A Jolly Jolly December!

by Karla

our wonderful Erasmus+ Intern in 8thLife Canarias

Boli & Stef in front of the little shrine to the Maritime Virgin of El Remo
I am completely aware that it is almost the end of January and here I am writing about December.
But time moves in peculiar ways here in 8th Life. As Maja often voices it: “It is like we live in a time vortex!”.
Time flies and stands still simultaneously.
Still, it would be a pity not to share the happenings of such a fun month.

The General Atmosphere

If you are wondering whether it is possible to feel the festive spirit under the sun that heats you with somewhere around 20℃ it is clear you have never been around Stef in Christmas time. As a big lover of Christmas lights and decorations she ensured we were full of holiday spirit throughout all month.

 

 
Halel in front of our Christmas tree with Hanuka donuts

We embarked on an attempt of forming a little village choir! The idea was to go carol singing and collect money for our lovely local free shop.
Unfortunately it did not work out in the end, but it was really funny while it lasted.

Especially when we discovered Mi burrito sabanero … ♫♫Tuki tuki tuki, tuki tuki tuki ta..
Halel, Tanja and me were singing it all day everyday.

The Community

Every month in here is so different than the previous one because if there is just one new person you have a new community! There is no explicit new rules being set but the atmosphere gets very different. Have you ever noticed that in your everyday life as well?

City of Los Llanos put lots of creative Christmas decoration

While in the first month I was learning loads from the children that were living here in December there was a bit less of the “core group” but we got reinforced by an ‘elderly person’ (seems like such an overstatement but Edu loves to stress that he is an hombre mayor haha).

That was really cool! I would say (and many experts agree) that it is super unhealthy how we almost excursively spend time and befriend persons of the same age as we are. That is much connected to the needs of the industrial society that puts us in classrooms according to our. age so that we can easily move to working in factory in cohorts. But I won’t bother you too much with political philosophy of modernity (this time 😈).

Here is a short collage of what was December like for all of us:

Stefania

(ecovillage founder, resident, permaculture teacher)

Biggest projects of the month:

  • Interviewing web developers & putting together a great IT group and starting to work with them.
  • Working on the 8thLife website with our Panama & Columbia colleagues.
  • Setting up new management committee for Gaia Tasiri Association and finding a new Management firm (accounts, legalities, paperwork, etc.)

Things I enjoyed:

  • We’ve got tons of pricelsss expert consultancy work whilst investigating freelancer services, now much clearer about what we need and what’s out there.
  • It’s SO good to work with professionals who know their stuff!
  • Answering students on forums and talking to them on Skype … about my favourite topics of all time (Integral Permaculture).
  • Having Eduardo and his positive attitude around.
  • I enjoyed the sun, warmth and after-rain atmosphere. I always like to talk with sheep and cats.
  • Going to spa with Maja before her departure.
  • Seeing piggies roam around freely eating almonds and checking out how sheep are doing.
  • Marking sunrise and sunset on our magical stone circle on winter solstice.
  • I loved practicing the carols.
  • My spontaneous trip to London for NYE.

What I learnt:

  • I learned a lot about WordPress and IT stuff from our IT team. Very interesting details.

 

Maja (resident, IPDC student)

Biggest projects of the month:

  • Training Halel and Karla to take over the holistic grazing of the sheep (Maja went home for vacation mid December).
  • Creating content for WordPress.
  • Reconnecting with my family.
Things I enjoyed:
  • I can light the fire in my room and it is so hot and great and I sleep so well and have great dreams.
  • The days were really beautiful, the rainbows, the rain, the sun, the sheep, and the piggies and cats.
What I learnt:
  • I learned a new way to put signature in pdf.
  • How to cut the nails of the sheep.
  • Got better in butchering.
  • People are more intelligent than I thought and taking sheep out and documenting the grazing is not as hard to learn as I constructed it in my head!

Eduardo (volunteer, Spain)

Biggest projects of the month:
  • Improving the chicken pen.
  • Planting in Flora garden.
  • Helping Karla with raised beds.
I enjoyed:
  • Living with positive people.
  • Doing meditation together.
  • Talking to our guest Diana and Halel.
  • Long walks down the gorge.
  • Documentary about Tony Robbins’s self-development seminar was amazing!
What I learnt:
  • How to be around people again.
  • Many many things from Halel.

Halel (volunteer, Israel)

 
Biggest projects of the month:
  • Taking over animal coordinator role while Maja is away.
  • Carrying out holistic pasture of the sheep.
  • Organizing the workshop.
  • Setting up surround sound system in the living room.
  • Constructing greenhouse door and walls.
  • Fixing pig pen and sheep pen.
 I enjoyed:
  • Rainbows.
  • Having walks down the gorge.
  • Singing Christmas songs.
What I learnt:
  • New words in Spanish from Edu (e.g. martillo – hammer, lombrices – earthworms).
  • When I eat cookies late at night I have problems falling asleep.
  • La Palma is a really small island.

**Halel got a nickname – Tesoro (treasure) and his very own fan club because everyday there was at least one person that was delighted by him and his ability to fix broken things, cook delicious meals and basically be good in whatever he does.

Tanja (volunteer, Macedonia)

 
Biggest projects of the month:
  •  Hot tub design.
  • Leaflet for choir.
I enjoyed:
  • Learning a lot, especially about myself.
  • Seing permaculture in action for the first time in my life.
  • Doing rooftop yoga with Karla.
  • Taking it slowly.
  • Having a fun night in Los Llanos.
  • Singing turbofolk music to sheep with Karla.
  • Halel’s sense of humor.
  • Sleeping in the sun.
  • Goodybe bonfire.
What I learnt:
  • How to handle the sheep and set up ropes.
  • How to feed chicks and pigs.
  • How fire works.
  • La Palma can get quite cold sometimes.
  • Fear is your worst enemy! JUST TRY! Experiment and see what happens!

Karla (intern, Croatia)

 
Biggest projects of the month:
  • Assembling and putting into function the new raised bed for the Fortuna garden and redecorating one old one.
  • Putting biberons (small bottles for watering) onto trees in Flora forest garden.
  • Little swale in the forest garden.
  • Cleaning and painting my new room.
Things I enjoyed:
  • That one week when I was doing yoga every single day.
  • Having bonfires.
  • Having Tanja and Halel becoming my new friends whom I love so much.
  • Working with the shovel.
  • Singing and dancing whilst working on my own.
  • Sunset meditations.
  • Seeing people smile a lot.
  • Learning from the guests we have here.
  • Going to the beach for Christmas.
What I learnt:
  • Sheep and goats are insanely strong!
  • How to clean water filter (without freaking out when something isn’t right).
  • Many new information on the ecology and geology of the soil.
  • Incredible amount of Spanish thanks to Eduardo! We could barely communicate when he just came and now I am already writing in Spanish in my private pages.
  • How to make a blog 😁
  • Raised beds are trickier to make than what it seems! Did many mistakes one the first one which I learned from the while working on the next ones. I believe I will make a post soon about the RB saga sometime soon.
Corinne and I had a fun time planting. The beans are already looking great!
And most importantly, same as Tanja, I learned that you should not let your fear block you from doing things. Or as Halel puts it brilliantly when explaining how to fix stuff:
 
People are really afraid of messing things up. But it is already broken! So just play with it and you’ll figure something out.
Hasta luego,
mucho amor
Karla