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No Bridge Too Far: My NGO placement comes to an end

Last week, my time with Sunseed Desert Technology sadly came to an end, and I had to say goodbye to the small Spanish village that had been my home and work place for my first of three work placements this year.

Thankfully, I was able to leave with my head held high, having worked flat out for the last four days to get my bridge project finished on time. This wasn’t, however, a solo achievement and a huge debt of gratitude is owed to the staff and other volunteers at Sunseed who put their own work on hold to lend a hand down at the river. I couldn’t have done it without them.

Bridging the Gap: The cane bridge that I built for Sunseed

To be honest, it would have been nice to have had a few more days to work on the project. I would have liked to have added at least one handrail to the bridge for safety, and an extra layer of cane added to the walking mat would, in my opinion, have made a stronger, sturdier platform. However, experience from past projects has taught me that there is rarely a thing as ‘too much time’, and even if I had been able to add these things to the bridge, I still would have left wanting to do more.

My time with Sunseed taught me a lot, not just about working with cane and eco-construction, but also about permaculture and the ways in which we can reduce the impact of our lifestyles on the environment. Prior to my arrival at the Sunseed community, I was apprehensive about what kind of life I would lead there, expecting it to be generally quite uncomfortable. What I found instead was a way of life that was not only comfortable, but also extremely rewarding. It was a fantastic demonstration of low-impact living within a community full of potential.

It was an amazing experience to live and work within the Sunseed organisation, and I would highly recommend any student involved in this area to take part in a similar project, to whatever extent they can. Until you live a low-impact lifestyle for yourself, it’s difficult to believe in it 100% and even harder to convince other people of its true value. Go out there and get involved!

If anybody has any questions regarding work placements, Sunseed Desert Technology, working with cane, or anything else I might be able to help with, then feel free to leave a comment on any of my posts.

Freddie Harris is currently studying for a MSc in Leadership for Sustainable Development at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His undergrad is in Tropical Environmental Science. Freddie writes about his current experiences as a sustainability student, giving others an insight into what is perhaps one of the most interdisciplinary subjects out there. He hopes to remain optimistic about the future!

Posted on: April 8, 2011, 9:00 am Category: The Life of an Environmental Studies Student Tagged with: , , , ,

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