Archives of IPC Updates
(from newest to oldest)
August 18th, 2021
August is well underway. The summer solstice is past us and the rains have been relentless for the last month. That means our house water and pool are full – yeah! That also means that when the rain stops, the leaf cutter ants come out hungrier than before and I have noticed more damage to the baby fruit trees we have planted along the way – boo! Remember that first jack fruit I planted, which I mentioned was doing so well in the last update 4 months back? Well now it lies stripped of all but its tinniest buds! Usually the trees grow back like in this case, but sometimes they don’t, and regardless it retards their growth and its a bummer! Applying neem has been somewhat successful, better than the other natural methods so far but far from perfect.
This is just one challenge of many. In fact, each micro-business and relationship with the world around us seems to be a continual story of 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. Slowly, incrementally advancing and learning but at great costs and somewhat stressful for me. ‘Una lucha’ - ‘a fight’ in Spanish. Perseverance, tenacity and the putting to question things that don’t work seems to be the only way forward. This is truly pioneering work as solutions to problems in this part of the world have to be experimented with as little has been done – at least in a natural and permaculture way. Its not easy, sometimes it can be down-right disheartening and sometimes there are clear mile stones achieved and sparks of amazement and joy experienced.
We have a few patches of shampoo gingers now blooming
The International Permaculture Community (our intentional ecovillage) is after all still very much in its infancy, with a year and ¾ in. And as I sit here writing and taking stock I am also listening to the Dalai Lama, 2011 healing chant, which reminds me that I first heard it at a small meditation gathering on top of a roof top patio in the burgeoning then tranquil La Manzanilla, on Mexicos West Coast. It was 2013. I made the leap of faith that year to find a home in the South. Thirteen years before that I left Canada for Europe, donning a back pack that shed weight with every country I visited. It also was a leap of faith, a calling, with only $500 on my person when I arrived in London, my trip finally stopped a year later, not that it had too - it could have continued infinitely I assume, but I deemed being in love more important than seeing the rest of the world. That move to Quebec was also a leap of faith… knowing it would all work out, living in a new culture and immersed in a new language. The take: One must trust that they will be good no matter what condition they find themselves facing because their heart is good and they share what they can with the world and the world shares back.
Another coco harvest!
So back to this leap of faith… this project - although there are challenges, the roller coaster is worth it, and its where I need to be. Jessie tells me she feels the same - Yay! I am still asking the universe to make things easier on us though and help advance this project faster to permaculture greatness!
Our coconut crisps and coconut butters are getting good local reviews and are now selling in 2 local stores (Selinas and Super Gourmet! We also sell them at different venues - the monthly boat swap and conscious market the conscious market as well as a few small business orders. It may come soon where demand will out pace our capacity to produce enough which is a good thing for the financial sustainability of the IPC. Here are our Facebook & Instagram links to our cleaners.
We have also sold more cleaners to repeat customers but have not done much effort in sales. We decided 2 months ago to stop production, originally for car troubles but also because we are over stocked at the moment. We are exploring ways to improve the dish cleaner with a lathering agent as culturally most people in the West feel that suds are needed to clean. If anyone has suggestions (beside adding soap nut which was our original thought (when the trees produce years from now)), we would love to hear them. Here are our Facebook & Instagram links to our Bare Necessities cleaners.
I am happy to have gotten some outside wood working contracts and tree working contracts in the last few months too. These have helped balance our monthly budget.
For Keylas birthday in May I built a climbing wall in the food forest. Staying true to limiting our ecological footprint we used real rocks, mostly a type of limestone from the area. Plans for a more versatile in door climbing wall, using similar techniques, are in our minds eye. Keyla was happy with the wall. Bouldering is something she misses from her life in Canada and as a tribe we try to find solutions to the needs of all our members. : )
Keyla busy on the wall
And Eli ... he's taken up skate boarding
In June we took a trip to David for an organic dry bulk foods order which we also distribute locally and I got my residency status on the same trip. Also picked up some vital materials for the infrastructure of the IPC in the short and long term, mainly the best greenhouse screening in Panama for our planned dwellings! Speaking of which, Jessie and I have also been designing a communal kitchen hang out space which will be our first communal building near the eco-village main site. Its a big project with timber framing, wattle and daub, cob and tile work.
In June we also came down with Co-vid. Jessie and Keyla lost their sense of smell and taste and I had fever and loss of energy for 2 days and Eli and Teya had no symptoms at all! If it was not for the loss of taste we would not even have known it passed through us! And it is such a bizarre symptom… not similar to anything else that I know of (are there other illnesses that share this symptom?). That uniqueness raises my eyebrows but everything else just stinks of manipulation. There are too many strange things and lies going on in the world today and many have a financial(profit) component which means one must be wary of them or be a blind fool. And my experience leads me to announce with great conviction that this media frenzy is so convoluted and there are bigger things going on behind the Co-vid ‘masqu-e-rade’!
Teya just turned 1 last week! She is walking super fast, expressing herself in many ways and loves music and dancing and yoga! We made her a busy board from wood and recycled goods which she explores along with her myriad of things and our things to play with. We also gave her sandals and she is always super excited when we put them on. She is also quite a bossy and is starting to climb things like a monkey! Keeps us on our toes.
We had a volunteer Leon from Germany stay with us for 10 days. He had some great energy and open mindedness and we had a good time. He helped put the finishing touches on the new stainless steel coco business table (below) and helped me stay secure while doing tree work.
We have had a few new trial members living with us at the base camp. First with a young man Ryan, a DJ from Virginia who stayed for a week in June and is now traveling throughout Panama and second from a new family - Misha and Niki with Kaia their 8 month old daughter, also coming from the USA, whom stayed for 2 weeks in July.
We really enjoyed having both babies playing in the house and we feel there was a good flow between the families. We shared a few meals together, a few games and movies and lots of discussion and some work. It felt like the beginning of the tribe however Misha has had an operation years ago in his arm and he has been in pain in this climate due to the constant barometer change. He is kind of like Barometer man (new super hero)! They have decided to find a place where the weather is not in constant flux as it is here. Misha and Nikki believe in the IPC and are helping out regardless by ramping up our on-line marketing. They have made some changes to the website and set up a better FB page and put us on Instagram where you can see some videos of our products. Thank you guys! Misha wants to help us make this place a bit more attractive and functional to the modern urbanite and the IPC will therefore accept a small loan for that purpose. We are looking at what options will bring the best bang for the buck. Do you have any thoughts on what should be worked on first?
We were sad to see people come and go so quickly. We are now looking forward to 3 potential tribe to be persons, who are coming between September and December and who are all permaculture believers and there is still room for more! We are in need of more pioneers… its hard to keep up with all the good work going on… looking for tribes people who want to be part of this community and work in the businesses that already are underway, either the cleaners, the coco food stuffs or the gardens or who are ready to initiate something. So if the IPC calls to you, or any other vision – take action toward it.
Lastly, I apologize that there are no video links this time... I am overwhelmed and didn't want to delay this update further.
Your IPC correspondent,
Okra in our garden
Older updates can be accessed on our Archived Updates page.
April 2nd, 2021
This Spring has been Nuts for Cocos!
Amigos del mundo,
Teya has just begun to crawl! One small step for Teya, one giant step for IPC kind! Yikes, I’ll have to start baby proofing the place!
Lots of my time and much of a recent community loan from family has gone towards development of our ‘Cocos por Locos’ line of coconut products in the last 3 months. January saw more experimentation and Chloe made our first sales of coco butter then there was a lull as she left Panama and I was looking for a new kitchen space and accomplice. As I feared, the “aide the camp” never materialized, no one could replace her and no one has, yet. After a month we finally found and are renting a kitchen space – in a home where they bake bread for sale and now our dehydrated goods and baking breads permeate the air! Processing is constantly improving and we are refining products for efficiency sake.. Already I have been climbing, dropping, opening, cleaning, grinding, drying and processing coconuts in various ways and its taken over most of my week. The good news is that we are getting great feedback and people seem happy with what we have been making. Coco-butter and coco-chips are now the main products we are going for. Lea, a local tattoo artist (to see her instigram click here) just finished our logo (the one at the top of this update) and by next update I hope to have news and photos of our products and sales!
Chloe and I back in January experimenting with coconut butter
We have planted approximately 70 fruit trees in the last few months. I am now applying neem to the underside of the transplants so the rain doesn’t wash it off so fast and it seems to be keeping the leaf cutter ants away and the trees are growing better. I get excited when I walk past the first jack-fruit we planted in the food forest, its already over my head! Patiently waiting for another 6 years when it should begin producing its first fruits.
More recent garden beds with pineapples and pitaya and sugarcane in view
Click here to see a 3 minute video I shot in February, mostly on the nursery.
Finally, last week I broke down and got some UV plastic and lined the pool that was giving us problems… now our soaking tub is always full. (smile)
The tribes mischievous munch-kins
February saw the once a year Bocas Marina Swap Market that we decided to sell our bio-enzyme cleaners at. We have boat friends that told us our cleaners work great for boats and we sold all the bottles we brought that day! Production with the Bare Necessities cleaners is high with a steady stream of clean incoming citrus from restaurants however our sales is lacking due to effort in that department. We are now looking for a good Spanish speaker who wants to make a cut from every sale and be our sales representative while we continue production.
This paragraph is a video link to an older video that did not load in time for the last update. Its about how we do our dishes here at the IPC with our bio-enzyme cleaners.
Jessie has been going to Jujitsu classes and I just work. No fun at all! (smile) Well, I guess there are the occasional ocean swims, and game nights in town (Catan, Alahamra, etc…) and of course the ‘happy’ brownies to keep me in good spirits! Eli wants to tell the world that he and his friends got their hair dyed red! They walk like a gang around Bocas. He also painted and worked on his room. Keyla has been doing her PADI dive certificate and is really enjoying it. I decided to go on a complimentary dive with her class, the first dive for me since 2013. The water was perfect and we swam around a ship wreck and the diving instructor Tony (from Panama Dive School) is awesome and brought me up to speed. Lots of things about diving have improved since I took PADI over 20 years ago. I may have to keep it up and go on the clean up dives that a few coral reef restoration groups in Bocas undertake monthly. Keyla is excited to continue diving and even started her advanced course with a night dive coming up.
Keyla on right and a dive buddy on left
Speaking of dives… El Collectivo has been sliding into obscurity in the last month and a half. There is little participation and as I mentioned I have been putting my energy elsewhere. I still offer goods from the farm to the group. There are just not enough people and not enough care to make it work at the town/islands level … I am still on the fence about disbanding it altogether. I will call a meeting soon and see where others want to take it. Tom is super busy building up the recycling business in Bocas and others have moved further away from Bocas town so that it makes it difficult to engage easily. Now that everything is open again most people are either working or on vacation and not worrying about long term collective sustainability.
The family joined the Wasteless world project in cleaning the town and beaches on Saturdays. Tom was able to raise some capital for the extruder machine. He still needs to raise a bit more so if you would like to help go to his in his Gofundme campaign page here.
The Rotary Club asked me to give my input for a community garden project in and a composting project for the town of Bocas by request. That was a month back and I have not heard anything even though the enthusiasm in the room was very high. Its something that will eventually need to be done but I guess no one is in a rush. It seems the ‘do gooders’ don’t move very fast.
I wonder if my last sentence could be misconstrued? I read the beginning of an article from Positive News recently that started with this sentence "Corporate boardrooms were once a male domain – they didn’t call it ‘working for the man’ for nothing." then the article went on to talk about male domination and how women are now a big part of the modern boardroom (at least in England, where the article was written). I was perturbed to hear this sentence and then have the article talk about male/female statistics because I am convinced that 'working for the man' meant working for the higher-ups you could not see and even for working for the government (the bureacratic machine) and basically slaving away for a pittance. Am I wrong? Have I been wrong all this time? Why does the interpretation bother me so? Its like white washing to me. Maybe in some cultures or sub-cultures the expression means/meant different things? Could this be? Please chime in... life is full of these communication conundrums and although it may not seem important its nice to understand how peoples and languages work and how they have been manipulated for better or worst.
Eli found this stone near the caves. A woman in Bocas paints on about 20 stones a month and leaves them all over the islands!
Volunteers are contacting the IPC again and we have had mostly day volunteers (people we meet here who want to help out) and who come for about 6 hours and help plant trees and clean the food forest mostly in exchange of some permaculture techniques and Jessies soul quenching Dahl and coco rice!
Our first sleep over volunteer came in late January for a few days - David – a chef from Columbia. More recently we have had Marla from Germany stay for 2 weeks and she helped lots processing the coconuts with us. We will continue taking on volunteers as we have done before only if those coming have certain skills that are needed in the times they come and all others will have to contribute to the food costs.
