The PITA-ESCUELA del Río Aguas is a multicultural, environmental and musical project, specialized on
the integral usage of the agave plant and, in particular, the processing of its wood. Located in a small
eco-village in Almería (Spain), we live off-grid with self-sustainable water and power supply.
Our Mission is to preserve and transmit the traditional and integral uses of the agave plant.
Since 1993, we have uniquely specialized in the transformation of the fast-growing agave wood, the wood from the desert, into innovative products including a range of musical instruments and craft articles. By promoting the agave wood with the development of all kinds of applications, we raise consciousness about its potential to be established as a common environmentally-friendly alternative to deforested wood. To reach these goals, we use our products as messengers to spread the word to as many people and places as possible.
In relation to the world wide environmental crisis, we aim, with this project, to contribute in building up a realistic alternative. Framed by a sustainable lifestyle, we offer different agave related workshops and activities dedicated to environmental-friendly, artistic and musical education and we are always interested in musical and educational collaborations.
At a time when water becomes an increasingly limited resource, we believe that it is of vital importance to know how to utilize the biodiversity that can be found in arid areas. Due to its broad spectrum of usage and low demand on water and soil fertility, experts promote the agave as a life insurance plant for farmers living in arid areas around the planet.
Our vision is to give a positive impact on sustainable development in arid areas around the planet.
We want to build an international platform to exchange knowledge and to connect cooperatives, NGOs, companies and individuals for agave related projects. With great excitement and enthusiasm, we see how agave projects already offer hope, prosperity and improved standard of living to thousands of families worldwide today.
In dreaming to contribute in the creation of rural and sustainable employment, provision of food security and sustainable development, our school aims to run training courses for the integral usage of the agave plant and the processing of its wood.
We want to encourage people to spread the word, teach others, and pass along the knowledge about the benefits of the agave.
Asociación PITA-ESCUELA del Río Aguas
Los Molinos del Río Aguas, Buzón 88
04270 - SORBAS, Almería, España
Tlf.: +34/630 66 18 65 (Timbe)
Facebook: Pita Escuela
Wherever our magic villages go, they will tell its story, mediating an important MESSAGE: “In life, you receive more by living with less”
We want to encourage people to spread the word and teach others about the benefits of the agave – to GROW HAPPINESS wherever its used. The WOOD FROM THE DESERT, with its low demand on water, is a great tool to make people think about the potential of sustainable resources.
Used for environmental education, OUR VILLAGES are symbols representing respect to the rights of nature and inside them, they hide a magical secret…
IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS A DRUM
What began with the creation of a drum later developed into a much deeper passion in the integral usage of the agave. Since then, the ongoing research in this area has become a way of life for Tim Bernhardt (founder of the Agave School), who uniquely specializes in the use of the agave wood to give it new life in various forms and uses.
Visit our PHOTO BLOG and get to know more about the historical background of a pioneer way of living….
“On my first travel through Andalusia, back in November of 1993, I got to know Pedro, a Spanish artist from Valencia, who showed me how to make my first drum from the dry flower stems of the agave. My passion for this plant began when I got to know its unique lifecycle and the warm sound of my very first ‘Timbe Drum’. As I was mostly interested in woodwork, music & travelling, I thought that I had possibly found the perfect opportunity to combine my three interests into a way of living.
After returning to Hamburg in 1994, I decided to go back to Andalusia (Spain) to make more of these fabulous instruments! Ten years of drum-making followed in which I made about 250 Timbe Drums, some even used in professional recording studios.
See this TIMBE DRUM-MAKING VIDEO on Youtube! A story about the union between a sound body and the skin of an andalusian goat. The birthday of a musical instrument.
In the following years, I lived like the birds, spending sunny Andalusian winters in the south and fresh German summers in the north. In 1998, I organized my first drum-making workshop and started to pass along the knowledge that I had acquired thus far.
In 2002, I settled down in Andalusia and became more and more interested in the botanical aspects of the agave and its multiple uses. After 10 years of drum-making, I started creating all kinds of different musical instruments and handcraft articles like lamps, masks and ‘magic villages’. Finally, I got to process each single millimeter of the flower stems.
Furthermore, in 2008, I began to settle in Los Molinos where I founded the Association Pita-Escuela del Río Aguas. The Agave school is the place where I now live. The project developes and continuosly doors open for new educational and musical colaborations.
In 2013 we celebrate the 20th ANNIVERSARY of that very first ‘Timbe Drum’, where it all began….”
By Timbe, 2013
Since the foundation of Pita-School, many people have participated in the project to learn or to
contribute with their respective skills. Some of them got more deeply involved with our Pita-Team.
We are very grateful to everyone for making it possible for this association to continue to develop.
Tim Bernhardt a.k.a. TIMBE
“I was born in Hamburg (Germany) in 1972. I grew up in a family where music and travelling took an important place, and as such, I first came to Ibiza (Spain) at the age of only one. Due to my father’s work in several countries, I got to visit and live on the African continent several times until I went schooling for a year in the kingdom of Swaziland at the age of 15.
After moving from Hamburg in 1993, I settled in Andalusia, southern Spain, where the agave plant has been cultivated and used like nowhere else in Europe. The making of my first ‘Timbe Drum’ was the beginning of a great passion.
Visit our Photo Blog for more historical background of a pioneer way of living, which started with that very first drum.
In February 2008, I visited the projects of the NGO Edget Baandnet which was founded by my parents in 2006, a project of great help for disadvantaged children in Awassa (Ethiopia). More Information: www.edget.org
One of the fruits of my work with agave was the foundation of the ‘Agave-School’. Offering a number of workshops, I enjoy sharing my knowledge about the agave and I am happy to have achieved the union of my three principal interests: wood, travelling & music.”
José M. García
Hola, my name is Jose. For many years now, I am connected in various ways with the opuntia (nopal) and the agave (pita) plant. I got to know Timbe in 2008, on an artesian market in San José (Almería), where I was hallucinating with the possibilities of the agave. A little bit later, I made a desert wood workshop with him in Los Molinos. This was the beginning of a great passion.
Due to my studies in the University of Alicante, I investigated a substrate obtained from the agave for the purification of water, what finally was one of the reasons for me to travel to Mexico. There, I got to know the traditional doctor from the Otomí tribe Don Miguel Trejo González, with whom I started working during the period of 8 months. In May 2011 Miguel visited the Pita-School to impart the first workshop for integral usage of the agave and opuntia.
Traveling this path, I have discovered its many uses and traditional applications. I became aware of its enormous potential as a natural, social and economic resource for many people on the planet. That’s why I feel it is important to spread this knowledge, for the benefit of mother earth and its inhabitants.
I decided to write this blog to share this important information with my family, friends and the world:
Diego Chico de Guzman
Hi, my name is Diego. I was born in Barcelona and I had my first contact with this project in August 2010 while I was traveling through southern Spain. I felt the call of the agave and as I got more and more interested in the plant, of course I ended up at Pita-School.
In the school, I got to know Timbe. I did my first intensive workshop with him, working with the wood from the desert. Together with other factors, the possibilities of this plant influenced my decision to leave my urban life and get started on a search for a higher balance in myself and my surroundings.
Nowadays, I find myself living in this oasis which is Los Molinos del Río Aguas and I am now a member of the association. As I am living in one of the village houses, the Casa El Mirador, I am as well a neighbor to Pita-School.
A new world has opened for me. We are living in a self-sufficient house, have begun work on our ecological garden and would warmly welcome you to get to know our paradise.