What Does It Take To Be A Permaculture Aid Worker?

Rosemary Morrow is an author, permaculture legend, teacher of teachers, aid worker and the patron of Permafund, a charity within Permaculture Australia which raises funds for projects in disadvantaged communities around the world. This septuagenarian is having a brief recharge after working with refugees in Italy and Spain. I asked her what it takes to be an aid worker; it’s not a task for the faint-hearted.

What sort of person do you need to be?

‘The life of a permaculturalist in a camp is probably three months, if you can last that. You’ll be lonely. If you’re sick you just keep going. The physical conditions are hard. There’s a camp in Greece between an army base, a major highway (that runs either side) and a big industrial centre, between stinking traffic and polluting stuff. In a Kenyan camp they’ve cleared all the wood and water for ten kilometres, and people just walk further and further. There’s a couple of million displaced by the Taliban in Kabul, in absolutely disgusting living conditions with no sewerage or water. People use plastic bags for cooking fuel.