This month the project moves into a whole new phase, as the builders have started work on the Retreat Centre! The old house, which has been standing empty since the 1960’s, full of old tools and clothes, pans and bottles, is now turning into a building site, its ceilings open to the sky. The workmen are saving the old tiles and wooden doors, and as many of the big beams made of tree trunks as possible, to be reused. And the rotten wormy wood will keep us in firewood for a while.
Today I went up to have a look at the site and to save a giant pot that was lying around outside the house. The guys helped me put the pot in the back of the 4×4. I think they found me a bit odd, to be honest, I felt like visiting royalty trying to make conversation. They are a team of immigrant workers from Brazil – maybe I should have tried talking about football. But then Jose, the local builder who is overseeing the works arrived, which was a relief. He’s a bit more accustomed to the strange Buddhist women who have landed from some other planet.
Renovating the house is one part of the project at the Retreat Centre, but we also plan a large purpose built shrineroom on a nearby terrace. It is a beautiful spot, sheltered by great cliffs above, with a view straight to the sunset. We still need to raise funds for this, to ensure that we can have a fitting, beautiful shrineroom for the Retreat Centre.