Kristijan Jerkovic, Croatia

Nick Ardon, The Netherlands
25 May 2017

Volunteering at Sitio do Pomar was rich experience. Love for Mother Nature keep me in better balance and here it was very specific since the ideals based on permaculture with Dennis gave me a lot of experience. He brought a lot of new plants and trees to grow and such action was fastened since the surrounding has been exhausted this summer with fire in July which then preceded with erosion. Erosion is still culminating since a lot of trees fell and roots couldn’t keep the ground. Actually, my first contact with Dennis was with a meeting of his first two volunteers that were describing how they fight against fire and as they mentioned goals of turning place into green paradise, which attracts me easily to come, help and learn.

It was definitely inspiring to hear as I heard after in details from Dennis how they helped to some locals in fighting against fire. As I was working in Funchal till the end of September, I came in October for two weeks and in last week there were some floods. Even water stabilized the ground, still the process of erosion and falling stones and trees around, damaged levada as the road from the upper village that was really adventurous for a drive with car.

Therefore, I helped also with a cleaning of road, but fulfilling moments were planting the trees, aromatic plants and bushes to strengthen the ground. Also, I designed one circular garden in shape of a turtle with beans and onions inside and it was inspired with Dennis’s designs who shaped gardens with stones that dig out from the ground from the previous damaged houses and specific rustic houses called palheiros.

Days were active fully and I found a lot of time to be creative. Still, one of my favourite scenes were digging holes for the trees and also I felt very happy when I made meals in improvised, but functional kitchen with surely, one of the most beautiful views to the ‘V’ shaped valley of Madalena do Mar and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance. Also, I must mention that I loved to feed goat Maria with bamboo since a lot of time she occupied shower place that also look down to the south of the valley.