Gaarawé village is a self-sustainable community project located in Khao Sok area, in the south of Thailand. It’s open to all dreamers around the world willing to live, grow and flourish together in harmony with Mother Nature.
The journey so far
The project started as a dream four years ago. Its founders aimed to create the perfect natural oasis, where people could live in harmony with nature.
Along these years, and with the invaluable help of hundreds of volunteers who shared the same dream, we built Gaarawé’s basic infrastructure: its internal road, electric lines, a water system, several vegetable gardens, a full kitchen, seven bamboo huts, a common area and a chicken farm.
The journey’s been tough at times, but we’re strong and still excited to keep working in our way to self-sustainability.
We aim to establish a self-sustainable community, maximizing our production of basic goods and minimizing the external purchases. And in order to achieve this, there’s a long way to go. We still need to produce our own energy, purify our water and produce 100% of the food we eat.
On the other hand, our seven huts were meant to be temporary settlements to accommodate the village’s first inhabitants. At this point, we need to replace them with stronger houses. At the same time, we want to set up a larger kitchen, with the goal of opening a restaurant and/or offering a catering service. Another plan is to build a few specific lodging options for guests, such as a tree-house. And finally, the village also needs some new furniture, general repairs and a lot of maintenance work!
That is why we’re looking for dreamers like us who wish to experience true contact with nature while working for the common goal of sustaining this oasis.
If you think this is your call, and you’re interested in joining this dream, then your message is more than welcome!
Ethical principles of permaculture applied to Gaarawe Village
• Built Environment
Water: We have installed a tower for the water, collected by a pump, from the river and partly from the rain, more than enough to fulfill our personal and garden’s needs. In the future, we are planning to purify the water for domestic consumption.
Building materials: We use local material such as stones, bamboo, wood and natural clay.
Bioarchitecture: Still to be built, our project is a spiral residence (Fibonacci) designed by an Italian architect of considerable experience “Elena T.”
Self-construction: With the help of many volunteers, we first built the necessary infrastructures, the power line and the houses with the common area. The first housing structures were built to last two or three years and, at the moment, we are planning structures to withstand time.
• Land and nature stewardship
Seed Bank : Within other communities, we exchange seeds and the intention of the village is to become a seed bank for future generations. Also, we try to preserve the seeds from the species we cultivate in our garden .
Organic farming : in the village we have about 200 mt of already composted vegetable gardens, with a micro-drop irrigation system in some of them, and we dont use any chemicals for their cultivation.
Compost : We have already accumulated and worked on enormous quantities of compost, useful for vegetable gardens and for fruit trees.
Wild products : The land of our village is very generous and native plants satisfy certain dietary and tasteful needs.
Fruit trees : To meet the needs of the many guests, from the first year, we planted banana and papaya trees in abudance, as well as other species: Tamarindo, Mango, Stò, lime, avocado, passion fruit, and others.
Bamboo and Vetiver : These plant species are of big importance, to protect the main borders of the river and avoid the land’s erosion.
• Land tenure and community
Land Properties : The land has been purchased and is the collective property of a thai individual, who gives its name for this purpose.
• Culture and education
Research : A lot of research has been done until now, on essential oils, natural sponges, clay building, renewable energy and geological research, so we can put into practice the good work done so far.
Home school : Steiner or Montessori education, we set ourselves the goal of receiving families and, consequently, we want to organize ourselves to facilitate their home schooling and involve all the community in the education of the new generations. Currently, we are not ready yet for this, but it’s one of our goals.
Art and music: We constantly host travelers with different artistic skills: from painters and graphic designers to guitar players, or others. Thanks to this, we have many art creations around the village, as well as animated evenings under the stars.
Landscape awareness: Before starting this adventure we did geological surveys and checked the dam. In addition, we relied on a talented geologist who gave us a report to warn us about the characteristics of the land and any possibilities of erosion.
- Finances and economics
Eco-tourism and volunteering: The village is supported by a few tourists and many volunteers, who help financially with contributions, enough to cover the expenses of their stays at the village. Partners: For bigger projects, involving big expenses like building materials or others, we are supported by the village’s partners. To establish ourselves, we need new residents to participate actively in the community, as the economic opportunities that can be developed are many, but we need human resources.
- Tools and technology
Tools : The work in the garden is performed with manual tools, so that our activity is not so invasive and we can maintain the micro-life and the worms, which are essential for a good aeration of the ground.
Technology tools: We have some tools, that involve more technology but still aren’t very invasive for the nature, that are required for building or carpentry work.
Renewable energies: We had an engineer making a great report on renewable energies, suitable for the village , however we are still looking for a way to finance the project.
- Health and spiritual well-being
Yoga and meditation: At the moment, we receive volunteers, sporadically, who have knowledge on this areas and organize oriented classes for the community. In the future, we intend to dedicate a permanent area for the practices of these activities.
Other relevant references to our project : King’s Sufficiency Economy, http://thailaws.com/
Below are the seven petals of the permaculture flower that we apply in Garawe and that represent the 7 different ethical principals required to create a sustainable culture.
Picture from permacultureprinciples.com