August was the month of the first on-site PDC in a new form. According to one of Permaculture Principles, we decided to start small, so we had 3 students : Maya from Slovakia and Alessandro and Matteo from Italy. Our diplomate student – Maja used this opportunity to train in a true Action-Learning way for an Apprentice Teacher, so she took on the organization of practical work on the farm and facilitation of discussions during the classes, to practice and experiment with her facilitation skills.
Here you can read about their experiences:
Maja (the Apprentice Teacher)
The whole course was quite challenging for me. I felt from the beginning that I’m totally unprepared and unfit to organize a course like that.
As it started though, I discovered that it is not so hard and I am quite capable. What I needed was to stop trying to solve in my head potential problems, but stay focused on the present time and just do
things. I also managed to project my own self-confidence in the times that called for it. Something with which I surprised myself.
I think I did particularly well with organizing the practical work. This is the field in which I feel much more confident, and we did a lot of useful work on the farm. I am very happy with the amount of trees we composted and mulched and the construction of the wall that was waiting to be done for a long time.
Facilitating the discussions was more difficult for me. I really enjoyed watching all of our classes again and answering the questions, but had problems with encouraging engagement from the rest of the students. Also, I was too doubtful to guard the dynamics of the group in terms of evenly distributed time of speaking for example. This is something I still need to work on, but I believe it just takes practice. I realised that our course is even more different than what people are used to, because it is focused on action-learning and requires pro-activity from students to be maximally beneficial. I was taking it for granted.
I realised the importance of silly games that I met with on different courses and conferences that have a purpose of making people laugh and move. I always felt very silly and uncomfortable with them but now I think that I will have to learn some of them to move people’s energy before and during classes.
There is still a lot for me to learn in terms of facilitating groups and being on a position of a leader, but I am happy with the work I did and how I managed stretching my comfort zone for a whole month!
Maya (the student)
I came here looking for the change of environment from lonely and low-energy city life, I wanted to spend my time in nature. I wanted to meet people with mindsets different to what I’m used to, to have meaningful conversations and more than anything – to start doing something meaningful with my life.
Here, I put first step on that way. I managed to do all of the things I wanted and more!
I really enjoyed working on the farm and the classes were very interesting, plenty of information! I came here knowing nothing about permaculture and now I have a general idea what is about and a lot of particular information that open up a way to more research.
I also learned a lot about myself during our everyday life in here, the work and studying.
This period was difficult for me to stay in a little community. I wanted to stay alone, but I wanted more to overcome my limitations, so I challenged myself and it went well. I managed to stay present and was getting more organized day by day. The contact with nature was very helpful.
I liked working physically every morning, I can see how it helps my body and general health, even though sometimes I had pains from working more than I’m used to.
The content of the clases was very interesting! I had some contact with permaculture in Italy, but it was very fragmented, this course helped me a lot in putting it all together. I can see now how many possibilities there are to do something with the land, with the system. I can create my own system.
I am working on my design portfolio now, which is going well.
I really like this place. The nature is amazing and I met a lot of great people around. I was already studying permaculture, but this course let me to look at it from more integral perspective, which is interesting. It has a lot of information and there is still a lot of studying I want to do on some of the topics that interest me.
I enjoyed working on the farm, taking care of the animals and forest gardens.
We also had a guest teacher – Tone – that is a graduate of our Permaculture Design Course from many years and a neighbor on the island. She came to share with the students her expertise on vegetable garden care.
We are very happy to have been able to offer an interesting, unique and enriching experience to 4 people.
We have learned a lot from this experience about organizing this kind of course, thanks to our brave pioneers!
Next course will take place in November 2018, you can see more information about it in this leaflet : http://bit.ly/iPDC-8thLife
As a farewell a bit of cuteness. A new member of our family – Muffy – was delighted to have an attention of more people. She was following us around and helping wherever she could. For example – while planting trees :