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Creating a Magical World: Awakening

My Magazine 2023/09
4 min
Author: Angelika Mitterer
A very special time has dawned in The Gambia. The Great Awakening of nature, soul and society has begun. The refreshing drops of the rainy season in The Gambia reflect not only the revival of nature but also the Great Awakening of a society in transition. This annual spectacle of nature is not only actual precipitation but also an emotional wake-up call that brings about change, rethinking and a social awakening.

The dry earth, which previously seemed brittle and lifeless, welcomes the rain with open arms and transforms into a fertile oasis. The water has transformed everything into a lush green landscape. There is a crawling, flying and croaking everywhere. Now, the animals get their offspring. As you know, the rainy season brings growth and life, but a certain mindfulness is needed now. It is about controlling the water and using it in a positive way.

The tropical climate in The Gambia has a long dry season and a distinct rainy season that lasts about three months. During the rainy season, there are short heavy showers, which can lead to rapid water accumulation. The soil structure is primarily sandy and clayey, strongly influencing water absorption and drainage. European drainage, which we are used to as Austrian architects, does not work in The Gambia. Of course, we took the specific soil conditions of our construction site into account and developed an efficient drainage solution that considers the local conditions. The water must be drained quickly and possibly collected in an appropriate container for sustainable water management in the dry season. Our team has, therefore, skilfully constructed trenches around the building. This ensures that the water flows off smoothly and that there are no unpleasant surprises. 

Connection

As most people know, for our project developments in The Gambia, the walls are built with the local earth bricks produced on site. Every single earth brick is pressed by manpower with a manual machine and filled with love. Many investors took the opportunity to test the brick production and additionally feel the connection with nature created by these bricks made of natural materials. In the rainy season, we now have to connect the freshly built walls to the concreted pillars of the supporting structure as quickly as possible. Only in combination can the brick walls made of earth bricks withstand the strong pressure of the wind during the mostly nightly storms, which are not uncommon now in the rainy season. Our team works with combined forces to quickly erect the walls and firmly connect them to the pillars. We know that the night storms often know no mercy when only the unconnected walls rise into the sky. We stand side by side to make the vision a reality and create a sustainable, empowering oasis. We are not just constructing a building but a vision for a better future in harmony with nature and our values. The heart of "The Edge" at Kasumai will be the people who believe in this project and will live in it. We are ready to weather the storms of life and turn our shared vision into reality. Together, we will make it happen - for a better future, The Gambia, and our world. This miracle of nature reminds us of the importance of protecting and using our resources sustainably. It is a symbol of social awakening - an awareness of the need to rethink our way of life and focus on quality and sustainability.

The beauty reveals itself 

With the beginning of the rainy season, the signs of the current change are becoming more and more noticeable. Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese-US poet, philosopher and painter, described this in a beautiful sentence: "Behold the awakening of spring and the appearance of dawn! Beauty reveals itself to those who contemplate."

The rainy season brings new life and new ways of thinking. The community in The Gambia begins to question the structures that were previously taken for granted. Slowly, we are starting to rethink. A more conscious use of resources, a sustainable attitude towards nature and respectful treatment of the land are becoming increasingly important. The Gambians are beginning to rediscover and appreciate the value of local products and traditional knowledge. The rainy season in The Gambia reminds society that change starts from below. Individuals realise their power when they work together for a fairer, more sustainable future. The collective awakening brings forth a wave of solidarity and commitment that steers society in a promising direction. 

As the raindrops patter on the roofs, they symbolise the revival of nature and the awakening of the soul and society. The rainy season in The Gambia teaches us that change is inevitable and that each individual can contribute to creating a more liveable future for all. In this Great Awakening lies the hope for a better world in which man and nature exist in harmony.

My insider tip of the month!

As the refreshing rain falls over The Gambia, the eagerly awaited mangoes begin to ripen. The raindrops wash the dust off the lush, green leaves while the fruits slowly turn colour and shine in bright shades of red and yellow. Now is the right time to taste the juicy, super-sweet mangoes - each unique with its incomparable taste. These mangoes are a treat for the palate and a reflection of nature renewing itself after the rain.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angelika Mitterer
The story of the Austrian architect Angelika Mitterer tells us that the only constant in life is a change and how this can be used as an opportunity for a positive change in one's lifestyle habits.

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