I have recently taken coordinates of the different hills on the land around the future site of the ecovillage for a possible data service tower (not cellular service!). Not sure where the finances for this will spring from yet (it will have to wait for more tribes people to show up I think) but this will allow us to have decent communication with the outside world without leaving our haven. Less fuel, less trouble! The idea is to have a clear view to an existing Wimax tower, short wave lengths on a condensed unidirectional beam which we will then convert to a fiber optic cable and bring down to a communication zone (think cyber-cafe meets lounge) where people can plug in directly. This is to limit the electro-magnetic waves. Perhaps a small wifi zone if the tribe requests it. As it stands, cell phone communication is nonexistent to spotty and we want to keep it that way! Be warned - 5G cell networks will seriously tax anyones immune system!
Some red topped wood mushroom on the land
Last month I built and brought soil/horse manure to a raised table bed in town at a friends place who likes gardening and she will maintain some greens for us there as here we still have issues with the soil and I need lots of time to improve it. Already though, I applied some of the compost that we have made here at the farm on a few plants in the garden and the results are positive. For example, we have had some eggplants that were in poor health spring back and give us fruit. Which reminds me … that Jessie and I took a day trip to Changuinola, onto the mainland, for the first time in about 10 months! We went for Teyas Panamanian passport and took advantage of the trip to visit a place Alfonzo had told us about - Don Juan’s water buffalo farm near the border of Costa Rica. We went on a small tour with him and talked farming and we came back with a few new seeds and some of his amazing cheese! Also stopped at the Almirante cacao cooperative and bought ourselves some that we quickly made chocolate with… Mmm. Any how, back to why I am reminded of soil improvement – Don Juan told me that when he first got to the region from the South side of Panama he was not able to grow any tomatoes, most vegetables etc… but with persistence his soil and seed genetics improved and now he produces. Happy soil, happy plants – its a reminder to of how anything will thrive – happy environment, happy beings and a cornerstone of the permaculture philosophy. Thats what the IPC is about – creating an ecosystem of physical, cultural and ecologic diversity where people can gather and feel alive.
Ivan talking with Don Juan after the tour
Your IPC correspondent,
Us on Estrella beach
Older updates can be accessed on our Archived Updates page.
January 13th, 2021
A New Cycle
The crickets and the frogs ushered in our new year. We had a little ceremonial fire with shared intentions around 11pm and we wished each other a Happy New Year before bed.
Planning and maintenance was in the forefront of activities at the IPC the last two months. We planted only 20 trees however we cleaned up lots of the territory and food forest and most importantly started protecting what we have already put in the ground with neem oil on cotton. We have tried countless methods with no success so far and this seems to be working - Yeah! A reapplication is in order, probably every 2 weeks during the rainy season which we are now in the thick of. The marigolds have now sprouted and I am crossing my fingers that we can diminish the nematode problem by using them vigilantly in the coming seasons.
Growing more saplings.
The dynamic at the base camp changed as Keyla and Eli have gotten to bond with their dad a few days a week in Bocas town, leaving Jessie and I and Teya to be more intimate. Also, the teens have a busy social life when not in the holiday lock down and when Eli is here he now tends to lend a hand more readily, especially with his baby sister. For example today he surprised me by initiating the painting of his room!
Yoga classes for moms n babies!
December saw Teyas first baby yoga class! She also tried some first tastes of fruits and she received some books from family. I built her a high chair as she has been very keen on being with us at the table during dinners. She seems to like it. She just turned 5 months and is able to sit up and keeps her balance quite well.
Teya in her new highchair I built from re-purposed wood.
We made some big orders for the micro-businesses. Some machinery for the coco business has come in and we are waiting for some more. In the meantime, Chloe, a friend in town and I are testing products through El Colectivo. Some important seeds and the neem oil of course came in for the farm and I also finally just got a chainsaw to start pruning the larger debris on the land and I’m researching diy mini-mills to make our own planks with.
In December I did some small permaculture planning for friends projects recently. The IPC also sold our first 5 gallon bucket of liquid surface cleaner to a restaurant and we are getting good reviews but sales are still slow. Hoping to hire on a real sales representative who can do it justice. Of course, income in general this year has been more than dismal and I hope not to have as much economic stress in 2021. I wish the same for all.
Click here to see a short video of a small part of our garden (in November), which had trouble uploading last update.
I started collecting non crushed aluminum cans so that I could re-purpose them as part our future roofs. I mention it here only to remind people that re-purposing is a big thing for us at the IPC like I wrote in the ‘Frugality is Eco-logic’ doc in last Februaries post. Since then we have many more things I have found novel uses for such as pvc piping (makes amazing starter pots for trees) and old electric cables (which I slice in two (for yet more cable) to use as rope that won’t decay readily in this environment. I am toying with the idea of having a web page dedicated to this kind of stuff as our re-purpose list continues to grow to help other people and reduce the amount of stuff that just gets thrown out or even reduce the need to buy things in the first place. What do you think? Should I make such a page on the site here – would it be useful to you?
After 4 months of experimentation with El Colectivo as it was, I decided to up the ante and call for regular meetings and look for new members and reboot the way we function. It had been a very loose system of economics before that we are now making it more defined and aiming to at least create some diverse exchanges and reduce peoples monetary expenses.
We would still appreciate a dedicated programmer or team to help build us a custom app that will help make the connections, communication and calculations that are necessary for its smooth functioning, transparency and ease of use by new participants. I already have worked on a detailed program architecture 2 years back along the same lines for the Green Papaya Collective in Auroville, India which interested programmers can take a look at.
Tom from Australia, who has also joined El Colectivo is launching a recycle depot/transformation space for Isla Colon with the local government morally behind the project and the Bocas Unidos group are also helping out. Tom has a Go Fund Me campaign going on right now.
The idea will be to turn all the plastics the island currently burns (and that we sometimes smell!!) into useful products such as ‘wooden’ dock planking, which is already an existing product in the world market but locally it doesn’t exist and he can produce it at a decent price thereby also protecting some of the endangered wood species here which are used for that purpose. There are plans for more products and up-cycling too but this is the main idea.
In the last two months we have had a spike of new interest from persons around the world about coming to visit and perhaps join but no one has actually committed to coming yet. We look forward to these new energies materializing in the flesh. And in the coming months I want to begin work on a camp ground (with covered platforms) with a communal kitchen play space somewhere near the edge of where the eco-village will be situated. Jessie and I had fun designing the kitchen space and I look forward to tweaking the design and eventually building it. So, this is a CALL OUT to those pioneering kindred spirits that are ready to build and live in the woods! If you think you are ready for such a challenge, come and start your 6 months with us and join the IPC tribe!
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite local wild berries - Clidemia Petiolaris.
On a different note about things at large: In 2020 I have witnessed many Youtubers complaining that their content is being deleted and/or demonetized. There is no doubt an information war going on. That is why I’ve opted to use Bitchute. But what prompted me to talk about this was actually because I have come across websites that claim independent fact checkers were used to verify the information however there were no points for or against the facts or arguments nor was it even made public who these fact checkers are!? This should be a warning for anyone, its just one persons or groups thoughts or opinions or facts against another group but without actually speaking about the points in question how can anyone get to decide for themselves? I say, if you can't follow the points then you also can't believe the fact checkers. I noticed this especially on Facebook links. So much power, so little responsibility!!
Transparency and accountability. These are buzz words that in real life still seem to be ignored. That is why its paramount that everyone become vigilant. I have been aware of this information war going on for 20 years now! If you do not know what I am talking about please feel free to write me … and I will respond to you personally or if there are enough people who want clarity maybe I’ll add it to an update.
Sending lots of love for 2021,
Your IPC correspondent,
Older updates can be accessed on our Archived Updates page.
November 15th, 2020
Good day, to my brothers and sisters around the world who dare to dream!
Despite the current surreal situation that oligarchies are putting us through there is always hope. Sometimes it feels that humanity is evolving and other times like we are sliding backwards. The battle rages for freedom and sanity against giant corporations and corrupt governments. It used to be the kings and the church and now its primarily the multinational corporations but they stink all the same. I was crying foul since the inception of this plandemic, calling it another strategy to consolidate power. And I now feel justified in my convictions by the multitudes around the world who have their eyes open including those international 'Doctors for the truth'. I applaud them for 'speaking truth to power'. Power over and all its systems of control is a healthy human society's worst enemy. Ignorance, fear and separation are some of its tools. That means knowledge, courage and unity should be ours. And of course we must stay vigilant like in The Who's timeless song - 'Don't be fooled again'!
The night rains seem to be back in the Bocas archipelago. It has been a few weeks that we have not had a good down pour and this evening as I write the pool has refilled to the brim in a few hours. As I reflect on the last 6 months, the ups and downs, its calm and stressful moments, I wish the rains could wash away once and for all the ignorance of human kind.
Home sweet home
Well, whats new in brief? We started living on the land just over a year ago now! Airports and international borders have recently re-opened! Quarantine is done but a less restrictive curfew still prevails - from 11pm to 5pm Panama wide. The IPC has some more micro businesses developing and perhaps has instigated a larger movement. A few people are interested in visiting as potential tribe members. We lived in Bocas town for about a month and now have a vehicle. However, the biggest new thing in our daily lives is Jessie and I's, 3 month young, baby daughter!
If you remember, the public buses stopped running completely in March! As months went by, Jessies belly grew, the plandemic still had locals gripped in fear and there was no easy way to communicate in case of emergencies and no transport! One day a pregnant head-bent Jessie walked to town in the heat and then we broke down and looked for some sort of vehicle as it wasn't safe to continue in that situation. We settled on a golf cart which was both practical and fun but costly even at the Co-vid monthly rate of $400USD!! Then about a month away from the expected birth date, Jessie rented an apartment in town, mostly to be close to the hospital in case of complications with the birth, so we hunkered made a home away from home and prepared. When the time came, that was around midnight, it was just the two of us as the rest of the world slept, in a timeless space and the birth went smooth and both recovered quickly :-)
Navy Seal Teya
Teya is strong, intelligent and healthy. She has been sleeping well at night. She is aware of her surroundings and does not like being on her back probably because her vision is thus limited and also perhaps because her arms and legs flail endlessly as she tries to swim through the air. Communication I feel is the key to a healthy early relationship. Watching her eyes and listening to her sounds lets us know what is usually going on. She is already telling us when she needs to pee or poop and she waits as we bring her downstairs to the bathroom 8 times out of 10! She likes pushing her legs to stand and she is starting to lift herself from belly position with her arms. Who needs Netflix when one has a youngling!!
Teya on vacation!
It took us 3 months of hounding and playing with the local bureaucracy to get her birth certificate! Why? The short answer: because we did not use the hospital and opted out for a home birth. The long answer will come in a few months in the form of a pdf, as I've made my personal quest to strike at the ignorantum birthing practices in this country and to ease the bureaucratic pettiness.
Haha! Its not all fun and games!
We recently buried the placenta under a Mamey Americana tree in the food forest and had a little ritual for Teya. And last week she got to put her whole body into the ocean on her 3rd monthaversary. :-)
Jessie, Keyla, Eli and I all wrote something each and shared it at the ceremony.
Well, soon after our last update, things got stranger here as the first cases of ‘the virus’ on the islands started showing up. Oddly enough, I have met a few people who believe they had it already, as early as January. Regardless, the new cases brought fear into the hearts of many. Most people became more cautious and the rules from officialdom kept changing on us. So much for our cry to open up normality! I have heard of 4 deaths in the last while - 1 overdose and 3 supposed Co-vids but in the end, the families conceded that they were from other causes - primarily from diabetes.
Only in the last 2 months have things become much more lax. I feel like its the people waking up here and then the government following suit. Tourists are now arriving again in limited numbers however just last week floods in the mountain regions took out the roads, leaving only air and boat traffic to resupply goods and bring in guests. Also, the Panamanian government is asking people coming into the country to have a 48 hour prior Co-vid 19 negative test before flying. I don't think that Bocas town will swing as much this coming season as it normally does.
Overkill in the empty Bocas Town park
What started off as a collection of citrus peels for our natural cleaners business, turned into collecting all kinds of food wastes from a fruit and veggie store in town, giving the vehicle another justification to stay in our lives. I mean eventually we will need a community vehicle, I just never thought it would happen like this. We changed to a cheaper but better vehicle - a pick-up, last month and just this week we purchased for the community a used Toyota Four Runner to satisfy those needs.
And there lies one acute dilemma of our human economic games – balancing our needs with our environmental footprints. However would our dilemma be so acute if society really operated in a free and collaborative way? There would be no hoarding, no slavery or usury and no ownership of property in the way economics deems necessary today. If we are left as a free population with the practice of collaboration in order to live sustainable, abundant and happy lives then our island chain would be a wonder indeed! Any place on earth under such circumstances would be wondrous - the pinnacle perhaps of human possibilities - in harmony, fostering personal and public creativity, efficiency, eco-sustainability and happiness. It is really a matter of 'state of mind', one that people in power must fear the most because there would be nothing left to promise or to control with.
