Image credit: Permatil
Eugenio "Ego" Lemos had a more tumultuous childhood than most.
Early years were spent hiding out in the jungles of Timor-Leste after the invasion of Indonesia in 1975. His mother bravely raised the family alone after Ego's father was captured and never heard from again.
Perseverance and determination led him to study agriculture in Dili as a young adult. He became deeply involved in movements concerned with improving on environmental crises in the area. A partnership with Australian permaculturist Steve Grant led to Eugenio receiving a Diploma in Permaculture in 2002.
Permaculture Timor-Lorosa'e (PERMATIL) was founded in 2001 to provide assistance and education about sustainable agriculture and culture in Timor.
Rather than implementing a rigid educational programme, Ego opted to travel to the people on his motorbike, teaching them the fundamentals in his own special way.
Eugenio believes that bringing Permatil into schools is the most effective way of influencing a community. The folks at Permatil go into Timorese schools and instruct students, teachers and parents in how to establish a sustainable and ethical system for growing seasonal produce for families to eat.
Students are encouraged to talk to their families about what they are learning and grow vegetables at home. They learn about implementing things like "swales and terraces", "bamboo watering pipes", and other magical pieces of apparatus.
Permatil alone from 2015 – 2017 has established more then 100 school gardens and trained 435 participants in their programme.
Great work, guys!
Buying a Tropical Permaculture Guidebook is a great way to contribute to Permatil and get clued up on the ins and outs while you're at it. You can find them on their website.