In the beginning there was mud
Finally, after ten sometimes gruelling months, the dream that was ‘Dreamglade’ has become a reality. The building of the 1km ‘road’ (I use that term very loosely) through the dense, sodden jungle was an epic slog, involving lots of manpower, thousands of sandbags, the building of four bridges and countless episodes where we were up to our knees in mud, yet again having to dig out the truck that was buried in thick sticky clay right up to its axles. Unfortunately, being able to enter the site with the pick up truck was an essential part of the overall plan, as we needed to bring in materials and eventually clients from the city straight into the site as quickly and comfortably as possible so failure wasn’t really an option.
The lake also required lots of restoration as the lake bed itself was completely covered with a foot-deep blanket of plant debris, tree roots and thorny bushes and it took a team of six men three solid weeks to dredge it clean, dragging mud laden sleds up the onto the banks, at times resembling some kind of medieval slave camp !!
The badly built, ten year old dyke also needed a serious overhaul as it was too narrow, too low and was leaking leaking like a sieve. The six man team got to work once more, moving tonnes of earth with shovels and wheelbarrows, shoring up it’s sides, raising it another half a meter and also installing a 35 meter long plastic membrane along its entire length. Finally after almost two months of backbreaking work, the lake was ready to be filled and was quickly inhabited by thousands of beautiful jungle frogs and toads that fill the night air with a symphony of almost deafening arbles and croaks. The southern end of the lake (Moloka end) is about two meters deep and is ideal for taking a dip on a hot day !!
Fully four months after beginning the project, and with great relief, we finally embarked on the construction work. First up was the guardian’s hut which needed to be big enough to house living quarters for the guardians, a strongroom to store all of the tools and building materials, a fully functioning kitchen and an open air dining area.
From the very beginning, I had vowed to myself that I would be as creative as possible with the designs for all of the structures that were to be built at Dreamglade, steering clear of ‘boring’ square or rectangular edifices and instead focusing on incorporating as many curves and geometric shapes as I could. I wanted the energy to flow as smoothly as possible, wanted the entire centre to blend in and complement the surrounding jungle.
The ‘Moloka’ (ceremonial hut) was to be the most ambitious of all the building projects. It is twelve sided (an exact dodecagon) and is ten meters (a little over 30 ft) across on the inside and thirteen meters across on the outside and has ample room for twelve people, each with their own mattress and with plenty of space in between. There is an outer passageway circling the entire structure where there are hammocks for our guests to kick back and enjoy the jungle surroundings. Most traditional Molokas have a central post that supports the conical point at the top of the roof but ours is completely open plan with a spiders web of support poles about two thirds of the way up that keeps the roof from sagging. With a twelve segmented, varnished hardwood floor, it really is an amazing space to hold ceremonies and future yoga classes.
Over the last month we have held several Ayahuasca ceremonies in the Moloka and we are very excited to be starting a new partnership with Dona Isabel Pinedo rengifo who is a Shipibo ‘Maestra’ with over 40 years of experience working with medicinal plants. We feel that Dreamglade is a special place and deserves a special ‘Curandero’ (Shamanic Healer) and Isabel certainly fits the bill !!
The dream continues……