On one of our hikes in the North West of Isla Colon.
Going back to the vehicle conundrum then; in this case the vehicle is justified by facilitating the creation of compost for the food forest and gardens while saving the grocery stores garbage collection fees and reclaiming an otherwise lost resource, for bringing all kind of supplies and people back and forth for the IPC and our micro-businesses and 'El Collectivo'(which I'll explain later), and finally for carrying us as a family for now, as a tribe later, to town and the beach! So it would seem acceptable enough by most peoples standards. However, if we were 'truly in this together', in a collaborative (and possibly money-less economy as I promote), there would be so little waste to begin with because everyone’s needs would be met more locally and production customized to them, so that, as per our example, very little would rot on a store shelf. And where there is waste it could be dealt with closer to the point of pick up - as lands would be stewarded collaboratively and a location to compost would easily be found (which pricing and the idea of private property ownership now makes impossible here), to have a small composting unit (or still many smaller units), located within bicycle distance and thus the vehicle or gas used would not be needed at all. Also, where large objects would need to be moved, shared trucks could be lent out just as a library lends a book, preferably with tech that is green (bio diesel, hydrogen fuel cells, etc…). And cycling or busing would be the norm, even in the remote areas of this island. I would gladly give up a vehicle if such camaraderie 'all for one and one for all' style economy was common place for everyone and I would thus concentrate my time in other things which I believe is of importance and that I enjoy, such as managing the food forest and fruiting the world! And each person will find a passion and do some duty (work needing done) in such a world, which we call Shawoho (shared work hours) here at the IPC. As it stands, that sharing of responsibility, sharing of resources and sharing of the wealth is to be an in-group affair - primarily for the tribe here until the outside world or enough networks evolve and are ready to live in such a state of vital energy (Prana).
As things on the islands slowed to a halt, we got busy in becoming food sovereign. Lots of headway has been made on the food forest and personal gardens. The ants are still our biggest menace and we have experimented with lots of natural methods with little success. I will probably order in some natural pesticides of retanone and perithrium in the coming months, in the meantime I still experiment. The other problem is something invisible affecting the plants, most likely from the soil, a friend told me its probably nematodes. The stalks of most (non-native) plants here grow out of the soil and often the plants then wither and die. I thought it was going to be a micro business here to grow tomatoes however only 1 of the 80 trial plants succeeded – the rest just shriveled up! When I get these two problems under control we can move forward with a more efficient and environmentally sustainable option than buying such veggies from the mainland. Of course, eating more native plants and those who do well here, is also a continuous theme. We now have 4 varieties of tropical spinach on the go. In fact, we are now self-sufficient in tropical spinach, hot peppers, plantains, bananas, culantro (a local cilantro flavored herb), star fruit, guavas, coconut, okra and ginger. We also have other greens like mustard and basil but lost lots due to water management when I was busy with baby stuff and living in town.
I am having video upload problems with bitchute so after 6 days I have taken this link down (and sending people the update without it) :-( I will add it next time. Its a short video tour of our gardens near the house as they are now.
In the last few months I have also bought some more saplings to add to the food forest and sold some saplings I started too. This last month I did some landscaping and palm trimming - a 'petit' income for the community. I also volunteered as the camera man for the entertainment at the annual chocolate fair. I will link that video next time as it is currently being edited.
Alfonzo and I letting our beards grow!
In the last month of Alfonzos stay he worked on plant identification and completed a Power Point presentation for the IPC to help teach people about the flora here and I have uploaded it to the website as a pdf here: Common Plants at the IPC. We also made some new garden beds and in his last weeks started planting together the 150 cacao that I had been given by a good friend in town who had gotten them grafted for another project that fell through. They were getting too big for his backyard and so I made a few trips with the golf cart and happily started putting them in the ground here with some bat guano from the caves mixed deeper in the holes to boost them once they settle in. That was 4 months ago and although many of them have been devoured by the leaf cutters on at least one occasion, most of them have survived the onslaught and are growing back nicely. Alfonzo has now wrapped up his bike trip through the USA and is editing his videos and has begun his Masters in Education back in Spain. His website again is: http://www.thehiveofscience.com/projects/ofpeopleandearth/.
Jorge helped out in a different fashion. He came a week before we were staying in town for the birthing, so he also watched the place as the family stayed in Bocas and I came to work at the farm 4 days a week. We did work together on the farm, finished the cacao planting, harvested fruits and did general maintenance. He planted coffee and helped clean plantain hill. When we ate together we would talk afterward about the world and the land he grew up in – Patagonia, Argentina. He liked to read and often borrowed my bike to get to town to talk to family. He could have gone to our communication hill but he also wanted the cardio. It has been about a month that he left here for town to work with a mechanic for some cash and he flew back to his hometown a few days ago.
Can you spot the odd one out? I think it might be Jorge on the right! Mucho gracias Jorge por tu ayuda!
Now, Joel, a friend from Quebec and the father of Jessie's teens has just stepped off the plane and will stay on the island for a few months. I am hoping more friends and possible tribe members show up soon to really get this party started!
Electric light has come to our roadside! Knowing the lights were going to go live one day I plotted to find ways to block it from illuminating our windows but in the end the light isn't that intrusive at least in the rooms we are currently sleeping in. Thank goodness that they give off an orange glow as opposed to the hard white lights.
We have managed to play a few of the board games we invented with other people and have since finalized the Q2020 Bocas rules, cards and board. People seem to like playing, nonetheless, I do want to find a way to speed it up (takes 1.5 hours to play) and we have to still laminate the board. Can't find Mac-tack down here! Anyone have some they want to send us?
Q2020 Bocas board game ready to play
Even in the lock down we got to the beaches about once a week. And when sit down restaurants were open again we did the day hike to the Piscinas and then on our way back home ate at The View restaurant @ Bluff beach. The food was decent and reasonably priced and the ambiance - seeing many other people also out enjoying the late afternoon - tasted like freedom. It was a glorious day.
Mamateya on Bluff beach
On one of the more daring family outings we visited Dashaina & Jamie and family on their mangrove islands for 4 days while Jorge watched our place. Jamie likes to use solar and human power for his boats and the day we went the sky was gray, a storm was coming from behind us and we even witnessed a giant water spout – a life first, as we paddled with our legs as hard as we could! Here is Jamie's world. There are so many interesting characters spread throughout the island chain. Each their own unique story and take on things. Its a culture of diversity. :-)
Eli hanging over the waters at La Piscina
So, what is 'El Collectivo'? Four months ago, when it was clear no one was going to come to live at the IPC anytime soon, I started toying with the idea of starting up a shared economy on the island chain, the goal; to become sustainable and economically autonomous. Maybe you need to know something first - the islands economy is almost fully dependent on tourism and you can imagine how hard the plandemic has hit that sector of the economy. Couple that with a corrupt or incompetent government and the people have been left mostly to fend for themselves. Both business owners and all kinds of workers have felt the squeeze - many of them unable to work. Furthermore almost everything is brought in from somewhere else and there are very few local industries. Opportunity in contrast abounds. We could produce all sorts of food stuffs, fibers, services and building materials. For those who know me, this idea of an alternative economy (money-less, credit-less) is not new for me - been working on it in various forms since I was 19 when I first investigated the inconsistencies of human civilization. In fact the IPC operates on similar methodologies. Needless to say, with no one coming to help (volunteers or future tribes people) I started looking to attract locals to the idea of regional economic sovereignty and this happened to coincide with us starting to live in town, which gave me a chance to intermingle more and I had down time and mobility to get things started. It was a shift in energy.
As you probably can gather, marketing is not my forte. I launched an announcement only on Whatsapp to about 50 local contacts or so and 12 showed up for the meetings in Spanish and English. Teya was born the following morning! So El Collectivo is also 3.5 months in the making.
Exploring the options in the current economic void at the first meeting. El collectivo was born out of the second to last commitment level on this list.
A few people have participated in the experiment since. We have 30 or so people on the group of which about 8 really are doing things. Its too little diversity and not enough commitment in time however even still there are some benefits.
Sloth overlooking our cleaning and clearing on plantain hill.
On a section of the IPC land, El Collectivo work parties have planted 80 coffee plants, some sugar cane and many more plantains and squash. In fact I have lent out what we call 'plantain hill' to the new economy. I have offered what we have been blessed with from the land such as avocados, chupa chupa, limes and plantains mostly as well as making available our liquid cleaners to collective participants. The latter IPC biz has taken a hit due to Co-vid regs that dictate what cleaners to buy. I will see if I can't get ours on the 'official' list. Another farmer, Javi - from Up in the Hill has also joined and is active and he has been offering katuk and chaya and biriba fruit, mostly what he has in abundance.
Chloe and I started a coco project in the collective, transforming coconuts into various food stuffs. So far we have made cold pressed coconut oil, coco butter, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut flour, coco cheese and fiber peat that those participating have been able to enjoy. We are toying with the name 'Nuts for Coco' as a little brand to start selling some of these products beyond El Collectivo and turn it into a micro-business. This may come as a surprise to many of you - the products found on the shelves of most stores here are products coming from the USA or Asia. Canned coconut milk from Thailand is the norm and full of preservatives to boot! Culturally working with cocos is considered undesirable and also the ease of the can and the high wages in tourism kept such a local industry from developing yet it is an easy early business to start up as coconuts are omni-present and we are foodies! The facility and equipment however could be a challenge without some investment to ramp up production and make it profitable, so if anyone wants to help out with that for this business please contact us.
We also did some gleaning as a collective but no manager has come forward for the project. Of course there is room for much more possibilities in 'El Collectivo' but as I happen to be the instigator and no one has yet stepped up in sharing the roles of organization, I fear it may fizzle out. I plan to hold a meeting and potluck to see where people involved want to take it and see if we can get more people participating because in limited numbers and hours we can only do so much and I personally need to survive and keep the budding IPC community in the forefront of my actions.
From a local artisan at the 'Conscious Market' I bought this beautiful fimo art decoded re-purposed jar, one of a kind! Since then I have stumbled upon reishi, false turkey tail and magic mushrooms! Serendipitous!
Evolution takes on a whole new meaning when one is tending land. What was there yesterday is gone today. Every living being making its mark upon the world. The movement of seeds via plants, animals, insects, winds and waters alike paint a carpet of potential on the landscape. Each plant with its 'raison d'etre', finding a niche. Watching what comes up naturally, what replaces what, is fascinating to me. The old or weakened, falling and making space for the new. This endless march of rebirth; as leaves fall to the litter, as termites fell trees, as ants compost canopies and the transformation of one form feeds the birth of the next, the scenery changes rapidly. Here, all year long, there are flowers, then fruits depending on the species. The rain and sun do their share of moving things along too. Add to that my pruning work, my weeding, my planting and what others have succeeded to do before me that I tend. The super fast growth of flora in the tropics and the animals and insects that eat it all - living together in constant unfolding patterns, like the mycelia growth in the soil that keeps it all going. Its a complex network that is never the same from one moment to another. And this dance is here, in front of me, day to day. A visual reminder of the glory of nature, the glory of everything alive, of our own complex vibrating energy and evolving bodies and the glory of life. Its a work of art that I get to watch whenever I want, or more often the case - whenever I take a break from 'doing' or the in between 'doing' - walking here and there, remembering what was in front of me a week, a month, a year ago.
For this, and to each one of you, I am grateful.
Love and strength,
Your IPC correspondent,
Older updates can be accessed on our Archived Updates page.
May 26th, 2020
Creative Structures in the New Normal
Greetings. We hope that this surreal period in human history has not been too difficult for you and your family the last two months. It feels, at least here that there is a light at the end of the viral scare tunnel. Some services in Panama are opening up again. Still there is much to woe about in what has happened in the last few months here but especially in the rest of the world which I will touch on just a little nearer the end.
First though, a big thank you to Eric C. for your generous donation. We have decided your funds will go toward the purchase of exotic fruit trees for the community which I pîck up this Saturday! :)
The last month has delayed the update first due to 2 weeks of grey and rain which meant little electrical power to work with and of course its been impossible with the strict measures here to work in town. Once the sun came out I rewrote the update and then my laptop screen totally gave out ... its still on the mend and I have found an alternative for now ... so I am sending this update to you almost a month late, but better late than never. A lot is always happening at the IPC, quarantine or not, and these two months have a heavy theme of ‘structures’, theoretically and physically. Hope you enjoy our news.
