“Be modest now, like a thing
ripened until it is real,
so that he who began it all
can feel you when he reaches for you.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
I’ve been in Puerto Rico for just over two weeks now. It’s really been quite the experience. I’ve been living with family at Camp Caribe, and helping out where I’m able. This simply means doing dishes, giving drum lessons, raking, retrieving/ opening coconuts, painting and other things of the sort. I’ve had good conversations, good food and good times. I think my favorite experience here would be that of evening walks and stillness… strolling along the beach, watching the sunset, and then heading to the top of a tall wooden structure to reflect, look out over this part of the island, watch the stars and listen to the waves- it’s wonderful.
I do think times of solitude and silence are my favorite times no matter where I am… They aren’t ends in and of themselves, however. The value that they offer comes through the peace, insight, clarity and atonement that are oftentimes found through them.
Today, my aunt and I were able to take a trip to Plenitud Eco-Initiatives. It’s a three acre farm and “non-profit organization that supports efforts in sustainable development by individuals and communities” (http://www.plenitudpr.org/sobre-plenitud.html). I sought to visit them back in September of 2010, but nothing came of it. It was great to finally get out there today. While visiting this area in central Puerto Rico’s mountain tropics, people are able to study different things such as permaculture, alternative building, and sustainability in a direct, personal, hands-on manner. While we both were able to check out other aspects of the farm, DeAnna ended up focusing on mulching a memorial garden in progress, while I helped with setting the foundation of an earthbag structure that will eventually serve as housing and a hurricane shelter. I found it to be very refreshing to be there and look forward to possibly spending more time with them.
I’m looking to spend the rest of March here at the camp. I’ve received an invitation to help out at a specialty coffee plantation in the mountains for the month of April. From what I know of Sandra Farms (http://www.sandrafarms.com/about.html), it seems to be a great opportunity to help some people work towards something that we both believe in- sustainable, fair-trade coffee production. Several times throughout my weeks here I’ve heard a statistic regarding what is imported to this island. I don’t remember exactly, but I believe that something like 86% of their food is brought in from outside. When you consider the resources available on this island and year-round growing conditions, that number is a clear indicator that something is awry. I hope to help support a more appropriate local model by getting involved with this Adjuntas mountain coffee company. I may spend the month there and try and get away to Plenitud for a weekend or week at some point.
And that’s as far as I go. I’m immensely thankful for what I have now. I hope that you are able to be grateful for what you have now as well, whatever season of life you may find yourself in.