January 6th, 2020

The Happy New Year Y’all!

My daughter and son have now come to visit and they keep telling me I need to update. It has after all been a month! Only a few photos this time and Jade said she will make a video for the next update!

Since last time; we bottled and sold our first bio-enzyme cleaners as well as crepes at a market, made and sold our first hot chocolate with visitors to the caves, finished painting the interior and sealing the balcony floor, built a seed starting house, started more seeds and transplants and even sowed some pineapples, bananas and plantains on the farm. I also built a compost bin, built some African style chairs and a few kitchen accessories and planned the building of the East wall. The latter is on hold till my kids leave since it will take up at least 3 days of hard work which I know they are not up for and I want to spend this precious time I have with them doing stuff we can all get into. This does not mean we are totally on vacation but it does mean more beach time!

These goods we made and took to the local eco-concious market... the best seller was the crepes followed by the bio-enzyme cleaners. The cutting boards and spatula did not sell. I am proud of the spatula and we use these things everyday at the house.

A few more projects are in the works at different stages of development: a cistern, garden beds, more chairs, bunk beds, a rice patty, a solar dryer and/or oven as well as a small tub/pool fed by the roof rainwater which was instigated by a complaint from all kids that we need a pool to cool down in! So I said the them, lets do it and we all started digging and forming what will be a semi sunken tub (hopefully with another day or two of work).

My seed starter house was made from recuperated wood and nails from the damaged part of the house as well as $20 worth of green house plastic sheeting.

We also now have our first paying guests staying. We are feeling out how a full household and having one bedroom as a BnB works or doesn’t and make changes to improve it.

One of the big challenges being here in Panama and also in my role as founder and manager of the base camp as it were, is that many ideas and projects that we are trying to develop to sustainable ends are missing materials that are difficult or in some cases non existent in this country at all. For example - garden row covers have been elusive and are such a must for growing good greens for market here... no wonder no one has succeeded ... and that is the blessing – that opportunity and there is lots of this kind of thing I encounter. We need some things brought in and I have to build or have made some other items in order to have these micro businesses thrive. For this I am needing more funds for the community coffers. My personal funds I have been investing in the community coffers is dwindling and we could go far with some more funding or even better people who want to join the tribe! By the way, I have started the process of incorporation through a local lawyer.

Jade and Louca arriving on the boat taxi in Bocas. Family time is full on for another 10 days - yeah!

In the spirit of financial transparency I have kept an inventory of my personal expenses and community expenses since just before my arrival. The community expenses have thus been covered by donations and preliminary deposits by some of the investors and some recent earnings as well as personally what I have fronted for the basecamp development. Jessie is working on a master spreadsheet for simplifying the accounting for the community, its micro businesses and future tribe members. Some of the information, my personal expenses aside, thus far breaks down as:

  • $1548 of split expenses between my personal use and community such as transport costs where it served both my personal and community development and $4911.07 community expenses for a total of $5685.32 USD and $368 CAD. These latter expenses were mostly for building materials, house repairs, R&D, micro-business preparations, hardware, tools, wood costs (we now have an inventory!), the solar system and specialized outside labor.
  • Monies the IPC Community coffer has received other than my personal investment: Micro-businesses income = $92.25 , 4 investor preliminary deposits = $2000, 3 months of trial period fee (Jessie) = $600 for a total of $2692.25
  • The IP Community expenses minus the monies received is what I have put extra into the development and is what the IPC owes me back some day in the future. As of this week that is $2293.07 USD & $368.04 CAD.

I wrote an article entitled Frugality is Eco-logic, that I would like to share and have people co-edit / add too as an eventual guide book to anyone starting similar projects. I have published it on Medium and here is the link https://medium.com/@ivan_19115/frugality-is-eco-logic-347bd66d6785

Please spread what we are trying to do here to your friends and family and beyond and know that we have room for you to come and explore yourself and your involvement in such an undertaking.

Happy New Year,
With lots of love,
Your correspondent,
Ivan Tattoli


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