When common sense and being human doesn’t prevail

The best in the west is not always the best…

I am always a long believer that the west has more to learn from Africa than it does helping Africa. I know my life if significantly ‘richer’ from having spent some time in parts of Africa. I have learnt invaluable lessons on resilience, resourcefulness, community, sharing, etc…

IMG_0593 (1024x512)This learning and these perspective turned into total frustration in the past week or so. I got news that the Happy, simply self-sufficient tiny home that I built with a group of volunteers in Australia in June last year will need to be moved. It needs to be moved because of ‘litigation and insurance concerns’. I have agreed with the group and I even understand where they are coming from and why, and if I was in their position I would be making the same decision so I don’t have ill feelings towards them or the eco village community. What it does though is sicken me to the bottom of my heart that humanity and common sense cannot prevail.

20141215_160406 (1024x768)It have been 1000x harder taking this news while being in South Sudan where common sense, personal responsibility and being human is still the normal way of life. Example: if you trip on the footpath (if there is one or there is one without most of it missing) you are the unlucky one and it is your fault for not watching out more closely while walking. Even if you are in a building that was not well made and it collapses on your head you are unlucky but still it is your personal responsibility.

I do agree there needs to be standards and we should try to meet those standards but in the end if you have made a decision to walk down the street or enter into a place, you are responsible for the consequences – just as humans had been until about 100 years ago in the west and as they mostly are in place like here in South Sudan.

When the line really goes off the chart for common sense and into pure inhuman, made-up, artificial, this-has-somehow-become-the-ridiculous-norm territory is when litigation and insurance worries override human common sense. If you stay in the Happy, simply home and in the very highly unlikely minuscule chance you get hurt, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for it to happen but you are responsible as you took the choice to stay there. If it was because of my fault I would be a good human and help where possible and apologise appropriately. What I wouldn’t do is go beyond that owing you all I have, forever. Accidents happen and unlucky consequences should be dealt with as a human not as a programed inhuman money-wanting victim role-play. I certainly know that there are a lot of people dead, maimed or hurt in South Sudan because of accidents and unlucky situations but their natural mandate is to not make others and the system a victim along with them.

20150322_190139 (1024x540)Western countries should use setting standards as a good service tool for communities to try and lessen accidents where possible but what we have is a system to create fear, scare people and allow the worst case scenario to dictate decisions and actions.

I don’t want to continue this rant as I could for a long time and a lot of people would probably follow along agreeing with me. So referencing my current surroundings in South Sudan  – I love the way of life in the countries I have been in Africa. It is sometimes raw, rough and unforgiving but it is real.

20150322_082745 (1024x768)I am very sad that the Happy, simply home won’t remain in the eco village and I wish being human and self-responsibility won at the end of the day. The best news is the Happy, simply home might have found a new wonderful spot so you will be welcome to stay – as long as you take responsibility for yourself!

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Putting It All Together (with bumps)

Hi Folks Far and Wide!

It has been a cruising start to the year with youth empowerment work in Malaysia, family and fun in Australia, creative conversations for Polio Points, dengue fever throughout my body and also in preparation for departure for Stop Transmission of Polio (STOP) program in South Sudan very soon…

This blog post is an attempt to pull all of my blogs into one central spot but to still maintain all the other blogs, each with their specific train of thought and purpose. So if you are a follower of any one of these blogs:

I will now be blogging on each of those blogs but they will always be doubled up on this blog site ( http://teaspoonsofchange.wordpress.com/ ) .

Therefore if you wish to follow all of these blogs at once I suggest you subscribe to the Teaspoons of Change blog ( https://teaspoonsofchange.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/putting-it-all-together-with-bumps/ )!

