We just don’t rebuild homes, we rebuild lives!

DevendraA blog by Devendra Babu Tiwari – Founder/owner @Mango Tree, permaculturist, canyon guide and a natural builder 

Well, it turns out that it is possible to build Earthquake resistant building using Earthbag Technology in Nepal. You do not need fancy tools or expensive building material. But, be aware, it is not all that easy building with this particular method which requires Continue Reading →

Mad as a March Hare

Mango Tree Resort on panorama , lamjung,nepal

Mad as a March hare –  A blog by Devendra Babu – founder/owner  (Mango Tree Eco Resort, Lamjung 30th March 2015 )

 Firing the adobe oven, nepal, mango tree resort(The name March is derived from the Roman Martius named after Mars, the Roman  god of war. In ancient Rome, March 1st marked the first day of spring, which  coincided with the beginning of the calendar year and the start of the military  campaign season—which may explain why soldiers “march into battle.” The Roman ruler, Numa Pompilius, added January and February to the calendar thus making March the third month of the year. While many have adopted the Gregorian calendar, some cultures and religions still celebrate the start of the  New Year on March 1st. Hares mate during the month of March and a female hare may be seen “boxing” (striking another hare with her paws) off a male to prevent an act of procreation – hence “Mad as a March hare”—a phrase that appeared for the first time in Sir Thomas More’s “The supplycacyon of soulys,” published in 1529 – script taken from http://blog.dictionary.com/march)   
 Mango Tree Resort on panorama , lamjung,nepal
 Each day, Mango Tree gets tens of thousands of small tiny visitors! The green leafs are back, bees, flies and bugs are in plentiful supply. There is all around greenery now. Looks like the nature is on full bloom! The eagles  show off their playful side, catching thermals. As they soar up high in the sky, the Chebe’s (nepali black bird)  likes to chase them up  for a playful flight! I think they are like cats and dogs of our sky. Cool air is blowing, people crossing the bridge over the Marshyangadi river and waters reflecting everything above and around…one can easily spend time gawking all day long, i love Spring! It’s so easy to loose track of time – sitting under the tree watching the world ! I leave a very stressful life :-)

 

me & tabea

Well, it’s been a great month! Firstly, the arrival of Tabea from Switzerland as a  volunteer/wwofer,  was  god send. she  arrives as we were in the  middle of developing  plans to  make  Baraha Pokhari in Lamjung a  conservation area and were busy writing  project  plans.When we told her about Baraha  Pokhari Community Eco Trail and  showed the project  proposal, she smiles mysteriously and tells us that  this is exactly the  sort of thing she has been  studying all her life. She is M.Sc in Environment Science –  specializing in forest and landscape  management, how cool is that! She also brought  some cool gifts from  my ex intern, brother from another mother  – Adrian Ruby- thanks  man!

 Since then, I have also set up a group page on Facebook, where we invite people to the. The group hopes to find the support in various capacity to make Baraha Pokhari Area – a place of outstanding natural beauty! We are creating a grass root movement. We call upon all the friends of Braha Pokahari to come together to realize the potential and support the Baraha Pokhari conservation. We are hopeful that the conservation will attract  eco tourism in this area. The ultimate goal of our initiative is to provide sustainable income generating opportunities for the rural communities that live along the trail!

Also it was my pure luck that my very good friends from Nepal and Denmark were also planning a visit to Mango Tree! They arrived just in time for the Spring Season in Nepal. Together, we managed to also map out part of the trail on an App and came up with Mango Tree Roti Circuit which is an excellent day hike for our guest and people visiting the area who are short on time. Thanks Vibeak Dai.

Since i get a lot of request from volunteers for stay with the local family  in our villages so that they can learn hands on – our way of organic farming and simple living.  I managed to document some of the willing families for the pilot phase! At the same time, I am working to make  a web platform – to connect our community who are involved with organic farming. I thought it would be an excellent idea to first document their properties which i can put up on a website. I took photos as we walked  the trail! The phrase – kill two birds with one stone sounds about right! 
 
Chiti VDC,Lamjung,Nepal
 
For last couple of months, i was also in talks with couple of young girls from Kathmandu city who were interested to bring their friends from college, currently studying Environment Science together, for a permaculture workshop at Mango Tree and tour of Chiti VDC. I jumped at the opportunity and prospect of meeting like minded people and share what i know. I ran the workshop with 7 really talented youngsters. Tabea, also helped me to run the course and shared her knowledge on plants,trees and sowing seeds. The whole workshop theme was based on outdoor experimental learning. We played games, spend the nights under the stars in a tent,we made pizzas, we sang, we danced.  We all had a great time! You all Rock!
 
group photo hiking
 

We also gave them a little insight into our adventure side – Canyoning. On the last day, we showed them how one can climb up and down on a rope with just few carbiners, descender and nifty T Block for ascending! When they said they had the most amazing time ever – it made our day and made every thing worth while!

