Archives of IPC Updates
(from newest to oldest)
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!
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.
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...