Its done! The East wall is built! That gaping hole into the house and psyche - a thing of the past, and the bats have found new homes. A lime wash will be next and at some point in the near future I will secure part of the 2nd floor of the South wing that had rotted before my arrival and when that is done, construction on the base camp will stop for at least a year, (or atleast for me), while we tend to more important matters such as eco-community planning, more planting and especially making micro businesses that support us financially!
The East wall timberframed
The interior view of the new East wall
Since the last update, we have also planted 52 trees and numerous other plants, the kitchen wall has a new menu board, the West exterior wall was cleaned and painted, maintenance tasks were revised and lots of movies were watched after sundown.
I added an open sided greenhouse with roof for our tomato bed as the pounding rain was taking its tole on the young ones. It will also serve to hang the indeterminate (vine style ever flowering) type of tomatoes as they grow. If this works we may need to replicate this model many times to achieve abundance of certain vegetables and fruits that can’t handle the amount of rain we get.
In April I started building the communication hill tower in a tree and a small hut \ bar to do computer work just below it. In fact, we are sending you this update from there! I use my one and only old cell phone as a hotspot and Eli was super happy when I finished so he could watch on-line videos again that the quarantine measures have deprived him of. In general communications are easier now however we still have no signal at the base-camp ... and, I am ok with that.
Alfonso smiling from the communication hut all built of recycled materials (except a bag of concrete) including a tiled floor, with the hotspot up in a tree and part of the platform completed above.
Our vegetable beds are producing ample basil and jalepinos so we have begun selling it in small quantities in town via social media, delivered by bicycle during the allowed hours.
The eco-village elements were drawn up and completed for the permaculture master plan – yay! And as we were mapping we realized that the triangulation was off by 5 to 10 meters per way point and found out it was due to the inaccuracy of the compasses we were using on android phones : ( , and thus I don’t feel good about using it as a master plan template, without better precision! Jessies Iphone appears to have a better compass but I am not going to continue mapping till we find a non digital one, which under quarantine has proven to be quite a challenge to find, will have to get one shipped.
The Eco-village elements drawn up and spread out on our table, as pieces to appproximate size (5mm per 1 meter), everything from cob ovens to ampitheaters!
On one of the rainy mornings, when the variables were just right, I put aside the physical work and got to making a new board game for us here. Its a board that can be used for many known games however I also created a new one from it, a board game version of the famous ‘capture the flag’. We have started testing it out at night and making improvements to the game and rules as we go. Eli also got us to start another game from the board which we are finishing a map for, which is about getting supplies from town out of quarantine curfew, a mix between Scotland Yard, Pac Man and Monopoly. We will need to find a good name for it – your submissions are welcome.
Our Capture the Flag board game. You can create a new map every game!
Alfonzo is working on updating our Master Floral Chart that I began when I farmed 10 years ago in Quebec. This will eventually be quite a large compendium useful for farmers and botanists alike. We would like to make it an online database and would need some programming expert to help us... any takers?
The pool filled up and overflowed many times now and we have all had turns enjoying it on rainy and sunny days alike ... check out Eli in the last clip of this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rxXG46pbxg , which Alfonzo made about his time here at the IPC base-camp!
We met some new friends, a couple and two French travellers, who due to the quarantine set up down the road as house sitters on a beautiful property and they have helped make this period easier and more fun. They had a car until this week, and often we have gotten supplies and had a few get togethers since they arrived. Not long ago, they invited the kids to a birthday party they organized for a local 6 year old boy who had never had a party of any kind. When restrictions are lifted it will be sad to see them go.
This month the IPC also hosted a neighbours gathering at the base camp. We served home made empanadas and devilled eggs to families here that afternoon and ate, talked, played ‘put the beak on the toucan’ and some card games. It was a good way for the children to all intermingle and having Alfonzo with us helped break the language barrier between the adults further.
During one of our meetings last month we updated the contract ... (not yet changed on the website) concerning the maternity leave starting time, from 2 months to 3 months prior to the expected due date of birth, mostly for Shawoho purposes. Why did this come up, you may be wondering? Well Jessie is going to have a little girl come July!! And its gearing up to be a base camp birth!
Not as impressive, but also interesting, we challenged ourselves to have our first 100 meter diet meal (with only items from the garden and land)! Dasheen, plantain, coconut soup with a *sustainable palm heart and fresh greens salad with a papaya dressing. We only cheated with some salt!
And more news on the food front - the return of frying pan pizza nights... still looking for a lid that fits my pan but in the mean time my neighbour lent me the perfect sized lid and here we are about to dig into the feast!
Here you can see Alfonzo and Dominique joining us.
Dominique left a few weeks ago to find some paid work closer to town. His help was appreciated here especially with wood work, where he added some new benches to the base camp and repaired some windows frames.
Alfonzo and I broke curfew two weeks back to protest and bring a message to the mayor of Bocas. The protest had a dismal showing, due to many things... it thundered showered and we gave short notice to most people and I still don’t use FB which apparently is how most people, sadly enough, communicate here. We were also a small nucleus launching it and put very limited time into organizing the affair. Even so, we heard back from some, spoke to others face to face on the way down to town and must mention that there are some people who I have lost respect for ... it was a good way to test the mettle of connections here, to separate the paysanos from the sheeple.
Even so, after delivering our document to the mayors office, we happened to be directed to a meeting of big wigs with a representative from the central governments’ ministry of health where we made our case to be considered ... we are asking for the local economy to open up again, reduce the strict measures here on the archipelago where there is not even one reported case. Here is the document we wrote in English and Spanish.
The representative who is also a doctor was much more understanding, and in my opinion better informed, than the local authorities which were also in the conference room. He said he would bring up our points and the document to the national government. Overall it was a good exercise ... and we will see if anything comes of it.
I had made an error of facts during the last update when I had written that everyone in Germany is being screened for the virus. A thank you goes out to Kristina in Germany for setting the story straight. The actual information that originated in Spanish newspapers was that Germany was testing more people overall because they tested those that had even mild symptoms which allowed their statistics to be more solid and allowed them to deal with the virus earlier, therefore having less casualties as well. In contrast, in other European countries, when people called the hospital with minor symptoms they were told to call back if their symptoms got worse. Therefore, many of the lighter cases were never reported in the statistics. This means we will never know how many people actually got the virus, dealt with it on their own and did not report it. Furthermore, in more recent weeks I have learned that in some countries such as the US there are incentives for doctors to claim the CoVid-19 as the cause of death even when it is not true and also a heated debate in the Italian parliament in late April, that argued that the death rate from the Co-Vid 19 in their country was over exaggerated, where the deaths were actually caused by cancer, heart attacks etc... and apparently most of the death certificates indicate this however because many of these were found to also carry the virus the media and others in government have used it as a scare mongering tactic and it means that the virus was not the actual cause of death.
Meanwhile, G5 infra-structure is being quietly put up while people are distracted and bought by the media virus frenzy and government hand outs, to stay home! This is not a theory, it was happening before the quarantine and it continues to be implemented. Surveillance to the max! There is a good documentary on the subject I saw last year, made in recent years, definitely worth watching called 5G Apocolypse - The Extinction Event by New Earth Project. Although the beginning seems quite alarmist and the editing of the first minutes that nouveau popular ultra hyper cut style that I detest, the rest of the documentary is super informative.
A beautiful truebug
We miss the ocean, so last week we broke curfew and hit a beach on one of the other islands. Ahh, free living! I wish free living for all souls.
May the Force be with you!
Your IPC correspondent,
April 4th, 2020
BCV & ACV (Before and After CoVid)
Good morning world!
We hope you are not caught up by the media frenzied infection and we hope that everyone is fairing well under the circumstances. Of course this corona-virus has affected the state of affairs in the country of Panama as well but the tribe is relatively unbridled by it. We have some food resilience and are still celebrating life the way we should be - communing with nature, working together, playing together and planting the seeds of the future. We are sharing and hope people will share in this time of need. It will be a human created tragedy if people are starving due to a flu epidemic scare – but more on the virus later.
First, thank you Daniella for your recent donation. It is much appreciated.
One of the clean up crew in our vegetable garden ... the infamous dartfrogs! Some with beautiful reds and yellows too
Good news on the communications front. We have located a hill on the land where we get cell reception so one day in the future we can have a communications hub without too much expense. This will allow more possibilities for tribes members and we have already started using the spot during this lock down situation.
Connecting remotely with family and friends on the newly dubbed Communication Hill
The volunteer situation at the IPC base-camp has sky rocketed ever since our Work Away host profile went live a month ago, even in the depths of the virus lock-down we’ve been getting interest. However, no one new can come to the islands right now due to the lock down so we probably won’t see more volunteers until this blows over, unless that is locals want to join, which could very well happen under such political economic conditions!
We have had several people stay with us and at mid month we were 8 in the house, puttering around getting things done and having some good social times! Currently we have two volunteers, Dominique; a realist painter from France/Panama and Alfonso, a biologist from Spain, who is doing a South American tour by bicycle and making a video on alternative living and climate change – see http://www.thehiveofscience.com/projects/ofpeopleandearth/ . And before them came Nabil from Kenya who stayed a couple of days, Christophe and Louisa from Switzerland who decorated the interior windows of the house for privacy - with scenes of island life, and Chris from the USA, who worked hard and got the permaculture master plan started for the IPC!
Chris, Christophe and Louisa in front of one of their works of art leading to the bedrooms
My worker to be tribesman – Celestino, decided to quit a week into the trial period! He was discontent that I would only give him 30 hours a week of work. He had this attitude despite him not showing up for many days claiming sick. So we squared up and I have not seen him for over 3 weeks now. I have a feeling we will have more history ahead together but who knows what that will look like now. One thing is sure, I am not hiring anyone else for a while who is not already interested in the project itself.
Staying fit, hiking and bringing wood from the farm for various projects
Its been a relatively dry month and we had to pray for rain on a few occasions and most times we were blessed thus! March saw the patio completed, a more detailed map and mapping of the land has been started, more wood was brought back to base-camp and turned into furniture and utensils and in preparation for the East wall rebuild. We have also made and planted two new garden beds and have identified and found more useful plants as well as recuperated materials from the abandoned fallen house on communication hill. The bath/pool is also almost complete... missing only an impermeable coating which can only be ordered in from the outside and so this probably won’t come for months at the Co-Vid rate.
Here is a video I made of us completing the patio with a tarp mixing concrete method : https://www.bitchute.com/video/wgJtC52ha6zU/
Dominique has added a few beautiful sturdy benches to the base camp.
We fully explored the second cavern which stretches underground for a few hundred meters and I feel confident in giving tours through it. We also had one really perfect day at the beach just before the beaches were closed due to the virus scare! Of course the cancelling of activities for the kids due to quarantine was difficult for them but at least with more people staying at the base camp we have had fun dynamics here and have had quite a few cinema and game nights through it all.
Rrrr, its a pirates life for me ... and 'I never make the same thing once!?'
This update would not be complete however without a little word from 'moi' about z 'virus' scare that has swept the world!
Government regulations and peoples fears about Co-Vid here (and possibly everywhere) are unfounded and quite alarmist. To give you some info of how the backward officials in the government of Panama are dealing with it:
The government sits in the capital and everything they say goes for the whole country despite the vast difference between regions and city life. Officials, from immigration to police are not well informed or perhaps many of them have very little education. These are two problems I've noticed so far rear thier ugly heads from this panic. Not understanding how the virus spreads or what it really does or even why the government tells workers to undertake different tasks is a real red flag when it comes to bureaucracy and I have experienced and heard from others I know here stories of such ignorance and power egos that I don’t have the time to share in detail!
In the last few weeks though in general, people here, and most businesses and workers have been forced to stop activity and people are only supposed to go out to shop for food and pharmaceuticals and not linger, with a curfew of 2 hours per day, those hours depending on the last digit of your identification. The beaches are closed, with a $500 fine for abuse and jail time if breaking curfew. Fishermen can’t fish. The local buses have stopped working. Thank goodness I have a bicycle as do the two volunteers. Alcohol cannot be bought and people cannot just chat on the street or even on their phones.
I say... always look on the bright side of life... Child slave labor! Watch out! Economics is devolving into the feudal ages - has been for a generation now. Nah, it's actually Eli, so bored from the virus scare that he is sawing out a spoon to be!
In Panama a few days ago, there were just over 1000 confirmed cases of the virus and over 2000 in jail for breaking curfew! It is not clear how many of these are in the capital or elsewhere but these numbers are publicly published. Here on the islands the measures are the same even though we have a much much smaller population and we have not even one confirmed case yet. And starting from today, men and women cannot go out on the same days!? Draconian and really dumb measures that I would expect from the planet of the apes council or the Taliban. What about those who require another family member to drive them? What about those who live from day to day? And those who do not have internet or radio such as many indigenous in the countrysides? How ridiculous is this going to get and how long will people stand for it? If they are really in fear then they will stand for it longer but my hope is that people eventually wake up sooner and the scare becomes history.
