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PacificEdge | November 22, 2017

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Russ Grayson

WHAT a crew.
Lives lived sometimes far apart.
Linked through bonds of past work together.
Far apart, but still friends.

It’s always good to meet up with friends and work colleagues who lives are spent in distant places. So it was good this Easter Monday to meet up with Tony Jansen, Lisa McMurray and Peter Vail, all colleagues from our days at APACE, a small international development NGO working at the time in the Solomon Islands and PNG.

Lisa, recently returned from a life in Darwin, managed the agency’s engineering projects in the Solomons — remote village electrification using micro-hydro technology. Tony and I worked on the Kastom Garden Program, a food security initiative transferring skills in settled farming (most of Solomons agriculture is slash and burn, which remains sustainable in some locations but comes under stress from a growing population in others) and which involved much train-the-trainer work. That project is now locally managed by the Kastom Gaden Association (customary gardening association). Tony now works in Gambia, East Africa, as country manager on similar programs.

Peter Vail was the finance man at APACE (Appropriate Technology for Community and Environment). Lisa, Tony and I formed our own international development consultancy, TerraCircle Inc, after APACE went out of agricultural development. LIsa now works in Sydney with Caritas, another development agency.

In the photo, we are seen in the Permaculture Interpretive Garden in Randwick, a project of Fiona Campbell (in the flowery jacket) with Randwick City Council.

It was an afternoon of catching up, looking at Fiona’s projects and enjoying tasty orange and olive oil cake before currawongs (or were they magpies?) grabbed them when we turned our back.

(top, from right) Lisa McMurray, Fiona Campbell, Tony Jansen, Russ Grayson.
(below, from right) Lisa McMurray, Peter Vail, Tony Jansen, Russ Grayson.

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