A Travellerspoint blog

Communal Living

overcast 80 °F

Wow, it has only been just over a week here and already I feel like I have been here for a month. Not because the time goes on forever and I am constantly bored but rather the opposite; its because I have already learned so many new things in just one week and its hard to believe one could absorb so much in such a short amount of time.
Let me provide a short list of some things I learned: making sourdough bread, making bagels, making glasses from recycled bottles, making candles from pig fat and palm oil, making starfruit jam, making hibiscus jam, building a wall with 'daub' (a concrete-like mixture of sand, clay, manure, and straw), make homemade organic fertilizer called bokashi (a fermented mixture of soil, sawdust, charcoal, rice hulls, wheat bran, molasses, bacteria, and manure), cooking a meal for 30 people, making chocolate starting with the beans, and much more.

making chocolate truffles from handground coco beans

making chocolate truffles from handground coco beans

':)' title='' /> from starfruit harvested earlier that morning

Starfruit Jam <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15'

making glasses from recycled bottles

making glasses from recycled bottles

candle made with pig fat and palm oil in a homemade glass

candle made with pig fat and palm oil in a homemade glass

I have gotten signed up for being co-managers of a reforestation nursery project. I will be working side by side with one of my fellow interns, Celine, to raise trees from hand collected seeds and then organize planting projects in nearby disturbed areas of the rainforest. I think it will be a great thing to dedicate a large portion of my time to.
Another thing I am particularly interested in is natural building, which will mostly involve using daub, wattle & daub, bamboo, and timber-frame construction. Right now we are working on a new composting toilet structure. Eventually we will be breaking ground on a community library. My ultimate goal is to be able to leave here after these next 3 months knowing how to build my own house with renewable materials and a sustainable design.

Before coming here I didn't realize just how much of a communal living experience it would be. Everyone splits cooking and cleaning jobs and everyone is constantly helping each other with daily tasks. We also live in "houses" (really more like tree-forts) that have very minimal privacy as they are open air and mostly made of bamboo. It think this will be a good lesson for me to push myself to be more umm well cooperative I guess. I think it will definitely be good for me since I have been called fiercely independent at times.

flowers

flowers

A cool fungus on our front step

A cool fungus on our front step

Bandito being shy

Bandito being shy

the daub mural at the entrance to the Hankey House

the daub mural at the entrance to the Hankey House

My living space at the Hankey House

My living space at the Hankey House

With very limited and intermittent internet access I will try to keep this up to date and add pictures but it is very difficult, so be patient. If there is anything you want me to write more about then leave a comment or suggestion. I hope you all enjoy following along.

Pura Vida
Hana

Posted by HanaRose 14:41

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Comments

How cool to have really fresh chocolate! That is something I have never had but sure would love to try. I also love the "tree" house- it looks like a fancy lean-to, so you're back to camping for 3 months like the last time you were there. I know you love that so more power to you. You know, Dick is really interested in cob building which is similar to the daub. Also Thilde did a bunch of walls like that in her house. It seems to be gaining in popularity. I am curious about how long it really lasts in such a wet climate. The reforestation from seeds sounds great and doable. And of course, you've got a kitty again! Everywhere you go, you attract kitties to you. Ha!

by Andrea Martin

Hey Hana! Glad to see that you are enjoying yourself, and company down there! Seems like you will learn life long skills and probably make life long friends. Very proud of you!

So do you have to go somewhere else for the internet or is it just come and go where you are?

Are you secluded from neighboring towns or close?

Well thanks for the great intro to your blog! Oh and thanks for the birthday wishes! I had a great time with friends! Also, I'm preparing to move on July 1st, I think I told ya I got that place on the lake... you will see it when you return!

Love, Si

by Silas

WOW what an experience!! You are taking on more than I would ever have the courage to do. We are so proud of you!!! How far are you from a village or town? Are the people happy you are there and are they responsive to learning new things from you? I am assuming you are going to help build and/or rebuild part of the rain forest for their benefit. Oh My the flowers are so pretty. Your kitten is so cute. How did you acquire it?

Our love to you, Dick & Phyllis

by Phyllis Martinez

Hey Hana---
nice entry!! what a great schedule-- i would love to work there! what a healthy and beautiful life style.
Karin has a daub project up her sleeve, so maybe you can help w/ that when you return :). We have two women from Spain here (actually from Catalonia), one is woofing and the other is checking out different communities. we've been having a great time together. It's been super hot here, and only rain for one day in the last couple of weeks. it nearly reached 100 degrees on the landtrust, but now it's normal hot. There are yet two more people moving to the community (Matt and Liz-- one in farmhouse one in cabin), so it's nice to have more young energy here.
keep those posts coming!
xxoo,
Colleen

by kattauc

Mom, the daub/cob buildings here last quite a long time if they have proper over-hang roofing and they are lime washed anually to seal out moisture. Also the chocolate is amazing, I will be sure to bring some home for you to try :) And yes I am really glad to have a really sweet cuddly ranch cat to fill my kitty void.

Colleen, I would love to help Karin with the daubing, I also have quite a few new tips to bring home for you and Dad for around the homestead :)
Silas, The internet point is just down the road (about 2 min walk) but it has weird hours and the connection is bad and it is often closed during storms which happen a few times per week. There are lots of similar little towns in the area, but the nearest town with a bank or post office is two hours away.

by HanaRose

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