I must admit, I am not watching or knowing the latest on the corona virus in the world, I only catch snippets and that only by accident, however from what I have understood by the statistics and how they are garnered and how viruses work, only a small percentage of the population is actually at risk – people with immune deficiencies and therefore the very elderly are more at risk, and of those who get the virus most survive and get through it, and these are just the reported cases, all the less severe ones are not even reported in most countries! For example, that is why Germany has such low numbers, its screening everyone, so that even those who have it but don't show symptoms or are mild are counted and in other countries its only those already sick who are in the stats. Co-Vid 19 is thus is not worst than the regular influenza apart from its speed of spread. So, this virus is by no means the zombie apocalypse or the new black plague. With our knowledge and sanitary ways, even the black plague, if it ever came back, could never hit us as hard again. The truth is, there are more people that will die this year of malaria, dengue, heart disease, cancer, alcoholism, vehicle accidents, starvation and other influenza's than the Corona Virus could ever hope to claim. Note that many of these ‘big killers’ are human caused and could be prevented. We allow people to drink themselves and smoke themselves to the grave so why don't we just make this virus legal too! And although an unpopular view with many, we are infact animals and it is important in this physical plane to keep evolving the gene pool as a species and infections do this on a biological level... lets work with nature... not war against it.
Therefore, in taking in the whole situation and in my humble opinion, the only sane way to really move forward is to not panic about the virus spread. Allow people movement again and allow the virus to take its course while protecting those who wish to be protected by letting them self quarantine and giving them aid to do so - that is, by providing what they need delivered via the non infected, to their doors.
We know to be statistically true that the viruses effects are less damaging in the long term than the effects from the measures of the virus scare, so how can governments continue to justify such measures? And if we get back to normal, will governments continue to ignore the larger ecological and social injustices and concerns the world over which need interesting mass coordinated world efforts to succeed with no ego or money making madness getting in the way?
Lots of amazing insects and animals to discover and keep safe
And this scare will and already has started to create an economic meltdown and we should take this time to reflect on ourselves and our friends and see what is really necessary to live well and find ways to waste not, want not and be frugal and find resilience in networks that don't want the status quo economic model but who do want health, abundance and happiness for their populations without jeopardizing the earths eco-systems ... and its possible... I repeat - its possible! If people stop thinking the problem is too big and start working together, helping each other and putting in place new avenues for their livelihoods we can be resilient. Find replacements for your pollution oriented habits - everything from flush toilets and chemical hand sanitizes to industrial cow meat and sprayed strawberries or anything you end up having to buy in the first place and we can turn this inferno into paradise, one that humanity has only ever dreamed of.
Keyla, Alfonzo, Dominique, Jessie and Eli dining out on our new patio
Well here, at the IPC we are doing our part for the latter and hope that the borders re-open and people networks rise up to bigger world challenges. In the meantime we are living in the countryside and are less troubled here by the fear mongering and can take in a breath of fresh air and the view from our roof top – with Venus bright in the West, the Southern Cross constellation steady and a beautiful backdrop of the milky way on clear nights.
Thai roll productions! Still eating well.
Found another wild edible berry that tastes pretty decent :) Alfonzo is looking up its scientific name as I send out this update.
Write you back in a month. And please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you.
Love and strength,
Your IPC correspondent,
March 6th, 2020
Grow, Grow, Rest...(repeat)
The giant caimito tree, better known in English as star apple, has fruited and we are now harvesting and gorging ourselves on the ones we can reach! The tribe became more food sovereign last month with us now supplementing our groceries from the garden and gleaning and incorporating more forest foods in our diet. I’ve also started sourcing more food plants in the region to make us even more sustainable in the coming months.
2 young rose apple trees
In February, participants got their first payout from the community income over the first 3 months. It was a token gesture as total income was less than $300, however it was an important step to put into practice the sharing income model we have developed at the IPC and Jessie and I were excited to do so. We have registered a Panamanian corporation for the operations of the community and as a way to structure the cooperative.
The chalkboard was getting too full and was not a dynamic way to prioritize and keep everyone in the loop, so we started having weekly meetings and made a giant calendar that we drew up on a kitchen wall which now serves as a more detailed schedule of happenings and things to do so that everyone participating can do so more autonomously.
On the farm, I cleaned and saved a plantain hill (about 60 plants) and discovered a cave and two small springs. More wood has been brought back to the house and more garden beds have been made. Keyla and I acquired more bamboo that is now drying for coming projects and Jessie has been experimenting with plantain flour as a marketable product.
One of the newly found springs
The Tribe spent more time with families and friends that share interests in Permaculture and sustainable living. Eli and Keyla spent hours playing while the adults talked! One family in particular has lived on a nearby island for 18 years and have an established permaculture food forest and cafe/guest stay. Javi there, who is as passionate about seeding the world as I, also started an organic farmers market in Panama City 4 years ago. Check out their website here: http://upinthehill.com/ Another family visiting the islands whom normally live in the mountains on the mainland near Santa Fe have a cacao project and massage healing center. You can learn about them here: https://fincaflordelavida.com
A parade during carnival week
We also took a morning of down time to explore Hospital Point, on Solarte island, by snorkel. The day was perfect and there was intermittent coral and some schools of fish to admire.
Snorkeling spot at Hospital Point
Well things aren’t all rosy. Community income last month was practically non-existent for a number of reasons; lack of certain materials have kept us from bottling the cleaners until this week so promotion was also curtailed and we have had several computer issues that have delayed events. We are finally up on Airbnb but have not yet gotten guests? Looks like I may need to register with a few more sites which takes time as I can’t do this kind of work from home. Not sure if I have mentioned this before but we are limited by the lack of network around the base camp and also have to juggle with the local transit system that runs between 6:30AM to 7PM intermittently. Until we have more tribe members or more clients we can’t consider getting our own motorized vehicle. The thing that bothers me the most however is the smell of burning garbage on days when the weather blows it our way from the far off dump! Not sure how to tackle that problem yet... ideas are brewing and I am open to hear yours.
Experimentation is welcome here and we have a few experiments on the go ... curing bamboo, seeding trials and best practices for our garden beds to name a few. We learned how to climb with ‘manejas’ ropes and harvested a bunch of cocos with this tool and technique.
Latest coco harvest!
There is a new web page on our site! Its the Offerings page, found under the community tab, where we now showcase services and products we are making and selling. And I’ve also updated the Participants page to include Jessie (and children) whom are now officially tribe members!
Click here to see a medley of short videos from the last month.
Lately, a lot of attention has been put toward making a cafe sit spot in the back of the house and as of this writing the platform where a table or two will go is half complete. Also for this base-camp cafe project and beautifying the house we cleaned and painted the entire lower wall of the exterior back, made signs for the cafe and had an artist volunteer from Chile create a beautiful mural for passer by’s. Her website is http://pactaluz.com.
Thank you Coni for the beautiful mural
I’ve been desperate for more hands for the heavier work so I finally hired on my indigenous friend Celestino for a month, with the intention that he becomes a trial member after the 4 weeks of paid work (30 h/w), so in the next update I’ll let you know what his future intentions are. In the same vein, Jessie and I created a Work Away host profile and the moment it was up we had 3 potential volunteer requests! So ... tune in next time to find out who came and what happened!
Lots of love and strength,
Your IPC correspondent,
February 7th, 2020
Bienvenidos one and all!
We have unofficially opened up our doors to paying guests and are working on an Airbnb page this week. Last month we were blessed with a family of 3 visiting from Quebec for 4 days followed by a wonderful French couple for 8 days and we also had my kids here... it was a full house! And with Fabrice & Camille, - Jessie, Kayla, Jade, Louca, Eli and I ended up cave exploring, playing games, working and sharing some nice meals and conversations together – a glimpse of the community spirit I am hoping will blossom as people come to stay more long term.
Thank you Fabrice and Camille for your stay and help.
With my kids here, we spent time exploring the island and enjoying Bocas more than ever before... it was like a vacation, even for me! We ended up spending chill times at Mamallena - a Bocas hostel hangout and hit the beaches too. One day we decided to trek to Bluff beach from our house through the jungle paths and thanks to a little help from a native boy our adventure was fruitful. I was super sad after dropping Louca and Jade off at the airport in Panama ... those 18 days went by so fast and I am unable to fathom when our paths will cross again!
Bluff beach sand castle ... part of this castle was still there a week later!
Back at base camp, last month, we tackled some more house repairs and made improvements such as screening the balcony and fixing the bathroom water leaks, we have half finished the outdoor bath/pool, ramped up the liquid soap production, made a wooden Chinese checker board and did more Permaculture research especially on local plants. Our guests started a picture mural wall in the living room / dining hall which is a beautiful addition ... there is room for others to add on and elaborate ; ) .
A recent photo of the living rooms; note the murals and the African chairs.
Building the outdoor bath/pool.
More seeding and planting has been on going. Started two new small patches of bananas and other tropical food on the farm as well as adding to and maintaining the back yard garden. I was excited to stumble upon a few cacao and molly apple trees that Gordon and Lal transplanted on the land 15 years back. The cacao trees will need pruning as will an ancient plantain field on a hill further inland... I am asking the universe for some energetic volunteers to take on that task with me in the coming weeks.
Happiness is a green thumb.
This was taken with a hunting camera... I was hoping to catch some bugs in action yet I only caught myself tending the covered raised bed we started 10 days ago. Despite persistent bug attacks the plants are coming along. This batch will be to supplement the community food stocks.
For political reasons we are using Bitchute as our video platform of choice and in the same vein Telegram as our primary communication hub. Here is a closer look at the seed house & raised bed
The screened balcony.
One morning I walked by some garbage. Shit, someone had off loaded at least one pick up full of junk on the land! And there was more garbage up the farm road on both sides (so I wasn’t the only farm affected) ... after an hour of emotional distress, I decided to take matters in my own hands. I talked to all the neighbors concerned with access to that road and bought a chain, a lock, made keys, mixed up some concrete and up-cycled some garbage to make the posts for a barrier across the road. Wow, writing it like that makes its seem like I did it in a day but actually it was an intermittent process that took about a week. I also denounced the dumping to the authorities which I doubt will do anything worthy but I needed to try. I found out that the price of garbage pick up for some is too high I found out that in the countryside people bury their own or burn their own and few get it picked up ... but in the towns people don’t have the choice and some don’t want to or can’t pay for the municipal sanctioned garbage pick up and dump so there are black market dumpsters who do the job for less in town and they find out of the way places to dump. Its sad to think how stupid humans have been and how caught up so many people are in the status quo! Its reassuring to know that consumerism can’t last indefinitely and that it has only been about a century that we have started producing things that can produce long term damage (plastics, nuclear, chemical pesticides etc...), so we can start improving by not playing into the same game of ‘convenience first’. Anyway, in the coming weeks I should take a day and go through it all, salvage what can be reused and dispose of the rest but I am still peeved that I have to clean up other peoples shit and pay for it! So far only one of the 3 neighbors have offered me any recompense. Now at least that there is a chain blocking the road it shouldn’t happen again (in my backyard :-| ).
I hired Celestino for a day and replaced part of the farm fence along the road to stop cows and unwanted visitors from just sauntering in. The land will need to be surveyed before the final purchase and at that point we will look at fencing the rest. This time we used barbed wire and living fence posts but I really dislike barbed wire ... maybe it is the best choice here? No stones to be found, maybe a certain type of bush but it would need to be super dense, not spread or get too tall and be suited to this environment... anyway if anyone reading has any ideas to replace barbed wire please let me know.
I am re-linking my recent article on Medium - Frugality is Eco-logic, as I would appreciate some feedback from those of you who understand the evolution that must be woven into the fabrics of our societies. https://medium.com/@ivan_19115/frugality-is-eco-logic-347bd66d6785
Jessie and I continue to meet new locals... some of which have good information and resources to share. One such encounter occurred when all the kids went for a surfing lesson. I talked for a bit with Nestor, the captain of the boat and I talked for a bit. He has a large variety of tropical fruits and plants such as Durian and Salaca on his farm on a nearby island. Yeah!! I have been looking for such plants and was afraid I had to make a trip to Costa Rica ... so I promised I’d purchase at least 200 plants at $2 each which is a good deal for everyone. Of course its still a bit premature... so I haven’t gone yet. The Permaculture plan is only in its infancy, no soil tests have been done nor changes to the land such as swales or legume plantings, or even deciding where such a food forest would be best ... but LET ME DREAM! Perhaps I should start a small section anyway while waiting for new tribes people and investors to get serious and bring their own flavor and light to the IPC.
