How have we responded according to the goals:
- “To develop a Marist response in the areas of ecology involving research, publishing and ”
- In the past four years, we have published and advocated the importance of ecological living through a couple of social media sites, e.g. Marist College Facebook and Maristoceania.org. Also, with the help of Fr. Ben McKenna, the link man for the Commission, part of the ecological work carried out at Marist College, Fiji, appeared on the Society of Mary’s Justice and Peace Blog. Members that have read the published articles were able to disseminate the information through other forms of media, making it available locally.
- To bring a “Marian Ecological Spirituality” to the local Churches and ecclesial communities through teaching, workshops and (taken from the Ecological Commission report)
- In Fiji, Donato Kivi has conducted retreats, workshops and seminars on Marian Ecological
- Conference Talk – Association of Practical Theology in Oceania (APTO)
- Conference Talk – Conference of Major Superiors of Pacific Islands (CMSPI)
- Synod Talk – Archdiocese of Fiji Synod
- Teaching – Inter Novitiate & Navesi Catechist Centre
- Talk – Hesed Program, Nadera Parish, Raiwaqa Parish
- Seminar – organized by Social Empowerment and Education Program (NGO) for Rural Farmers
- Retreat – Marist Training Centre Tutu Staff & Marist Fiji Sector
- Laudato Si’ Retreat – Archdiocese of Suva
- Season of creation Preacher –Interfaith Service with Muslims, Hindus, Protestants, Anglicans, Methodists, Seven Day Adventists.
- Recollection – Marist College & Marist Sisters
- To develop within the Society of Mary an ever more profound response to the challenges of Laudato Si’ and a genuine “ecological conversion”.
This third point brings us to DAWASAMU. There is one thing about teaching and publishing which can be done anywhere. But having a more grounded and centred centre in the mission of Laudato Si’ is another thing. Thus the reasoning behind the Dawasamu project.
At the moment, our “profound response” is to establish an ecological centre that belongs to the Society of Mary, where the mission of ecological conversion is primarily the focus. Accordingly, we have slowly developed a Centre at the Marist College holiday property in Dawasamu, 50km northeast of Suva. It should provide accommodation for ecological retreats, teaching, workshops, seminars, research, publishing and advocacy.
Currently, the centre has provided a place for Marist and diocesan students to hold recollections and retreats. An NGO has used it to give seminars for rural empowerment. There have been two weekend visits from Nadera parish. There is a massive demand for an ecological centre for us Oceanians. Dawasamu can be a pilot project to replicate more Centres in our Oceania region.
Dawasamu Projects in the Past four Years – (more could have been done if it wasn’t for the Covid
-19 lockdown years)
Our flagship project is the Earthbag building chapel. It was first planned to be a prototype building for a hurricane evacuation centre. Therefore promoting low-cost ecological building for rural people.
- Soil is the primary building material, so one cuts down on buying timbers, reducing the cutting down of trees, and using steel reinforcements and In this sense, it has a low environmental footprint.
- Because of its monolith dynamic and dome design has been proven to withstand category-five It is also fireproof because of the soil properties and because very dense when soaked with water during a flood making it difficult to move. We have proven this by the number of water ponds we have built for drinking, swimming and our future aquaculture projects. The same technology as you have seen has been used at Marist College for raised bed gardens.
Other Projects completed in Dawasamu
- The water supply network of more than two kilometres from the catchment area includes an earthbag dam, a reservoir to the tank near Ratu’s house, two tanks on the old bure foundation and to the
- Solar Power Energy that powers the main
- The new access road that bypasses Ratu’s
- Two-room wooden building for the staff or retreat
- Dining table from our own rein
- Ten garden tables for reflection, meals and recreation around the
- Shower and Toilet for the green (currently)
Future goals for development – Proper boarding eco-home for singles and married couples, Conference Centre and Library.