A conversation with Fatima Nafisi
Davoud Ghanbari: An Important part of the activities of Senses Cultural is to protect the environment and also to promote people and groups who specially go into nature. We believe that traveling in nature is one of the most special kinds of traveling and we educate everyone to know the nature around them and to enjoy it. Now if in between we do some charity work related to traveling in nature, then the two ways of our compony merge into one direction of helping through nature the movements of charity. Maybe we can take Ms Sara Safari as a good example in this kind of help that our compony offers.
In the same way, we have another example with Fatima Nafisi, the girl who’s being in nature is most important. With her partner Roozbeh, decided to leave the modern world and live and have farm in the foothills of the Himalayas. They live a calm farming life and want to share their living in nature with others. The whole of their farming experiment starts with local farming practice.
This is an interview with Fatima Nifisi on the topic of her life in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal. Ms Nafisi has studied in Iran and England. But these studies and attachments to the modern world could not keep her from traveling and visiting nature. Her studies in architecture and sculpting in modern cities with all their tools and facilities could not cover her love of nature. In recent years, Fatima and her partner have begun an organic farming project in Nepal. On a remote patch of grassland surrounded by jungle, their Himalayan farm has become a haven for travelers wanting a nature experience in the foothills of the holy Himalayas. Travelers visit from all over the world, and learn and share nature and farming experiences. This private conversation with Fatima Nafisi can be seen on the the Senses Cultural website
Question: What made you so interested in nature?
Answer: I should say that I have never lived in a city. And in my childhood my family lived in the countryside. I have always lived in nature and around trees. I continue to live in nature today as I always have, but in a different country and project.
Question: How did you choose Nepal?
Answer: Nepal is famous the world over for its mountains and associated nature experience.Mountains towering over you and filling the horizon with their largeness. I chose Nepal for a nature experience within the region and holy culture of Mountain-massive Annapurna, a mountain island shut off from the rest of the Himalayan chain. Somehow I feel a deep connection with Himalayan nature, and its inspiring local culture has brought about profound changes in me.
Question: What is the kind of feeling that Nepal gives you that you cannot get living in England or Iran or anywhere you have travelled?
Answer: There is an ancient culture still living in the villages around where we have built our farm. The people of village Nepal are in general a happy. They keep alive a nature symbolism from the earliest of time,
based on nature symbolism. Being a woman in this culture is educational. Here the symbolism of nature is that which keeps alive traditions of being pure and untouched in nature, because the modern world has not really entered.
Question: What is it about this that is so different and interesting?
Answer: In Nepal nature rules everything. The word Himalayan means greatness and vastness. We live on our farm in this greatness and vastness as a nature experience. And this is why the modern world has not entered into it, Himalayan everything is very large. We have storms that shake the mountain upon which our farm sits.
Question: What did you learn from these high mountains and peaks?
Can you make the Hiking for Phylantropy a brand name for us and our upcoming related projects?
Answer: I learned how to live completely surrounded by nature. I learned how to be true from within, just as the local village life, far away from the many pollutions of city life. The people of Nepal are very simple with the mountains a living part of everyday life. Everyday we can see mountains towering above us, it is probably why local village people are of a humble culture. These are mountain people as distinct from plains people, with a very different culture not printed in books. There are few comforts and hardly t.v.’s. The largeness of nature everywhere brings a different kind of atmosphere in mind and feeling. Himalayan life has a closer life-connection to nature because it is holy. Local people see themselves in terms of Himalayan nature, quite small.
Question: When you went to Nepal what gave you the idea to start a farm?
Answer; Nepal is an agricultural based country, farming is the major occupation here. We travelled for six months in Nepal before we found the hilltop land for our organic farm. We started to use the traditional techniques in this wild environment. But organic is hard anywhere, even here with their local sustainable lifestyle. It is sustainable because it is organic.
Question: for starting the farm where did you start from? And what did you do?
Answer: first we brought water from a jungle spring. Then we cleaned the land which included clearing out twenty year old thorny bushes, which took ten months. Then we planted crops and built a greenhouse for seedlings.
Question: When living in a country like Nepal with the highest mountains in the world, you should like to walk in the mountains.
Answer: One of the likes and attachments to our life here is that you need to walk in the mountains to go anywhere. Our home has no road and is a one hour climb above the nearest village through jungle. We love walking in the mountains.
Question: Tell us more about your Farm?
Answer: It is on a grassland slope at 1800m surrounded by jungle. We have used traditional tools and seeds in adapting the village techniques to our Farm. This tradition and its local seeds have many self-sustaining qualities. We grow rice, cabbages, tomatoes and peas. We also have animals. We have a bull for plowing, buffalos for milking and dairy production. We take our goats to the jungle everyday for grazing, and we get our eggs from the ducks and the chickens.
Question: What made you decide to share your farm with others?
Answer: Our place is very inspiring and we like to share our experiment with those who like nature. From the very beginning, we wanted to share this farm so we built a website and we got to be known.
Question: What do the visitors do when they visit your farm?
Answer: Most people visit Ramche Mountain on who’s slope our farm sits. We have a meditation place to look at Annapurna. Enjoying nature and doing yoga practice. All eat homegrown organic food, cooked on a wood fire.
Question: Where you in Nepal during the earthquake?
Answer: Yes! After three years of Nepal, we experienced the earth quake and after four days we went to the epicenter of the earthquake to help. We brought food, clothes, blankets and tarps.
Question: SensesCultural community has been working on spreading the knowledge and experience about children with mind disabilities specially Autism focusing on Iran. Also the Art exhibition for Autism is an example of this kind of work bringing more money into this group. Would you like to work on this field and co-operate?
Answer:If there is anything we could do, we would like to do it. Special if its mountain oriented in general connected to nature, like presenting Nepal Eco-tour for Iranians. Nature and mountains have a lot to share with anyone who comes.