Your IPC correspondent,
January 6th, 2020
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,
December 7th, 2019
Poco a poco... slowly but surely...,
The Jumanji room and the fig tree that pushed its way through the floor is no more! After weeks of waiting an excavator finally came and tore down the Eastern side of the house. Yay for progress! Now I get to deal with the challenge of building a super good wall for a minimum price to fill the giant gaping whole in the house. Its all slowly getting dealt with though – the securing and making safe the base camp has come a long way.
The Gaping Hole
I’ve jacked up the floor to the new mini-balcony so the next step will be to remove a few panels of the South wall, then build the East wall which is now temporarily covered to keep animals out.
The Eastern Ruins
Some days are overwhelming and I am learning to be less stressed about the giant task at hand and about the risks involved. Its an adventure, a costly one for me and one which I hope will bear abundance and ease for many in the future. I am committed to making my life here and making it beautifully enjoyable and am hoping I don’t need to return to work in the North for at least a year, if ever. Lots of small products and services are in the works to help support livelihoods ... a bit more time and investment and they should start to bear fruit... literally and figuratively!
I injured both my feet on separate occasions, once in town on an iron rod sticking out of the side walk and another on a rusty nail while I was distracted cleaning up the debris here. Neither have slowed me down much but it made me think and appreciate the other things besides work in life.
Bluff beach on the 3rd of December
I took a day of r&r (rest and relaxation) on Jessies birthday. We rode bicycles to the beach and we all hung out in Bocas town after 6!! The day was gorgeous and Bluff beach is really nice... actually reminded me of some beaches in Kauai! We will investigate a supposed 45 minute walking path to Bluff from our village through the forest in the coming weeks. Going for a weekly outing to some beach has been put forward as a new tradition that must be practiced!
Despite the good food at the Om East Indian restaurant in town, which I sometimes use as my office, there are some things I miss from India that I just can’t find, like some of you people... and some goodies like dosas – so I have so far experimented with two batches that apparently Jessie and her kids also like. For those unfamiliar, dosa is a style of pancake made of a mix of fermented rice and lentils – so its also a complete protein! We also made coconut cream with local coconuts we harvested that is exquisite, especially in a chocolate milk. Mmmm. Its incredible to me that all the stores sell coconut milk and cream that comes from Asia in cans?! Another opportunity for the community perhaps?
First batch of dosas
Jessie and Keyla have been helping loads, especially with all the painting. We now have a beautiful blue bathroom with it’s matching composting toilet, white walls in the hang out spots and the balcony floor is now a mandarin color and its sealed so there’s no more white dust kicking around!
Reducing the number of termites and bats has been a dance we do in waves. The ants for now are less of a problem as they act as a clean up crew... We’ve researched that nematodes can exterminate a population of termites by eating them but haven’t found a way to acquire them yet and the locals here think I am crazy for not using pesticides. Any ‘diy finding the right nematodes’ etc... that any of you have experience with, please let me know.
We have decided to turn one of the rooms into an eco-rental in the near future to off set the expenses in beautifying the base camp until we have many more tribes members joining us to fill the space. Check out the view from the future sleeping quarters in the photo below. And see some of the progress from 2 weeks back on videos at: East Side Down , Cleaning Up , Eli of the Jungle & A quick tour of some of the base camp in the last week of November 2019
West view from bedroom
3 weeks back I installed a solar panel that allows us to charge the battery, cell phones and laptops by day and have 4 rooms lit up by night. So far its been working well for us.
Wood concerns in general have taken up a large portion of my daylight hours in the past few weeks. With a large chunk of the house down I have been recuperating wood from the house for repairs, construction and firewood purposes. There is also a giant pile of garbage ready to go to the dump... this will wait however until I have completed rebuilding the East wall.
Cleaning and doing a triage of everything recoverable with Celestino
And just after our last update, I also walked the land with Nyopi and we saw a downed Sapote tree that he estimates de-rooted about 6 months back... it had some termites but most of the wood was good and since I can not invest in a $1000 chainsaw at the moment I commissioned him to cut the wood and save the material for coming projects and business projects here - plus Eli was bugging me for a table, so now we have a rudimentary one!
This wood endeavor has been a steep learning curve and has still cost a bundle - about $600 so far! The wood is still a good deal for its quality and the timing for cutting was dead on but the timing for everything else was a bit off. Also, I had already committed when I realized that it would cost me more than I had planned because the local way of calculating cubed feet for pricing is not scientifically cubed feet at all - I believe its linear actually! Then there was the issue of having someone transport the cut wood out of the jungle, which was looking to cost just as much as cutting did but the guy who took the contract kept bailing on me so instead I have gone with two workers to put the wood upright with spacing, in hopes to cure and dry them in the forest. I have taken some of the pieces back to the house but I don’t have the man power or want to pay for more wood costs if I can help it. Hopefully I will have more hands to share the load in a few months once it dries and becomes lighter to carry out.
Sapote cut and stacked to dry
Ideally we could use more committed tribe members. We will start a Work Away profile soon and see if we can’t drum up more interest from the many travelers whom pass through. Anyway, back to the wood - it is a very beautiful, dense, heavy wood and will need to be turned into usable pieces – some destined for the balconies, some for furniture and others for future projects such as a communal timber frame kitchen on the land or even some for possible sale to recoup costs if other business avenues are not enough to sustain those whom are here. I think my cheapest option will be to get a small chainsaw and order a portable mill (as no one here is familiar with them) and then a planer to do it all ourselves.
Another crazy thing is that the wood in all the hardware stores here is strictly pine and cedro, coming from other places and other countries! Some locals and natives still use the wood from here, which is best for longevity and less costly if you do the work yourself, not to mention better in a global environmental sense. The woods in general in the tropics are super dense and therefore heavy and are not that easy to work with but they last long if you cut them just after the full moon (a period of about a week per month) and let them cure for two months which the remainder of the wood now cut, will do.
Some of the seedlings have sprouted and will soon need to be transplanted and I am refraining from planting much more until the beds and a nursery are in order... that could be weeks from now.
Often the priorities change as things pop up. For example, out of necessity to get on the roof for the solar panel, I built a ladder with some bamboo I had brought down a week earlier as a barrier to the entrance of the land. I then added the remaining good part of the aluminum ladder, the half that was not crushed when the East side of the house came down, to the bamboo ladder to get the 20 feet we needed. That took up half a morning. It is a permanent fixture for now.
Scoring the bamboo ladder
I also experimented on the roof with a ‘too good to be true’ diy signal booster and spent $20 on materials to no avail. Having no internet out here is one of the harder realities. We have no signal on the land and in the village where the house is the signal is super low and spotchy at best. The community will want to have a communication hub at some point and for now it seems its not possible without a $15,000 USD infusion - according to the local internet providers!! If we do have enough signal close by maybe a professional signal booster for $600 could do the trick... but money is tight and I can’t afford to try such things out on a whim. We will continue investigating options and any ideas are welcome. Ideally in the future we will have a fibre optic line as we are opposed to cell towers encroaching our air space.
Two days ago I planted my first plantains on the farm as well as bush whacked some new paths with Celestino, my 26 year old hulk native worker – he is very easy going and we have had a good time together when I hire him. He told me he would join the project - join the tribe but he is only on the island temporarily working for money as he has a place on the mainland with his mother and extended family in a cacao collective.
Exploring new pathways on the land (from closest to farthest Eli, Keyla, Ethan, Ivan)
The wood project has forced me to know the farm better... the land still has potential although parts near the front have almost inaccessible slopes... fortress IPC! The soil needs improvement but this was expected already. Although there is a lot of different things going on, I feel its slowly coming together.
More acquaintances and local friendships have been made in the last weeks too; one family gives us bananas now and then and another one brought us a batch of homemade cookies last week. We have sourced local plantains and citrus fruits and scoped out some of the other fruit trees around and Jessie and her kids are starting to meet other home school and unschool families in the archipelago.
Keyla of the jungle and Celestino guiding us near his village land
If you have enjoyed this update, please thank Jessie for having kick-started the updating process two evenings back. She also started a Facebook page for the project. I am now looking for someone who wants to take care of this whole updating thing altogether.
Loving energy to you,
Older updates can be accessed on our Archived Updates page.
November 12th, 2019
Writing from my restaurant office in Bocas,
I have had many feelings in the last three weeks... from desperation to glee, from disillusionment to steadfastness. Good surprises and bad. There is nothing simple about this undertaking and yet there are many hidden beauties and adventure. I think my biggest concern is still financial.
There is also the balance of the house versus the rest of the project. It has overshadowed everything until this week. As the house gets reinforced, secured and cleaned I am starting to think about the land and permaculture community to come and the micro businesses to pursue to make it possible. There is some comfort to be had and different opportunities for people who come in having a deluxe base camp (the house), and yet it was not on the original agenda and therefore is a larger hidden cost in the plan. I have invested communal funds of $3000 USD so far, much of which are tools to be able to repair the home and some hardware and materials. We have termites to contest with as well as ants and water damage to name the big ones. It is getting easier daily but some of these things will not be regulated under my watch as I will be shifting gears to other necessary engagements. Regardless, I am always puttering around and have really only taken 1 morning off since I have arrived!
termite nests and rotten wood in the kitchen
replacing the middle wall with concrete with my nieghbor
kitchen wall finished for now
I picked up Jessie and Kayla and Eli her kids 3 weeks ago and on the way back went to Malena and in Las Lajas where we picked up stuff Georgia and I had left there 2 years ago. It was good to be reunited with some treasures; a dutch hoe head, the fermentation bible, 2 hammocks and kitchen stuff to name a few of the dearer things. It was great to see Anna, Lisa and Gama again. Jessie and I and her kids enjoyed the beach for the first time since I landed and it was grand!
It has been great having them here with Jessie and Kayla helping out loads. We had a hand from Alias (a plumber from Sweden) for one day too this week which was much appreciated but he seems to have disappeared!? Ethan is now in Bocas working and we meet up from time to time to discuss future plans.
Eli playing while Jessie rests
Kayla and I working on our first harvest
There is still a big part of the house to deal with – a gaping hole in fact! I have asked for an excavator to come and knock it down and twice now the operator has engaged a date and hasn’t shown up... perhaps tomorrow?! Once its down, we will scrounge over all the debris and pick out the good wood for other projects, the electrical cables etc... to reuse and them, then remove the debris and build a new wall – reducing the size of the house to normal.
Preparing for the tear down of the rotten side of the house
Recouperating as much as possible
Another ongoing thorn in my side has been the drinking water. We get it from a spring that has a tiny reservoir about 20 minutes into the jungle and up a stream, and since I have been here the line to the houses in the village never works! We have tried a few things and now until the neighbours get involved I have resigned myself to fetching the water for the household every second day. One neighbour doesn’t seem to care one iota and the other has tried a few things but they often have more pressure than us and anyway they tend to drink the rain water collected in their tank which me as a purist finds hard to swallow.
The back wall had an entrance that was unusable and unsafe
The back of the house with the new wall and one of the two columns that reinforce the roof
Yesterday we started planting seeds that I have had with me for years and seeds that good friends Julian and Sophie had left over from their farm in Quebec. We are still looking for good heirloom seeds – especially tomatoes and certain greens from the North and of course all the variety of fruits, nuts and greens from down here. Scouting the latter is set to begin in a few days as I have set up a day hike with an indigenous man who will take us to his village and show me the plants he is intimate with.
Bamboo planters with soil from the land mixed with various composting materials
Today I hope to complete the small solar system so that we can have some light at night and charge devices by day. We bought a generator a few weeks ago but we rarely use it... I needed it for the power tools mostly and we charge our things at the same time. We have been frugal and we sort and collect many things from the site and have already reused much. Especially in the last week, each time we feel we need to buy something I often find alternatives with what we have around – for example, transformed bamboo off the land as seeding trays and piping, used coconuts for bowls, scouring pads and food. Everything has a place and a reason! Efficiency in the chaos... its a good starting ground for the permaculture community to manifest from. Even the expenses of the solar system and generator weighed over to maximize our efficiency while being ecology minded – we will be using both systems to help us on the land in the future once this house is on the grid – possibly a year away due to legalities.
We have painted in a black board!
Would you like to join in this adventure? We have rooms! Its a work in progress but I guarantee you it won’t be boring.
With aches and pains and smiles,
October 22nd, 2019
Base Camp Begins
The nights are alive with the sounds of music!! - The frogs are croaking, crickets chirping, the owls chime in from time to time and then other unfamiliar jungle noises also emerge from time to time. The wind rustles the leaves and the rain falls from time to time, all a part of the cosmic metronome of the new life in Panama.
Its been a week today that I arrived in the country and it has been a fruitful one for the development of the IPC. I came down here expecting to be alone in this endeavour however when I got off the boat taxi in Bocas town in the quiet early Wednesday morning, I met Ethan, another Canadian passenger from Toronto of all places! He has so many common aspirations and came to Bocas following a job offer that never materialized. So I took him in as a WWOOFer later on that day and he has been with me this whole week. Ethan, is now 100% into the project but will have to leave at some point to earn some cash to come back.
