Living Sustainably… It’s possible!

Location: Bulungula Lodge in the village of Nqineli (nothing else but rondavels-round homes with thatched roofs), hills, ocean and the beautiful Xhosa people)

Check out the sustainable lodges website: http://www.bulungula.com and their NGO- http://www.bulungulaincubator.org

I ended up staying at Coffee Shack in Coffee Bay ( http://www.coffeeshack.co.za ) for another week after venturing into the town/city of Mtatha, an hr away for basics. I wasn’t fond of the party scene but I loved the area. Nothingness within the wide vastness of rolling hills, ocean, rondavels and a few basics- a general store, silk screening shop( afritude, bring your own shirt if you want to pick the different stencils), pizza place within someone’s home-  maginificent ocean view, 2 backpackers and a few hotels. Quaint and peaceful. I also wanted to give surfing a go a few more times. I wasn’t successful at standing. 4x later. Oh well. I figure I’ll grasp it when I least expect it!

Then the rain set in. So I had to stay. The roads to get to my next destination would be slippery and icky. Rainy days on mud roads are not days to be in transit.  A bunch of people were bummed and annoyed for the rain but I didn’t mind. This is the benefit of leisurely traveling with time on my side.What’s another day or week in the grand scheme of things? The day I was all packed to leave, the rain came tumbling down off and on and especially heavy at the time I had to cross the river ( i was hoping it would be low tide, carrying all my stuff) and walk 10minutes to the minibus stand. So I stayed. A sign from the earth I wasn’t suppose to go. It also helped that a cool american guy would be there for another night as well. I enjoyed good conversation and sharing travel stories. It had been along while since meeting others could relate to. Guess, that’s what happens when the backpackers can be a party place and people are on a different travel wave length!

The next day the sky cleared and while I set out again to leave I  chilled in reception and the owner said she’d give me a ride to the shuttle pickup so I wouldn’t have to bother with the river crossing and minibus. I was relieved! Then no less than 10 minutes later,  a Dutch couple popped in just to get a map to get to Bulungula lodge (on dirt roads within the rolling hills in the middle of the nowhere). Where I was headed. Luck or magic was on my side. I had been trying to hitch a ride for only a week…

Bulungula lodge is a sustainable endeavor using solar and wind energy, compost toilets and rocket showers.

Compost toilets- pee in the front of the toilet- one jug of water is added each morning for cleaning, poop in the back of the toilet and add two cupfuls of dirt when you’re finished with your business along with the toilet paper you use. No water involved with the pooping. Bugs and worms decompose all the poop. How much water is involved every time we flush that darn toilet???

Rocket showers: The base of a shower looks like a rocket stand- there’s a open section in the pipe where your pour about half a cup of parraffin, fold up a bit of toilet paper, and light. WIthin a minute you have very hot water and regulate it via the cold tap.No electricity involved nor are we heating up a huge geyser of water and only using a small portion of all the heated water. What a waste of energy. I’m learning on the go. It  makes me think twice about how much we consume and most of us don’t know the basics of how much energy is used to heat up our showers or is washers, how much water is used to flush the toilet etc. now that I know how things operate  It’s suppose to last 7 minutes but I only manage to get 4 or so. Then cold. but that’s not so important.

So where does the gray water (from the showers and sinks) and urine go? Via the banana cycle. All the water is piped to a little area of banana trees. The banana trees soak up the gray water and ta da- you have bananas. yummy. Symbiosis. Living with the earth rather than taking and consuming her resources.

Fridge and freezer are fun off of gas. So we could still have nice cold drinks or yummy things like cheese.

compost all the yummy remnants of veggies and fruit and other organic items, like tea bags and egg shells. Then use it for their garden and a few of their little crops.

Living sustainably is quite possible. It may take some work in setting it up and expense at first but knowing your living in harmony with the earth just makes sense. It’s proven that if the West keeps consuming the way we are… the earth isn’t going to withstand it much longer and will ultimately see the negative effects- we’ve all heard of global warming, right? Deny it if you will, but it’s happening.

Ironically, the people who aren’t consuming  much of the resources are likely to be hugely affected and won’t have much of a voice… but this is another entry…

oh- how am I blogging now? I’m borrowing a young gal’scomputer using solar and wind energy to charge the computer. They have satellite here so they have an internet connection.

We’re in the heart of nowhere- rural area with Mthata a 2 hrs drive but there’s everything you need.

Cheers,

Lauren

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5 thoughts on “Living Sustainably… It’s possible!

  1. the partying scene isn’t me and it’s been challenging only in a few places such as coffee bay. I loved the area and but didn’t fit in at night. Luckily, I’ve been finding cool backpackers that are more chill so I can escape the holiday backpackers rather than one’s really interested in seeing the country there visiting.

    Sometimes it feels old… I don’t always like having to be in a new place, new people, new hostel etc. every 4-8 days… it always feels like an adjustment but the life of a traveler, right?

    Staying at the sustainable lodge was my highlight so far. This type of place attracts a specific type of people… more my type of people.

    Couch surfing is also great when it’s possible. Capetown has quite a few CS’ërs so I’m looking forward to it all working out!”

    Most of eastern africa doesn’t have hostels it’s more guest houses and less travelers- maybe not right season or less people are willing to travel there unless on an overland truck?

  2. How are you handling the partying hostelers? That is what has sort of driven me away from backpacking – I can’t stand the hostel scene anymore! Aren’t you sick of it after so many months?

    By the way, you still haven’t reached my estimate for when you’ll be coming home, but it’s getting closer.

  3. I am also amazed at how much one can do with so little resource. Thanks for sharing all of this info.

    I would love to have been there. I am finishing up my corporate break (2 weeks) and heading back home on 1st of May.

    Cheers and safe travels.
    Guri

  4. Wow, fascinating stuff about the poop. From your blogs I can see that you are learning so much, probably more than you even realize. You’re certainly to come back home with an entirely new perspective on life and the world as a whole. I can’t wait, although I’ve learned to be quite patient, to meet the new you.

    You go girl!

    I love you,
    Mom

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