I wrote this in the middle of January....
For the last month, I´ve been living in Cholila, Chubut, Argentina. I´ve been living with a sweet couple, Dario and Laura who just got married this month. Laura is a sweet and softly strong porteña who moved to Patagonia when she fell in love with her rock climbing instructor, Dario. She left behind a seemingly steady job at a bank for this life on the mountain, for this life closer to the earth here in Cholila, Argentina. Dario, her partner, is a fiercely warm hearted Mapuche man born and raised here in Cholila. A number of years ago, Dario left his job as a rock climbing instructor and with his love, returned to the land of Darios grandfather and ancestors to reclaim this land.
I´ve been working with them, helping them with their farm and building a greenhouse out of natural materials for the development of an ´ecolodge´of sorts. See the interesting thing here, is that Laura and Dario, like an overwheming majority of people living here, have been a part of a movement to kick international coorporations and mining compainies out of these sacred mountains. But people need to live, and often communities say yes to mining because they are despriate to feed their familes. So the movement agaist the mines and the multinationals has focused on development and sustainability of the people as well as kicking the corporations out. And so Laura and Dario, are working on developing sustainable tourism, that supports the preservation of the land, the water, the environment, and the lives of the people here too.
My time here has been such an amazing journey--waking up every day to the sounds of nature, the birds chirping, the sun shining or the soft sound of rain, the strong winds blowing through the trees has been a tremendous gift. To rise each day and really feel the earth beneath my feet has allowed me to feel humanity--allowed me to feel myself as a human and my connection with the land.
The electricity we use to play music and light the house is collected from a windmill on the top of the mountain, harnessing the fierce energy of the winds of Patagonia. We work to collect the water we use from the lake. We carry the (only) gas we use to heat the stove and water for bathing up the mountain. It´s through the sensations in my body and the ache in my legs and hands at the end of the day, that I can feel my footprint on this earth.
All of the trash we create, we burn or we reuse. All the plastic gets compacted into plastic bottles and along with cans and glass bottles that can´t be recycled here are used as insulation for the house we are creating out of Barro, or Adobe, or clay, straw, horse poop, and sand. Everything organic goes into thye compost and everything else (paper products) is burned. And let me tell you, the act of burning my toilet paper has forced me to even consider the amount of toilet paper that I´m using.
The days are very long here now as it´s summer. The sun comes up around 5am and sets after 10pm so we work slowly. We plant seeds with the rhythm of the moon and collect veggies from the garden when they´re ready and share them as we cook for each other. We make bread from scratch when it´s too rainy to work outside. We share the days and nights with talks of revolution, the abolition of land ownership. Visions of the world that can be swirl in the wind here--the world on the edge of which we are standing.
The wind whispers, ¨this world has already begun¨.
The house, the lake, the sun
View from the mountaintop, where the condors fly..
Laura and Dario smiling in the sunshine
...home sweet home...