April 24, 2014

Müffadal Saylawala- The alternative truths of a business major

Müffadal, who goes by “Müff”, Saylawala has the voice of a free spirit. A spirit attuned to the freedom of foreign travel and making his mark there.

Müff’s hunger for travel began during his undergraduate college years at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he studied accounting and finance. However, despite his traditional business based majors, Müff says “I didn’t have a traditional college experience, I spent a lot of time abroad and found internships abroad.” Most recently, Müff was in the Philippines and prior to this, Australia, where he did his first Ei apprenticeship.

Müff is interested in permaculture and sustainable farming. While in New South Wales, a place that Müff explains as “the premiere, alternative lifestyle movement in the world,” he was able to marry his love of permaculture and sustainable farming with his finance based background. And he was surrounded by others as passionate as he is.

Just as permaculture serves as a design inspired by nature, Müff hoped to emulate this process in New South Wales by teaching his peers how to create an organic, financial model. “My main goal,” he says “was to change perception in attitude. It was to have a team built around doers, not just talkers.

Müff leads his own life by doing. “I remember hearing about the typhoon in Philippines as the ‘biggest storm that has ever come to land in humanity,’ and I felt so compelled to go help,” Müff says passionately.

“When I first got there, I freaked out because I realized I didn’t know anyone. I had gone there on instinct. But then I met this girl who told me about a sustainable relief project using permaculture. I was very interested and ended up staying with this girl’s family over Christmas so I could get involved with the project.”

This moment of happenstance has evolved into Müff’s second apprenticeship. In the wake of the typhoon, the Philippines continue to struggle to rehabilitate. However, Müff is involved in a sustainable relief project, The Earth Village Project that will work to rebuild a village in what he describes as “the most sustainable way possible in a place of complete destruction.” The project model is based on design inspired by nature, which for the Philippines relief project, is the building of an “Earthship” and “Windship.” Both Windships and Earthships are “super sustainable structures” that incorporate the organic elements of nature. Müff’s main role in this project is managing a team, its logistics and most importantly, “keeping things harmonious,” Müff adds with a relaxed laugh.

When asked where he thinks he will be in the future, Müff is not certain. “I am not entirely sure what is in store for me. I focus on the journey, not the destination.” He is considering, despite shying away from concrete plans, starting a sustainable business. And not letting his fears overshadow these goals.

“I think my biggest fear,” Müff says quietly “is to live my truths within the confines our systems, of the expectations of society.” However, with a spirit strengthened by faith instead of fear, Müff will only soar.

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