People often say ‘never work with children or animals’ – it’s safe to say I have done a lot of both this week and after what I have experienced and observed I have to disagree with this expression entirely!
Of the 25-30 people that currently live here at Verd Energia permaculture farm, 5 are children aged 1-5. The effect the children have on the people of the community and the dynamics within it is fantastic and very noticeable. Chatting with permanent residents Maiju and Qat who where both here before their were children living on the farm, they told me that the presence of children was all that was missing from the communal aspects to the farm and that now the community felt complete. I have enjoyed looking after and spending time with the kids so much, and seeing them in this communal environment has really shown me how great for learning and behavior a strong community is. I am by no means only referring to the learning and behavior of the children either but also that of the adults. In an environment like this, whereby people of all generations live amongst each other – working and socializing with one another – everyone adopts the role of both teacher and student, learning and growing together. It teaches respect, responsibility, nurturance, and consideration; and of course, kids are bloody hilarious to have around!
Looking after the animals a lot this week has been tough but really enjoyable. Caring for animals that you will at some point be eating, such as the rabbits here, or that provide you with food like cows and chickens really evokes a greater feeling of respect both for the animal and for the amount of work that goes in to that plate of food in front of you. Obviously it is not possible for everyone to have their own animals but in a time when we are increasingly aware that our dietary habits are no longer sustainable it can only be seen as a step forward to decrease the level of detachment between food and its source.
The communal aspect to this amazing place we have found in Costa Rica really is the thing that is having the biggest impact on me. For me though extreme measures are not necessary, what is needed to begin the change toward better community could be as simple as just talking to your neighbours a bit more perhaps…as crazy as that sounds.
Loving community, loving people, loving logic, loving solutions, LOVING LIFE!