Lastly I was very lucky to be on a podcast interview with a great guy and purveyor of interesting people doing interesting things – Joel from Smart and Simple Matters and SimpleRev. Our nearly hour-long conversation was a nice chance for me to lay out the patchwork of diverse and passionate things I get to do in life from polio eradication to youth empowerment to living in tiny houses when possible and to anything and everything to ensure I do what I can to see an end to extreme poverty…

Here is a link to the podcast if you are keen and it is a good chance for me to try and tie a few things together and put them in at least one funnel where they can then splash and land as they need from there… http://www.valueofsimple.com/smart-and-simple-matters-podcast-064-happy-simply-darcy-lunn/  Be sure to check out the other amazing podcasts on there as well!

Will be in touch next from all things polio eradication in South Sudan from next week! Hope to add more experiences (and photos) for the next 4 months…

Happy simply home Needs a little happy simply help to complete

A post here from my Happy, simply home ally in South Australia, Beau. He is keen to finish off the home in Aldinga so people can start staying there as there is a lot of interest around for people to experience the Happy, simply home and lifestyle. Please have a read and if there is anything or anyway you might be able to help that would be greatly appreciated by myself, Beau and anyone wanted to taste the Happy, simply home and lifestyle… Thanks Beau! Also see a little excerpt on Free Money Day that Beau and others partook in on Sustainable House Day…

Sustainable House Day

Sunday 14 September was Sustainable House Day (http://sustainablehouseday.com/).  It’s a national event where homeowners open their doors to the public to showcase the sustainable features of their homes.
The Aldinga Arts EcoVillage had 5 homes open, as well as one tiny, happy, simple home 🙂  We estimate that between 150-200 people visited the village.  It was a great opportunity to get exposure for the project and promote the Happy, simply lifestyle model.  A big thanks to Sam for helping out on the day.  His beautiful, hand carved spoons added a lovely touch to the home, which you can check out here:
sams spoons
Although I was excited to be sharing the project with people, I felt a little sad to have to keep repeating the line, “When the home is officially completed….” almost 3 months after we ‘finished’ the build.  Unfortunately I have been in and out of hospital in the past few months and not had the motivation or health to push things forward.  This combined with d’Arcy being overseas has meant that things have stalled and we are unable to open the home to the public.  I also want the volunteers who worked on the build to be able to spend a night in the home – something I remember many people looking forward to, particularly the Heathfield students.
So I’m calling on everyone out there reading this post to please consider if you can help us get the home to final completion.
The main tasks we need are:
  • Repair / replacement of the front door that smashed.  It’s an odd shape and new glass will be very expensive, so we’re considering perspex, a new door or glass replacement.  If you know of someone who has the skills and / or materials to fix the door, please email happysimplyhome(at)gmail.com – all suggestions and assistance welcome.
  • We may also need a blind / screen for this door come Summer, again suggestions and materials welcome.
  • Electrical work – we need to connect the solar panels to the battery system and then connect the lights.
  • A gas bottle for the outdoor stove
  • Installation of fly screen on the western window
  • Disassembly and disposal of a workbench that has an asbestos top
  • Installation of skirting and architrave
Please help to bring this project to a stage where it can be shared.  The construction was a wonderful education project but the happy, simply home can’t really be appreciated until the guest book has a lot more names in it.
I hope to hear from lots of you in the near future.
Beau
sustainability house day
Free Money Day
Monday 15 September is Free Money Day – an international event where people give money away to strangers on the street because sharing is fun and to perhaps engage in conversations about money and what it means to us.
We decided to celebrate a day early and incorporate Free Money Day into Sustainable House Day.  We offered people two, one dollar coins.  It was an interesting experience and a little weird.  I found most people were quite taken aback by the concept and felt very awkward accepting money.  Many wouldn’t accept it at all or offered to donate it back, some even wanted to contribute their own money to the pot.  I was left wondering if free hugs or free muffins would have been met with the less resistance.
Amongst the looks of confusion and scepticism, we did manage to have a few genuinely interesting conversations and brought about quite a few smiles.  About three people accepted the offering with gratitude and nothing more was said – my favourite response of all.  We began the day with $180 and only managed to give away $60.  Who would have thought giving away money would be so difficult?  Thanks to Amy for contributing to the pot and helping out on the day. 
I spent most of the day thinking about how $2 seems such a frivolous amount of money in our society.  Meanwhile, there are billions of people in the world relying on that amount to live each day.  To experience a glimpse of what that might be like, challenge yourself to Live Below the Line. https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/ 
free money day
Editor note: I can vouch for both of these programs as I have helped design and participated in them often – great perspective and experience makers – Have a go!

