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Bamboo Immersion Experience

If you’ve been following the bamboo scene in Costa Rica you’ll know that Rodo and Trey are local legends. Rodo, a life-long bamboo master has crafted some of the most compelling structures in the country and studied with many master craftsmen from Asia. Trey, well known for his innovative stage builds and developing the bamboo industry in Costa Rica also brings his ecological knowledge of how the plant grows, stemming from his other hobby as a passionate fruit head. When I got the news that EcoMaste would be hosting a Bamboo Building workshop with Trey and Rodo doing hands-on-training while building their shower and cabina frame, I was stoked!!

A construction site and training workshop combined with a rowdy group of natural building enthusiasts from all over the world is a big vibe! I was even more stoked when I drove onto the gorgeous permaculture oasis of EcoMaste with a stocked pond, dozens of tropical birds, and a stunning local river surrounded by bamboo and Reina de La Noche flowers. Amanda and Jose, the guardians of the land there are heart warming permacuralists and herbalists who have the unique ability to make everyone feel at home immediately.

The vibe was high and every day our communal bamboo stoke kept building. We started out simply learning how to shape nails and the regenerative and structural glories of bamboo. Bamboo when cut can regenerate its growth to a fully mature bamboo shoot in just a little as four years. When treated Asper and other types of bamboo can last for 50+ years and is structurally just as strong, lighter and more versatile than trees. It’s a great solution to prevent local deforestation. We also learned how to identify various species and within no time were out in the jungle with a chainsaw learning how to care for and harvest this amazing regenerative resource.

We all got super excited when our phenomenal chef and kitchen team let us put our new skill to good use and prepare some bamboo cookers to make rice and jungle plantain stew over an open fire. Every meal was delicious and gathering in a circle to sing and give gratitude before each meal helped build camaraderie and a groovy after work vibe where we’d watch documentaries about bamboo and get inspired about other international projects.

On the last day, in celebration we devoured all you can eat jungle vegan pizza. Then built a bonfire under the stars and shook out all our heavy lifting with an epic ecstatic dance party. We shared our little side projects of chopsticks, bongs, necklaces, and Rodo even gave away a mirror we had designed and built in class.

We all left inspired and deeply connected to the vision of natural building and bamboo with only a few cuts, bruises and bee stings and a seriously phenomenal week of growth. EcoMaste’s open door and open minded community made it easy for workers and other bamboo enthusiasts to walk in the door and share. And you might want to stay a while there too see the fresh new natural building structures being built on their incredible land.

By: Natalie Bankhead

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