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
Older updates can be accessed on our Archived Updates page.