We could not have anticipated that our brief stop-over in Hong Kong could have inspired us with so much wonderment and joy. An invitation to visit the Kadoori Farm and Botanical Gardens was hastily taken up as we conteplated what to do with a lengthy stop over in this big city. Our host Tuck, the Education Co-ordinator at Kadoori, indulged us in a tour that went beyond fantastic interpretaion, it was sheer magic. A brief bit of history to put things into perspective. The Kadoorie FBG was established in the 1950s by the Kadoorie family, as a means to engage refugees in agricultural/employment projects. The land was essentially a cleared mountain side and valleys which would over the years be transformed into market gardens, orchards, flora and fauna preservation, wildlife rescue, propagation and education activities: the work here is prolific, and not unlike CERES (just way bigger!). Rainforests, streams, orchid gardents and valley views made us feel like we were a million miles away from sky scraper development and smog.
By far, the highlight of the day was our trip to the top of Kwun Yum Sham, a mountain peak named after the deity of the same name. The beauty, energy and serenity of this place were truly restorative – we could have stayed there for days. The blue sky above this peak (whilst everything around was shrouded in smog) was telling of the speciallness of this place. The interests of the staff and community at Kadoorie seem intimately tied with those of CERES. Interestingly, Kadoorie is bocoming a Transition Initiative – they’ve even visited Totnes! Reluctantly, we left Kadoorie, with an invitation to Tuck to come and connect with the CERES community when he comes to Australia. Kadoorie go to: http://www.kfbg.org.hk
More travel and then an early morning arrival in Chennai, south India. The hospitality and friendship extended to us by Joss, Anita and the staff at Pitchandikulam Forest clearely extends beyond the forest floor. Today we explored the Adyar Poonga wetland which 3 years ago was still a wasteland. What was originally wetlands, turned landfill over years, has not been reclaimed and is starting to thrive. The aims of the project are to reach out to the Chennai community with the message of biodiversity and transformation. This is certainly a project which demonstrates both of these values. Check it out at: http://www.adyarpoonga.com