Happy Simply SA in Pictorial/Photo Form

Hi Folks. So this blog site will be kept up on an occasional basis from here on but I thought it would be nice to dedicate the second to last post on a pictorial look at the Happy, simply build in South Australia…

The next post (on the booking process for the Happy, simply home in SA) will be a last one in a little while as I am going on a 1500km walk in Japan for an idea I call Teaspoons of Change… which are personal choices, decisions and actions that have a positive impact on people and the planet one teaspoon at a time… http://teaspoonsofchange.wordpress.com/  https://www.facebook.com/teaspoonsofchange

Enjoy the photos from before to after of the Happy, simply home in South Australia!HS SA HS SA (1) HS SA (2) HS SA (3) HS SA (4) HS SA (5) HS SA (6) HS SA (7) HS SA (8) HS SA (9) HS SA (10) HS SA (11) HS SA (12) HS SA (13) HS SA (14) HS SA (15) HS SA (16) HS SA (17) HS SA (18) HS SA (19) HS SA (20) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA HS SA (24) HS SA (25) HS SA (26) HS SA (27) HS SA (28) HS SA (29) HS SA (30) DCIM100GOPRO HS SA (32) HS SA (33) HS SA (34) HS SA (35) HS SA (36) HS SA (37) HS SA (38) HS SA (39) HS SA (40) HS SA (41) HS SA (42) HS SA (43) HS SA (44) HS SA (45) HS SA (46) HS SA (47) HS SA (48) HS SA (49) HS SA (50) HS SA (51) HS SA (52) HS SA (53) HS SA (54) HS SA (55) HS SA (56) HS SA (57) HS SA (58) HS SA (59) HS SA (60) HS SA (61) HS SA (62) HS SA (63) HS SA (64) HS SA (65) HS SA (66) HS SA (67) HS SA (68) HS SA (69) HS SA (70) HS SA (71) HS SA (72) HS SA (73) HS SA (74) HS SA (75) HS SA (76) HS SA (77) HS SA (78) HS SA (79) HS SA (80) HS SA (81) HS SA (82) HS SA (83) HS SA (84) HS SA (85)

First Family Night in the Happy, Simply Home

The first guests and reviews are in for the Happy, simply home is South Australia. Have a read of a delightful sounding evening from Beau and his little family in the tiny home…

happy home complete outside

‘Last night the Summer family stayed in the Happy Simply home. We chose the windiest night of the year, which made for a good adventure. With no curtains in the home just yet, we had a great view of the trees outside being battered by the wild conditions. It made us realize how rarely we view the outdoors at night – normally huddled inside with blinds down and lights on. It was lovely to sit inside and eat dinner by candlelight and being able to see the moonlit surrounds.

Snug as bugs in a rug (very nice bugs though)

Snug as bugs in a rug (very nice bugs though)

 

 

hs family stayThe home is still lacking some features such as door handles and lights, which doesn’t exactly make things simple. Jodie was installing a drop bolt on the door at 7pm using a head torch for light. The home was surprisingly warm considering the cold, windy conditions and because the doors still require proper seals. We actually thought it was warmer than our own bedroom at home but wondered if this was because we were coming from the cold conditions outside, whereas at home we are going from a warm lounge room to cold bedroom. The wind was powerful enough to make the home rock around a bit but there was no creaking or groaning – evidence of a sturdy frame!

hs family stay3

We slept pretty well and all found the beds comfortable. Jodie and Gracie were up top on the double bed and I took the single. We enjoyed our stay in the Happy Simply home and think it will be even better once the finishing touches are applied. I think it will be best on balmy Summer nights, preparing meals out on the deck and watching the sunset. I look forward to more people staying in the home and sharing their experiences.