We quickly established ourselves on the house in Colonia Santena that the IPC is leasing with the farm/land. We have no electricity here and no signal on the land and my battery is shot, so this update will have to be extremely short as I am doing this during precious daylight hours in the town of Bocas! More will come with a back log of photos/videos in the coming weeks when I feel the basics are taken care of for our new tribe members who are showing up soon!
In general though we have been concentrating on making the house livable. It is in massive disrepair. Water damage and termite damage are the culprits but also bad roof design and neglect for the last 8 years. There is still much to be salvaged because it is a big house and we are cleaning it daily, demolishing parts and repairing what we can. Ethan and I celebrated a few days ago when we collected our first water from the roof in the freshly cleaned tank! Little by little we will make this place the base camp it deserves to be for the IPC! Today, we are on the 2nd day of the internal plumbing. Its not easy but its worth it and I feel alive in this pioneer element.
So far it looks like we will be able to save 4 small rooms, 1 medium room and one large room as well as two patios, 1 bathroom, a kitchen/dining area and two common living rooms (open).
The neighbours are friendly as always and seem happy to see us doing stuff with the place. An electrical line has been promised by the beginning of 2020 by some private electrical company and new poles have gone up along that road so the house may have grid power in the coming months. In the meantime I am deciding where best to invest the little monies that have come in for the communities and a small solar system and generator may be in order, which can be used on the main land after this house is attached to the grid.
The land itself seems to be left alone except for some fencing that has come down and a party spot/dumping ground near the entrance of the farm. At least this is all I have seen so far from the dirt road, where I go daily now to fix the drinking water that used to run down to the 3 houses easily. I cleaned the tank but have had trouble filling the line which is submerged most of the way for at least 1/2 a km! I will try priming it with water in various parts tomorrow before unleashing the next backed up water in the tank.
Got to keep on moving!
With lots of love and hope,
June 4th, 2019
Hello fellow dreamers,
I apologize for the long wait in the update. I have tried to write 2 updates in the past 3 months and each time dramatic changes in our situation outdated my message... in any case things are much clearer now.
Immersing myself fully into Auroville in the last 6 months has been an awesome experience however I will not get into the details now. Overall, the ups and downs culminated in deep clarity! I have decided that although I will return someday for a few months to learn more and help with some unfinished business, I will definitely not make Auroville my home. Georgia has in contrast decided that Auroville will become her new home and thus we have seperated (remaining good friends). She will not be investing or participating on the ground with the development of the IPC but may act as a liason within Auroville.
I am steadfast in the dream of manifesting the vision that is the International Permaculture Community somewhere in the tropics, sub-tropics soon! Panama is still the most promising on my radar and I am now looking again at three properties in that country. However, I am (and some other investors are) not fixed on any one location and therefore if YOU have any place that you are most excited about, that matches our criteria - lets have a chat in the next few weeks before I make a final decision!
The next few months I will be working and seeing family and by October, I am hoping, I will be on a land somewhere, starting off the pioneer year and observing the place and region for our permaculture plan. Are YOU ready and willing to join me and co-create?
There is much preparation to do before the trip. I will also be using this time to publicize the community more through official channels which I have waited to do because of our indecisiveness in the past - platforms such as the FIC and GEN networks, in order to reach out to people who are actually seeking to live in intentional communities and thereby attract a commited tribe. I am still looking for investors too, especially for the basic infrastructures.
With lots of excitement, love and gratitude, namaste.
August 28th, 2018
Hello fellow dreamers,
I apologize for the delay in our update. It has not been easy for me to grasp our next moves and convey them to you until now.
Georgia and I have decided that we will give the established community of Auroville in India a chance as a possible future home for the two of us. Auroville offers similar ideals to the IPC and is a working eco-village where we can participate right away - ‘plug & play’ as it were, and where we will learn much from. It is the largest intentional community in the world, founded exactly 50 years ago. We will be living there from this coming November to May 2019 as a trial run.Why you may ask. Establishing a new community is time consuming and takes a lot of effort and although I feel I have the energy for it still, it has been difficult for Georgia to get behind the project 110% so she kept her ears and eyes open for alternatives. Auroville came into our knowing in May.
Giving it a try also makes sense because we intend to have a child sooner than later and want him/her to be brought up in a real collective atmosphere. Joining this community will be quicker than manifesting the IPC. Even though Auroville is established (and in some cases despite of this) there are some major challenges to examine before we make a final decision in putting our roots there. What ever the outcome, in the very least, we will learn more from the experience.
It is too early to see how this adventure will shape our lives. Auroville as a future home or as a catalyst to refine our own definition of the IPC and establish ourselves soon after in the Americas are equal possibilities that may arise from our visit to India at this time. As such, for now, this website will continue to keep the IPC alive as the world needs more such beacons where like minded people can coalesce.
Furthermore, the land we choose for the IPC in Panama has much potential and I for one will help support anyone - YOU, who wishes to continue where we left off. Please get in contact with me so I can be of service in that process. Communal funds might also be available. We are also interested in hearing from you about other potential places.
Georgia and I hold you all deeply in our hearts and wish you all a beautiful end of summer and fall.
With lots of love and gratitude
Older updates can be accessed on our Archived Updates page.
May 6th, 2018
To our growing (small) Tribe and supporters,
May day morning, at the crack of dawn, I found myself up on a hill overlooking the North Atlantic and watching a Morris dance tradition transpire as the sun rose. Jim, one of our investors and a good friend invited me and it was wonderful to witness that jolly crew and its traditions. It reminds of how lucky I have been to be privy to many small groups of special people all over this planet. These mini communities finding place in the whole. Little beackons of joy in a dark storm. The IPC is personal to me; its an urge to manifest a very bright beakon on fertile ground ... and my roots are still stretching, still feeling around for land - So what does that make me? A coconut? A mangrove?!
May Day Morris Dance 2018Well, Georgia and I are now back in the North working and spending time with family and friends. The next few months will pass similarily as we plan our next stages of this adventure.
We are currently in negotiations for a piece of land in Bocas Del Toro, on Isla Colon. Its a good location and although the land has some challenges we believe it to be a good place to set down our roots with diverse possibilities for the community to be self sufficient and still be close to civilization, for those healthy exchanges. The owners appear to be decent folks, share our values and are selling at a decent price! So we could have a land/home as early as August! That is super exciting for us! There is a bit of a risk due to legal concerns during the first year so we will not be investing too much into it, however we will be starting the Permaculture Master Plan and who ever wants to live simply with us that first year is welcome to join us.
Contingency: If for some reason negotiations on this property or the first year trial doesn't work out, we will be sailing away from Panama. There are two destinations which have peaked our interest. Columbia and India! I know... I know... sounds odd, however there is a very interesting and dynamic community in India, Orville, already 40 years plus established and very large with pockets of similar minded people and although I enjoy being a pioneer and think it is important to propogate intentional communities worldwide, it would be easier in many ways to jump into one. Georgia and I are going to do more research on it in the coming month. If Panama becomes our home I suggest at the least to go and check it out for a month and glean and learn from their experience! As far as Columbia; is it a logical next place for us after Panana as it is a nieghboring country, much more affordable, just as beautiful, more easily asseccible than India to most of us involved already and the culture there is more bubbly and diverse than Panamas. Let us see what the universe has in store for us!
Today I also sent out the 2nd part to the community building exercise 'Individual values, group values' which was interesting and fun to compile. When I hear back from those who have participated (6 of us) I will post a visual of our collective visioning in the next update. Which reminds me to let you know if there is anything you want to share - some inspirational stuff, some stuff about you, visioning collages...etc to send it too us and we will post it on the website.
Here is a community collage I made a few months back
With lots of love and gratitude
March 30th, 2018
To friends in the
Its hard to not turn this update into some personal blog for me - especially when this past month has been so trans-formative! It feels like so much has happened, so much learned that I could not possibly tell it all here. I will share some highlights and info about whats new.
A 20 minute hike from where we have been renting here in Chiriqui, Panama.
First I want to remind all those who are participating in the community building exercise 'Individual values, group values', to send your submissions by the 10th of April (so we can continue to the second half). For those who joined the list this month, or for those who missed that email, write me back with that request and I will send the exercise to you.
Also, we are inviting anyone who receives these updates to add to them. So, if you do have something you want the world to know about you, about this project or opportunities for us as a group and you want to make it public, just write Georgia and I and we will, be happy to find a way to share it on the site and in some cases in these updates. (Even collages, pictures, poems, stories, activity ideas, etc...) Perhaps this could become a community blog in the near future.
Few people talk about mystery, speak truth to power or expose misinformation and the majority pretend things don't exist or have resigned themselves to the official news/history. Robert Beatham is one of those former few people and I love him for it! A strong willed yet modest man; nearing 80 years in this lifetime. A treasure trove of experience and an archivist of the lesser knowns.
Robert and Chepe repairing a palm cutter tool.
The day I arrived in the Costa Rica I visited him. The mother of Junior - one of Roberts worker friends, died on her chair early that morning. "I dislike the word death" he told me, as I cut open an abui fruit and tasted its sweet white meat, "the word transition would be more appropriate."
She was in her mid 90's and vibrant and clear till her last breath. That morning she had a bath, then got dressed and called a taxi and sat in her chair on the porch waiting. Then passed away... transitioned. The morticians didn't come till the late afternoon and the wake was to be held the following morning. "Do you know why they call it a Wake?" Robert asked of his workers in Spanish. No one responded and I waited happily for him to continue, not knowing why myself. "There was a time when people were buried soon after they were proclaimed dead and years later thanks to grave robbers, it was discovered that there were claw marks found in the interior of the coffins that could have only been created after the burial. They revived! People on morgue tables have gotten up and walked out. Some people have even awoken during their own funeral! So the 'wake' allows time for the 'not quite ready to transition', even when they are clinically dead, to come back." The wake is a ceremony; the 'dead' persons face is left uncovered and it usually is held at least after 24 hours of being presumed dead. Robert said that his father had witnessed a coming back to life in the US when he was growing up and there are countless stories around the globe of this phenomenon.
In Costa Rica, and probably in most 'civilized places on the globe, the cost of a funeral is inhumane! There are rackets left and right in our modern world and not even death is spared. Robert and I talked all afternoon in the shade, with the humid heat about many such subjects. The bird songs were constantly present and enjoyable. As dusk was approaching I decided to take a walk in the botanical gardens.
I realized very quickly that I had never been down here to his farm this time of year (usually been there from Nov. to Feb.). It was now a blossoming of fruit everywhere! rollinias, jackfruits, Guavas, velvet apples, caimitos, surinam cherries and of course bananas to name a few! One of the nicest gardens I have ever come across in Central America... An example of what can be done right, what I want to replicate on our new homeland, what inspires me and I aspire too; a mixed multiple story food forest that feels like a park more than an orchard. In my vision perhaps just a little less groomed ... he is running a botanical garden after all. He does give tours but his mainstay is his farming of palm oil and a yearly ramboutan crop. You can check out his place here http://paradise-garden.tripod.com/
I packed some of my harvest to share with Georgia the next day.
Absorbing the Mysteries
So, yes, both Georgia and I went to Costa Rica, separately and we met up again afterward at Ardent Light for a few days where we picked up a bag of small treasures we had left there 2 years ago! It was wonderful to see the Luzardo family again! They have been living in Costa Rica for 4 years. http://ardentlight.com/ministry/about/ They are in the middle of some experimental constructions, their food forest is at the beginning of production and the waterfalls along the property are always beautiful and refreshing to visit. They are looking for a manager to stay for a while. If you are interested in knowing more write me for more details. They are planning to go back to the USA for a few years, as their three teenagers, all growing fast, want to go to colleges there.
The return to Panama was smooth and we met George, a Canadian who told us about a property in Bocas Del Toro. I had never gone because the price out there I assumed was way over our heads... but there are always exceptions... or more likely options with tricky complications which I am still trying to navigate through. We are curious about the possibilities...and Ben and I traveled to check out the land there and practice some due diligence.
Ben looking at lands with me and some of the landscapes.
Some other amazing inputs from the universe that I absorbed this past came through an audio book version of 'How to win friends and influence people', a video documentary on Terence McKenna, my travels with Ben, meeting new friends here in Panama, being a massage guinea pig and reading a few biographies, somehow all of which had a connection to Africa. Also, learning more about the law in this country, communicating with real estate offers and watering plants.
Georgia has been busy reading and studying in her field(s) and getting a great reputation with her massages. Work has picked up the last few months and is helping us out financially and we do a good job with not eating too much into our savings.
