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We don’t have a car for various reasons and it’s not something that bothers me normally, except that it limits our ability to explore other places. Paying someone to drive us up some dirt track just to see what is up there is just too expensive and so sadly exploring or simply visiting elsewhere is not something I get to do very often.

When my mother came over for a visit earlier in the year, knowing that she is as interested in alternative living / permaculture / eco design etc as I am, I booked a taxi to take us to the eco village known as Eco Aldeia Flecha da Mata. I had found them on the internet some time back but never been able to visit in person, now was the perfect excuse for a family day out.

Part of my reason for wanting to take Neu there, was to show to him how it is possible to build in ways that are less damaging to the environment. Unfortunately when we were building our house, I was still in London and trying to explain to Neu in, what was at that time, my exceedingly bad Portuguese during our once a week telephone conversations, that I wanted to build a rammed earth house with compost toilets was beyond me and way outside anything he had experience of (although I did get my green toilet in the end and very well it works too).

To plan our visit to Flecha da Mata I had an email conversation with Fabio, one of the owners, he told me that on the day we planned to visit they would be hosting a course and so would be busy but he said we would be welcome to pay a short visit, so that is what we did.

The village is about an hours drive from us, between Aracati and Canoa Quebrada, a bit off the beaten track but not hard to find, well it wouldn’t have been if my phone’s GPS hadn’t insisted that the village would be found on the left, when actually it was on the right but we got there in the end.

The main building made from sacks filled with sand and clay

The main building made from sacks filled with sand and clay

We were met by the lovely Ana, well actually she was climbing out of a sunken pool which she was in the process of cleaning out, had it been full of water I would have been tempted to get in and cool down. I was immediately impressed with Ana’s fantastic English, before realising that she is actually American which certainly made communicating a lot easier, especially for my mother who doesn’t speak any Portuguese.

Ana is married to Fabio (who is Brazilian) and together they own and run Flecha da Mata. Their idea is to practise sustainable community living, using the interconnected principles of permaculture, sustainability and self-knowledge and living as far as is possible in harmony with nature. They have agroforestry gardens, are self-sufficient in energy from solar panels, all solid waste is composted or recycled, they have green toilets of the same type as we have and waste water passes through their own treatment tanks. Fabulous stuff and very much how we try to run our home, albeit on a smaller scale and minus the solar panels which we haven’t managed yet.

Looking out at a lovely view

Looking out at a lovely view

It was a baking hot day, well that’s nothing new here, it’s pretty much baking hot every day. I had told Neu that rammed earth buildings are perfect for this environment because they are cool during the day but maintain that temperature at night even if the temperature outside should fall, Neu has always been sceptical but he was amazed by how cool the main building was, finally he believes me!

From the website I understand that Flecha da Mata host a variety of events, workshops and school visits which can be for a day or longer. They have an area for sleeping where you can hang your hammock or a camping area for those who prefer a tent.

We could see the workshop Fabio was running, everyone seemed very busy and happy, that was something that really struck me, the atmosphere in the place was so good. Ana said I could go over and see what was happening in the workshop but I didn’t want to interrupt them and was happy just looking around.

I would have loved to have spoken to them some more about their work and the events they hold, especially when Ana mentioned they have shamanic ceremonies, something that interests me greatly. However it was approaching lunch time, Ana had to go and help prepare some food and Neu was showing signs that he’d had enough as he still gets tired very quickly, so it was time to say goodbye.

Obviously I will have to make a return trip at some time in the future, maybe it’s time to get a car.

Check out Flecha da Mata’s website here

Find them on Facebook Eco Aldeia Flecha da Mata

If you are visiting Quenoa Quebrada its well worth paying them a visit.