Stories from the Kalahari Part 4: Fashion & Function

Part 1: Stories from the Kalahari
Part 2: Language
Part 3: Living Locally
Part 5: Springhare for Breakfast

On a walk through the Kalahari. We were joined by men, women elders, teens and children.

I really like the outfits the women wear in the Kalahari. Reallylike them. I asked one of the women there 3 times if she would trade clothes with me.  I wanted to bring home her leather skirt with ostrich egg shell beads. Each day I wore a different, increasingly special shirt that I brought from home or pair of pants to up the anti, showing her what I was willing to trade on the spot.

Her response every day  was translated by Neeltjie the same way, “I like the colors, but the fabric is too thin and will tear”.  My cotton shirts & pants would not hold up walking through the sharp branches and thorns of the Kalahari for very long.  After going to visit the village, one women’s outfit was given to our group to pass along to a friend of hers living where we were headed next.  I was holding it, I couldn’t resist.  I tried it on.  It fit perfectly!  It felt amazing. The heavy leather was protective yet soft. It had a unique smell that fit with the place we were, and immediately made me feel like I blended into the landscape of the Kalahari. I felt the courage of the antelope who wore the skin before, running through the desert, hoofs on sand. I imagined the taste of dry aromatic leaves it ate, I thought about the hunt, the tanning process, and the elements that went into making this time tested functional fashion. I thought about the ostrich egg being shaped into beads, the fiber used to string each one onto the skirt and the hands that created the pattern. Everything came from walking distance of this very spot I was standing in.

Jodi Levine wearing functional fashion in the Kalahari Desert.

I am determined to get a skirt like that one day even if I have to make it myself, from start to finish. The sage scrub of our local wilderness would be a perfect trial grounds for a leather skirt of this style. The skirt was two “apron-like” panels that tied around the waist. One tied in front, covering the back, the other tied in back, covering the front. The top tied around the neck and back, like a string bikini. Some of the women also wore cape-like pieces that they used to shade their upper bodies and some women carried babies on their backs with pieces of hide as well. The top had been mended several times, patched tears and extensions added to the leather ties. I wonder how many women had worn this, and for how many years?

Don’t be surprised if next time you see me, I’m wearing something like this.

Coming soon: Part 5

Permaculture Course at Fairview Gardens

Permaculture Flyer

Instructor: Toby Hemenway  Director of The Center for Pattern Literacy Learn to create sustainable living In Urban and Suburban Environment The Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens

 PERMACULTURE Urban Sustainablilty  

72 hour certification course + lectures + tours + films + guest speakers + workshops + lunches

Six Weekends Six Months  

Starts May 26 & 27, 2012 

Fairview Gardens, 598 N. Fairview Ave  Goleta, Ca 93117

www.fairviewgardens.org 1-805-967-7369 

PRESENTERS Toby Hemenway  Special Guests: Warren Brush, Larry Santoyo, Brock Dolman, John Valenzuela and Michael Becker

The Instructor Toby Hemenway:  the author of Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, which for the last seven years has been the best-selling permaculture book in the world. He has been an adjunct professor at Portland State University, Schol- ar-in-Residence at Pacific University, and is currently a field director at the Permaculture Institute (USA). Toby has presented lectures and workshops at major sustainability conferences such as Bioneers, SolFest, and EcoFarm, and at Duke University, Tufts University, University of Minnesota, University of Delaware and many other educational venues. His writing has appeared in magazines such as Whole Earth Review, Natural Home, and Kitchen Gardener. He has contributed book chapters for WorldWatch Institute and to several publications on ecological design programs.

Course Will Cover
* Plant Guilds, Polycultures and Succession Planting *Aquaculture and Micro Livestock
*Urban Animal Husbandry
*Water Use & Reuse, Swales, Ponds, Rainwater Collection *Pattern Understanding and Observation
*Climatic Factors and Climate and Microclimates
*Sustainable Building & Retrofitting Energy Conservation *Trees and their Energy Transactions
*Guilds, Polycultures, Succession
*Various Climatic Factors: Focus on the Temperate Climate *Practical Work on Design
*Permaculture Ethics, Principles
*The Business of Permaculture: creating an urban livelihood

During the course we will have site work and visit urban farms, Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) farms, Green and natural building sites and eco-homesteads.

What is Permaculture? Permaculture co-founder, Bill Mollison states: “Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful  observation rather than protracted & thoughtless action; of looking at systems in all their functions rather than asking only one yield of them & of allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions.” Derived from Permanent and Culture, as follows: Permanent: From the Latin permanens, to remain to  the end, to persist throughout (per = through, manere = to continue) – Culture: From the Latin cultura -  cultivation of land, or the intellect. Now generalized to mean all those habits, beliefs, or activities than  sustain human societies.

Permaculture is applied observation of nature and a  design process for creating sustainable living  systems on your land.  It matters not if your land happens to be a suburban home in Santa Barbara, Ca, a rural farm in the Imo State of Nigeria or the second story of a three-flat on the south side of  Chicago.

Permaculture is sustainability by design before sustainability by device.   Observing patterns in nature is  really no more than common sense.  If we apply this common sense to our post modern lives we will save time and money and be better informed on which appropriate technologies we really need.

 

8th Grader to install Rainwater Garden at School!

Earthroots is honored to be providing on campus ecological education at the Journey School in Aliso Viejo as one of their Green Partners.

OC Register Article
Aliso Viejo Patch Article
CBS 2 News Clip

8th Grade Student, Cyriene Adams inspired to design and install 

Rainwater harvesting demonstration Site
at Journey School a Public Charter Elementary School in Aliso Viejo, CA
Installation date: March 26th and 27th

Journey Parents and community Volunteers are invited to help  . . . 

Inspired by Brad Lancaster’s, (Author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond) presentation last year, one 8th Grade Journey Student, Cyriene Adams, has decided to create a rainwater harvesting installation on her elementary school campus. She’s currently receiving weekly one-on-one support with her Rainwater Harvesting project by Jodi Levine, director of Earthroots.
Cyriene measured and calculated how much rainwater falls on the school’s office that is currently being ineffectively washed down the drain. The goal of her project is to get as much water as possible absorbed into the soil to hydrate local native plants which will beautify the school entrance while offering habitat and food to local bees, butterflies, lizards and other creatures.

The installation of Cyriene’s design will be March 26 & 27 by 5th grade Journey School students, parent and community volunteers to include SOKA interns and Earthroots staff.  The group will dig a mulch basin to accommodate overflow rainwater from two roofs at the front of the school. 

“This project is changing lives and improving the environment around campus,”
 says Jodi Levine. Hundreds of people each day walk through this area of campus. It has not been effectively irrigated for years and needs more water. Instead of bringing in water from the city – one brilliant student, with support from Michelle Spieker, her 8th grade teacher Mr. Martin and Journey School administration & her mentor, Jodi Levine - Cyriene is demonstrating how we can all live in better balance with natural water flow. She is an incredible inspiration to her peers and elders alike
.

Parents and Community Volunteers welcome.  Please go to www.journeyschool.net for more information.