Zazriva, Slovakia - 2011

Culhane met the leaders of the Catholic Development Agency Dobra Novina ( in the Mukuru Slum in Nairobi when we were building our digester for the MAC school.  In September of 2011 they invited him to give a workshop at their retreat in Zazriva.  One of the highlights was the initiation ritural when we were filling the digester tank with manure -- the girls on the team, after a talk about microbiome theory and the idea that God speaks to us trough his Creation, plunged their hands in the cow manure and began shaking hands and painting each others faces to get "more deeply in touch with the Archaea, God's earliest creation, transducers of biogas".  It was very moving!

We displayed and demonstrated the use of an Insinkerator food waste grinder for both compost and biogas.

The other essential parts on display are the Zahran tank adaptors from our friend Magdy Zahran in Cairo, Egypt, brass wool for a flash arrestor and steel wool for removing H2S; everything AND the kitchen sink.

The Insinkerator was a big hit with the Catholic Youth Group from Dobrej Noviny in Slovakia; we used it to prepare compost and biogas; hopefully all of Eastern Europe will see its role in environmental sustainability now! Blessings to you and everyone else at Insinkerator!

When the build was done we loaded the system on a truck and took it to Janci's house near Bratislava so it could be put into use.

A letter to myself and the spirit within written at our insinkerator-based biogas workshop in Slovakia

We were asked to write letters to ourselves at the conclusion of the 3 day insinkerator-based-biogas workshop I led at Dobra Novina Catholic retreat in Slovakia ( so that we could keep the good news gospel spirit that resulted from our sharing alive in rough times. I chose to model mine after the letter that the protagonist of Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan writes to himself from Mars in case he forgets his role in helping to save the Earth. Today, just as I have arrived home yesterday from California and from meetings with Insinkerator, and just as I leave for long days trekking to the remote Himalayan villages of Nepal this afternoon to explore renewable energy solutions, this letter arrived by post from Dobra Novina to my home in Germany. How is that for synchronicity!

Here is my letter:

"Dear Unk,

The gospel of symbiosis and what our awareness of the ecologies, natural and industrial, can do to improve the human and non-human condition, was lovingly and well received this weekend in Slovakia. Remember that so that you never fall into the gravity well of despair. Life is negentropic and people are hungry for positive change. The messages you have been blessed to be able to deliver are not falling on deaf ears and far from being met with resistance. They are being embraced, implemented, extended. The good news of how we can work with our microbiomes is getting an enthusiastic response proportionate with its importance.

No preacher crying in the wilderness here!

God has blessed us all with all the materials we needed, in His typical "just in time, just enough, not more, not less" fashion.

That the little shop in the tiny village here in northern Slovakia had exactly what we needed to finish the "Solar CITIES Biogas System" is testimony to His presence.

That Janci developed such enthusiasm and acquired the three IBC tanks and hired the trailer and bought all the parts and convinced his family to let him install it at the family home (and blessed me with the privilege of meeting his family and helping deliver these "real goods"); the success of the Solar CITIES aluminum tab torch demonstration (with the two 1 LED Joule Thief Units and the 3 LED reflector unit) and the use of a yoghurt lid and a spoon, the transport o the NaOH crystals, the success of the CVS disposable camera flash circuit mod running an 11 watt CFL from a drained AAA battery, lighting both the prayer room and my own room for both public and personal observation and use -- all JUST IN TIME -- each hour appointed, each discovery a divine appointment, all in the context of God's love, shines a light down a path that says, "God is here, is real, alive, interactive, nurturing, co-inspiring." Even the lack of traffic on the way to the mountains, the presence and story of Benson from street-life in Nairobi slums to academia, the publication of our own Mukuru slum Kenya biogas work at MAC, the just-in-time arrival at the airport to return to Germany despite the traffic in that direction, all shouting out "YOU ARE BLESSED". Stay in service to God, Unk. Never waver.

You are doing the right thing.



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