As for a definitive answer on any land... it is too early to tell... , more research and communication is pending, more lands to see in another zone of the country (the last one) as far as we are concerned and we may also here back from the Bugle too.
We have also begun the process of shifting our focus to personal plans and getting ready for our departure here in 3 weeks time. We will be returning to Canada to tie up loose ends, have my operation, see family & friends and work! The plan is to then return to Panama in September (after 4 months)...(or to Columbia or Nicaragua) depending on what happens in the next few weeks with land explorations before our departure. This Northern return will also be about finding more international tribe members - that is we will begin profiles on FIC - Fellowship of intentional communities and the GEN - Global Ecovillage Network for better publicity. Mostly though, this returning to the North will be an excuse to spend time with more of the people that we love. How life keeps us apart! Sometimes that makes me feel alone on this quest...
The Latest Rebirth
Only a few days ago, I was on my way to the Colon province to check out the region for possible land ... the universe then presented me with an opportunity that I could not refuse. I have been thinking about doing the serpent medicine for the last year now and in the last few months that thought intensified. The experience of death and rebirth... the Ayahuasca experience! Needless to say I postponed the land search in Colon... which I plan to still take on, in the second week of April, which by then I should also have more leads.
It was a very intense 'trip' for me and I won't get into it here, however at dawn, as I reflected upon the night, I also questioned the work I am doing, the energy I am putting into manifesting community and finding a good land for that community.
Is it still important to me and why? The answer: Absolutely! And why? - To allow myself and as many others who want to join in some basic shared values, the freedom to be in a place that each of us can truly be ourselves (without shunning or shaming), explore ourselves, live a great life and share with others our amazing experiences, talents and creations ... that covers a lot of ground! This can manifest in countless ways and can shift for people over time. For example, for some its having support or recognition of some kind, for others its to delve into nakedness and feeling free, for others its to sing and dance, to give service, to play games etc... for me, at this point, it is to eat and share copious amounts of exotic fruits - plant the forests to allow that to happen and watch and guide their growth. I believe that each of us following our paths, living our shining glory, by default, support others in some capacity, be it physical, mental, spiritual or emotional or any combinations thereof! Why also... because I feel good moving in this direction and I believe in doing this and think it will help humanity shift in better alignment with all living things. For me it is the place I want to be, the base to complete the things I have been called to do.
A collage Georgia made imbuing aspects of community for us!
I therefore am looking for a home for the community that will be beautiful, forgiving (in debt, in the work needed to be comfortable and to live healthy lives) and full of possibilities. It has been a challenge so far to find it with the budget we are looking to raise however we are narrowing down regions, places, lands and Georgia and I are feeling optimistic about the right place manifesting soon!
With lots of love and gratitude
Ivan your correspondent
Georgia your editor in chief
For those who don't already know it, I want to share with you a song - 'From the Ground Up' by Ayla Nereo, which took on a new meaning for me this month and is 110% inspiration! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8Mk0s6x7YU
Older updates can be accessed on our Archived Updates page.
February, 24th, 2018
Hi friends and family in the circle,
(photos below) Its been 3 weeks since the last transmission...
My rendezvouses with various branches of the government, including a chance stumbling upon a government sanctioned dispute resolutions office, were fruitful, and I recorded most of these conversations. While gathering this information I also met with the Kasike (the chief) of the Bugle in the Santa Fe district.
He lives in Guabal and I got there one late afternoon and it was raining as usual. Guabal has a freaky micro climate where the high mountain range of cloud forests drops quickly down to only 250 meters above sea level causing the air pressure to drop drastically and bless them with rain... lots of rain often. Rain which they aren't using to their advantage; someone, most likely following their own business agenda, decided that the villagers should get their electricity from solar panels as opposed to mini hydro or a medium hydro plant so the people of the village are now stuck with infrequent power! A clear case of bad planning.
I hurried from the bus and booked a room, literally the only rooms in town... basic 7 by 7 foot wooden boxes located above a fonda (restaurant). I dropped most of my things and borrowed an umbrella from the manager and headed off to find the chief. The umbrella was mostly to protect a map I had printed out as a gift for him. It was a map I had got made and bought at the census office that showed populated areas in the whole district which the Bugle claim should belong to them.
I followed the path along the river, passing only a few native souls along the way. As I veered from the river the path thinned and got very muddy so I took off my sandals and continued, squishing my toes in the soft cool mud of the early evening. As the path narrowed and split I had to deduce by my previous encounters with his neighbors, where his place might be. The path I choose soon opened up to a small concrete church and there was a house behind it. I asked the young child there if I could speak with his dad. A man appeared moments later and we greeted each other. He was not the same man who I had made this appointment with but apparently the other school teacher had just covered for him that day. ... This was Saturnino and he beckoned me away from his house till we sat under the roof of the church.
There was apprehension on his part from the beginning and he would not let me record any of our conversation however as our dialogue continued into the dark there seemed to be a deep understanding that developed between us. I walked back a few hours later replaying the meeting in my head. The next day I back tracked, went to some more government agencies in Santiago then headed home. As I was on the bus my mind was racing and I began writing. I knew I had to write to Saturnino... a formal letter, addressed to him and the Bugle. This is what has dominated my energy for the last few weeks and I want to thank John L. for translating the first draft into Spanish, for Georgia, Zacy, Sandro and Ben for giving their input and to Filipe for checking over the final draft in Spanish. The letter shares information and strategies that the Bugle could use to help them in their struggle along with a request from them to sanction our own project in their area. I will not make the letter public but if you are an Angelito or a close friend/family I will send you a copy (in English or Spanish) upon request. I intend to deliver the letter in person this Monday.
On the personal front, Georgia and I are doing wonderfully. She has been getting more clients and we are living in simple abundance. We did have some interesting run ins with infringements of our personal space, none of which ended badly but they were somewhat jolting, such as a stray dog trying to make its home inside the house and during one night of Carnival a man trying to steal stuff from our home when we were in the other room. Georgia got him good and he ran away with less than he came here with! This morning there was another shocker... both pairs of Georgias sandals were stolen as well as our cloth hammock from our porch. Being on a fairly central street doesn't help much and we will keep everything inside from now on. That is not our ideal living situation but we don't want to tempt any more infringements for our final 2 months in this house.
I have also been distracted by seed sowing, food production and experimenting with air layering on some tropical trees here in Las Lajas Dentro, where a German woman, Silke, started this nice demonstration project (Lo Tuyo), 10 years back. She also makes great organic jams! We get excited talking with each other. I even started tinkering with the idea to look around these parts for land but two issues may be hard to overcome; water shortages due to the long dry season and over logging and the already high price of land here. And last week, for a few days Georgia and I were also pleasantly distracted as my brother and Riley who came to visit us from Canada. These things remind me of what an intentional community can feel like, can look like.
This coming week I will concentrate on web site changes, project promotion, a community visioning activity (for those participants) and preparing for our sojourn into Costa Rica to meet up with old friends. By the 10th of March Georgia and I will be back and I will head off, hopefully with Ben, to the province of Colon, to check out the region and possible lands to purchase there.
Of course, the proposal to the Bugle is still in play and if they accept, the community may have a beautiful region to call home.
P.S. It was nice to have input from some of you last time and I am looking forward to more.
For older updates you may have missed go to http://www.communityearth.org/community/news
The road into Rio Luis
Family farming near Caloveborita
The sleepy town of Calovebora
A muddy serpent through the jungle
Meet the cacao ancestor
28th of January, 2018
Hola! Family, tribes people and interested friends,
I began my journey to a possible "promised region" for the foundation of the IPC land nearly two weeks ago and have walked, boated and ridden for many many miles since. I just got back to our home base in Las Lajas last night and reunited with Georgia.
I have found some beautiful areas much of which has been relatively untouched by modern civilization. Freshwater, clean rivers, large trees, wild life, agreeable climate however there are a few caveats. The area is rife with political problems at the moment. Aboriginal land claims and corrupt Panamanian officials and rich outsider land grabs. Although maps don't show it, the area is riddled with communities living sustainably. In short it is occupied and the laws here would not make it easy to actually secure something without some change in the situation or some form of blessing from at least 2 parties.
Another problem is that of geography - the proximity to a city is further than we have in our vision and the transportation would be very primitive so much of the area would best be left alone. However there are two spots that could still be ideal if the political situation can be sorted out.
It is with this intention that tomorrow I leave again for the capital of the province to find out from some government agencies certain processes about land acquisition and how some of them view the situation of the disputed territory. I also have a meeting with the Kasike (the native representative - not sure about the spelling) of the unrecognized Bugle comarca lands in the evening. If finding land for the tribe wasn't a priority, making a documentary about this situation would be an eyeopener and useful to the country... even perhaps the world as the erasure of native lifestyles still continue to this day. In fact, as we are trying to return to nature as our own unique tribe, through our own means, the economic bohemeth of taker culture is still disfranchizing others. The Bugle vision and our own are similar and our situations not far off.
If it appears to be a quagmire without resolution we will move onto looking at a 'homeland' in another part of Panama and may even consider Nicaragua. I will keep you posted.
PS. Please feel free to write us about ideas concerning this situation and possible other areas you feel would work for the IPC.
December 27th 2017
Its been just under two months since our last update and things are moving along and I'm excited to share whats been happening with You!
Georgia and I are now stationed in Panama and are renting a large 3 bedroom house in the small town of Las Lajas, 10 kilometers from the Pacific with one of the longest beaches in the country. We have room for Angelitos, friends, family and people who have donated so far to come down and stay a week here with us and for anyone interested in the future of the IPC to come and visit for a night or two. We should be here till at least the end of March and perhaps longer depending on how the project is developing along.
The IPC has made some new allies in Panama. The manager or the Nahual Eco-hostel, Elvis is happy to give counsel and friendship and we have met a few wonderful people through there who are interested in the project. One man, a Peace Corps volunteer, Benjamin, who has become a good friend of ours, has decided to become an Angelito as well as his family. A few other individuals have joined in the last month and we now have a total of 8 confirmed Angelitos with another 5 people who have not confirmed thier type of involvement yet but have shown keen interest. We also want to thank Fernand and Liliana respectively for their large donations to our cause.
This brings me to the point of financial logistics. To our dissappointment my bank does not offer a non profit organization the possibility to gain interest on the escrow account and another bank I am looking at does not even have the possibility of escrow accounts. Luckily, I know that most of you are not investing for the interest. Still, I am going to look into other possibilities in Panama in the coming weeks. Any ideas are welcome.
Marketing had pretty much ended by mid November due to moving and preparing then landing and finding place, but now that we are settled here, I will carry out more marketing and outreach in next couple of weeks. On the 20th of January I will be heading out into the area of the country we are interested in for the home for the community. When I return two weeks later I will update you on the findings and most likely begin asking Angelitos to put their monies into an account.
Being down here and feeling the vibes, remembering the vision and knowing there are supporters out there has gotten me excited about this coming year! We will make it a reality. Please don't hestitate to contact us if you have any questions, concerns, ideas or wishes to express. I wish everyone a beautiful & Happy New Year!
Sincerely, your correspondant: Ivan Tattoli
** I'm also excited because our first batch of cacao has been fermented and dried... chocolate making time! ; ) **
November 2nd 2017
Lots of News this month!
We welcome Yvan Dumouchel to our team! He has stepped up to be one of the directors of the Community Earth Land Trust that is being readied for incorporation.
Our financing campaign is revving up and we have recently adopted a new investment strategy thanks to input from Ron Ross and also the world of micro financing. This strategy consists of breaking up our goals into smaller parts and also allowing more people to partake in the investment. People who like our vision and want us to succeed and are not interested in making the IPC their home can now invest and help us protect land and give healthy autonomy to interested Tribes people. We call these persons Angelitos, which means 'Little Angels' and the project now has already 5 Angelitos which is 8.3% of our goal! Please see our new Investing page for more details.
This has also led us to seriously look at the possibility of Part-Time Residents and you can read about these changes in the first section 'Participants' of our Structure page.
A few new Frequently Asked Questions / Answers have been posted. A Thank you goes out to Loic for putting up an 'accomplishment counter' at the bottom of all our webpages.
Wishing everyone a beautiful November and I look forward to hearing from you too.
Your correspondant: Ivan Tattoli
This website is new! Welcome!
Drumming up interest for the project is where we're at. If you like our vision, please spread the word or get involved through the many ways to Participate.
Currently we are a small core team looking for new Participants to manifest this dream with us. If you are open minded, environmentally concious, willing to explore new dynamics, want to live in community, have read the website and like what you hear then please contact us. Even if Panama may not be the place for you there may be other ways to collaborate.
We are also now accepting all forms of donations.
Investors who are committed to sustainability should check out our Investing page.
Mahalo, Thank You, merci, Shokran, Gratzie, gracias...