Canyoning Training

We are taking it easy now! We have lot more to do!  Yokel, my brother from another mother,  helped me through the workshop. I could not have done it with out him.  Now, Yokel and Tabea, our Swiss volunteer/bahini and a friend, are gearing up for Annapurna Circuit. Yesterday, they got the permit from Besisahar from the Annapurna Area Conservation Project (ACAP) check post. They were suppose to leave today but got held back due to bad weather. Hopefully it will clear tomorrow and they can make their way to do the Annapurna Circuit! Wish you guys all the best and see you back in 2 weeks or so!

All in all it’s been an awesome March. Thank you everyone for making this the best March ever for me!

One Love!

Our volunteering experience with Mango Tree Resort, Nepal

Looking for a chance to see a different side of Nepal, venture off the beaten track and get your hands dirty? If so Mango Tree Resort may be the place for you.
mango tree resortMango Tree is classified by its owner/founder Devendra as an ‘perma-adventure resort’,  from here you can organise  trekking to Annapurna Circuit, Manang, Canyoning in  Marshyangadi Valley, Rafting/Kayaking and just so much more. From the grounds of  Mango Tree, you can hike to  remote villages up top with experienced local guides or take  a fully supported camping trek to a place called Baraha Pokhari (Lake) at an  altitude of  more than 3100m starting which requires no permit and the  views are absolutely breath  taking – from the photos that i have seen from their past visits.  There’s more to Mango  Tree than adventure sports – you can also learn about  sustainable growing on a  residential permaculture course, do some yoga and meditation  or just relax and enjoy  the beautiful surroundings.

With its quiet hillside location and beautiful mountain views, Mango Tree is a great place to forget all your worries and unwind. I found out about the place online and noticed that they were asking for volunteers to help with the farm/eco resort and generallymango tree resort look after the place. My husband James and I thought Mango Tree sounded like a great place to stop off for a while during our travels around Asia.

After a long and sweaty bus journey from Kathmandu, James and I arrived at Chipleti Dalal, near Besisahar in the Lamjung region of Nepal. We were greeted by Lonneke, a Dutch girl who had been helping as a volunteer at Mango Tree for the last three months. She was very cheerful and welcoming, despite having waited at the bus stop for over an hour thanks to the delayed bus! The three of us headed over the 200 metre-long suspension bridge and up the hill to Mango Tree. There we met Devendra, the resort’s friendly and laid-back owner. Using his experience as a builder he devised and built the place from scratch- with the help of some friends of course. And there are plenty of those- people from the local village are always dropping in for a chat, to ask for advice or to bend his ear about something or other.

Devendra gave us the grand Mango Tree tour- it’s a fairly small area but there’s a lot squeezed into it. There’s a lawn with some cosy tents and traditional thatched huts to sleep in, various vegetable patches, some banana trees, a fish pond and a sunny terrace with a great view of the nearby lake. We also met Hunter the tiny cat and Laurie, the friendly and excitable dog. We settled into our tent and had a pleasant evening getting to know everyone and making ourselves at home, and talking about what we’d be doing during our ten days of volunteering at Mango Tree.

4 A typical day at Mango Tree began with an early start and a cup of tea to get us going, whilst we  contemplated what we want to achieve that day. After all, part of the permaculture philosophy is ‘to  undertake careful and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour’ (in the  words of the movement’s founder Bill Mollinson), which suits us just fine. Then we’ll get stuck in with  watering the vegetable patch, pulling up weeds, turning the compost heap or maybe something creative  like baking bread in the clay oven or painting a mural on the wall.baking-adobe oven-nepal

 

The reason for that early start is that by 11am in the summer it’s getting too hot for any kind of exertion, mental or physical! So we have some dal bhat provided by resident cook Tika, and then relax under the eponymous mango tree or in the cool roundhouse. Once the heat of the day has died down, we’ll finish off the morning’s activities and maybe fire up the clay oven to cook a pizza for dinner.

wwoofing in nepal During our stay we  had the  chance to find out a bit more  about permaculture and the  Nepali way of life; Devendra took  us out for walks to see the local  swimming area and to meet some of the villagers. Of course Devendra had some t  tasks for us to do, like building a new compost heap and building a storage area for  glass bottles (there’s no recycling collections in here!), but he also encouraged us  to be creative and think for ourselves about how best to use our time. So we  upcycled some plastic bottles to make a funky herb planter, and painted a big  mural on the wall of a Himalayan mountain scene. We also got creative in the  kitchen, with mixed results- turns out it’s quite tricky to bake flapjacks in a pizza oven, and without any oats!

Though our time at Mango Tree was quite short, we learned a lot and had the chance to meet some lovely people at the same time. It’s such a chilled-out and friendly place, you could easily slip into a relaxed routine and find that you’ve spent a month there before you know it! Soon we’d be heading off to Tibet so we sadly waved goodbye to Mango Tree and our new friends, feeling inspired to create our own permaculture project, or at least a vegetable patch, once we get back to the UK.

James & Emma Robinsons,UK