Beau’

hs family stay2

Note from d’Arcy: I kind of like an empty home, staying in it a little while and working out what exactly is a NEED and what is kind of a want… From this review it seems lights and door handles fall into the need category! There is still a bit to do but it is fine for now as an almost camping adventure…

Thanks for a great post Beau!!!

Happy, simply Online Video on the ABC

Sorry for another delay between blogs but my real life work of youth empowerment and global awareness seems to have taken over…

Good news is we have a 2min feature video from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) online:

http://www.abc.net.au/local/videos/2014/07/01/4036977.htm?site=adelaide

A lovely look at the home and the collaboration that goes into it!

I also love that it really picked up on the essence of Happy, simply not that it is to live like poor people or to save money but that it is a richer way to live with more people, health, connectedness to community and the other aspects that I enjoy about Happy, simply living.

Living more with less and where less is more 🙂

Hope you enjoy the video and thank you Brett from the ABC who really took the time to come and speak, listen, learn and understand why we were putting this home together (and he also then came back again later with a door knob to contribute!).

Happy, simply Left-Overs and Left-To-Do

Day 22 House warming (16)I’m very sorry I haven’t got any new photos to add since the last blog but I do have new information to pass on… Below are a couple of lists: the practical facts and figures of building the Happy, simply home; what still needs to be done; and a small list of needs and wants to finish it off.

In my next blog I will outline what will become of the Happy, simply home – especially now I have abandoned it and left Australia…

In practical terms the home took:

  • 3 days of deconstruction
  • 22 days of construction
  • Around $1000 spent on a few materials and other costs –  – the rest was salvaged, donated, gathered from leftovers, bits and pieces from people and more
  • Over 30 volunteers and around 10 builders
  • Many loaves of bread
  • Over 5000 views on the blog and probably similar on Facebook
  • Wide reaching support, resources, sponsorship, donations and generosity
  • Moved people from a group of people to the status of community!

List of tasks still to be done by anyone still keen to get in, interact and attribute their mark on the project. Plus I know there is very likely to be a solar workshop next weekend or at some stage to put in all the solar features:

  • fill gap in wall of toilet and shelter on the east deck
  • solar system
  • create a fold down desk
  • toilet to be built
  • paint polycoat on stairs and cedar wall, maybe stain or coat the bed – don’t use gloss finish it will make it too slippery
  • ¼ round the edges, door gaps, skirting, etc
  • Joining piece for the flooring
  • Door handles
  • Outside edge flashing if needed / wanted – important bits are done
  • Carpet tiles and/or black plastic under the home to stop weeds growing and so it can be used as storage space
  • Stabilise each corner of the home so not just resting on the original legs of the caravan – use the two axle stands and maybe get a few more besser blocks?
  • Tank stand reinforcement, cleaning and functionality set for human consumption
  • Fridge – I have a spare esky at my mum’s home that can be used but any hole dug in the ground covered will do the trick for the next few months
  • Fitting fly screens
  • Anything else you might want to contribute just check with Beau and Sam from the build and remember simplicity is the key!

List of needs (wants)  for the home:

  • Office chair
  • Compost bins
  • Door handle
  • Solar shower
  • Gas bottle
  • Double mattress under the thin top one we already have
  • Mosquito bed net
  • Wee container – something not see through and 2L is best with a big opening at the top and a lid
  • Fans 12v or small AC fan
  • …?

With all these jobs to be done and things needed (wanted) I personally prefer to live in a place and from that REALLY determine what is needed and then see what might be wanted and go from that basis – rather than guessing beforehand what I think will be needed and wanted (rarely the same list). Since I won’t be back at the Happy, simply home in Aldinga till probably Christmas it would be good to at least forecast a few of these things so it can adequately support anyone staying before then…

Day 22 House warming (7a)