforest. Including the structure, and the sign itself, the whole project cost Rp4.5mil. We have Indonesian in big letters and English in small letters. In other words, the sign is primarily for locals, not tourists. The sign was sponsored by one of our guests. I've attached pics of the sign and a (water cycle) drawing we used. I have all the graphics in pdf and jpeg formats. You're welcome to use them. Just email me and I'll send them to you. We feel information signs, including rules and regulations, are one more part of what's needed, to protect our natural areas.

I'm currently building, and doing a PC design, for a lovely new family, who are moving from Australia to Bali. They've contracted 1.5h, not far downhill from our Lodge. They're building a very similar place to ours, which in this case, they'll call an 'Eco-Stay' I invite you guys, to come and look at this project sometime. They have a lovely clean stream to swim in, and we're hoping to install a micro-hydro electric system (they have a 12m waterfall) to power the whole property.
For those of you with diesel gen-sets, Chakra is reporting 25% fuel savings with his latest hydrogen set-up. He's busy and hard to get hold of, so it's best to go to him, in Ubud. He also does very simple, biogas digestors, and he teaches SRI (organic) rice farming.

LINDA, Is currently setting up a TK at our local Banjar, and she recently joined a PKK meeting to bring reliable information, about typhus and rabies, to local women. She also put a range of nice vegetable seeds in small packs, and sold them to the ladies. In our village, 1 year ago, Linda started sponsoring a new Silat class, which has been a big hit, especially with the girls. She is about to try soap nuts, to replace expensive, liquid soaps (thanks Silv'), and she continues to manage the Eco Lodge, brilliantly.
It's the wet season, so, If you're getting rains, especially in that tough, North-coast climate, this is definitely the best time for you to be planting your fruit trees!

DISASTER STUFF: There's lots of disaster talk around nowadays. For what it's worth, in my opinion, the most likely threat you face (apart from the obvious threat of earthquakes) on the North coast, is Storm Surge, possibly, combined with storm-water flooding. It's a temporary raising of sea-levels, caused by weather, it can reach heights of several metres, and more if combined with heavy rains. You'll get the picture from Google or Wikapedia... Those of you on the coast, might consider raising important infrastructure up, a couple of metres off the ground - for example, gen-sets & water tanks.
Elena has been doing wonderful things for us, up here in the mountains, but she's looking forward to catching up with all of you. She could probably use a bit of sun too!
Take care everybody, Norm

As date for the next meeting Wednesday, 17th of February 2010, is scheduled. Please let Beate know about sites to visit or subjects to be covered in the meeting. Wishing you all a good time SAMPAI JUMPA LAGI!