Archive for April, 2008
April 18th, 2008
It’s been quite a while since our last update on the Project. Much has progressed [even if it looks like we’ve been standing still]. I don’t know if I can make complete sense of it but I’ll try. What one may think of as frustration ends up transforming itself into a blessing or some equally satisfying event of enlightenment.
We’ve come under threat again, for the second time. Only now we’re getting more sophisticated, closer to the rhythm of this special island ; perhaps it might be better to say more experienced, and surely more grounded.
One of the more bizarre of the land-owners has thrown whatever caution he had out the window – it was a big gamble. Setting out to create a dramatic confrontation, he even went up ‘on top’ [as they say here about getting to the high bush] with a couple of .22 rifles. I expect he’s going to lose his permit for the weapons, at the very least. [This land will not be included in the Project].
This is the second time that that old smell [of money] has, like incense, evoked an irrational response. It is so easy to fire up distorted ideas and unrealizable expectations. On the first occasion, the entire council of one of the families filled our office and ceremoniously presented us with their [written] conditions – which included, as premium for the lease, a sum that was undoubtedly the largest they could conceive of, the equivalent of] ten million dollars! So, stuck as he was in this untenable position he’d carved out for himself, he became irrational first and then enraged when it was pointed out that the Project is not a goose and doesn’t lay golden eggs.
Well, that one led to great angry posturing for a couple of weeks until the fantasy slowly passed. But during which our necks were under threat of being cut with a bush knife – unless, of course, we wanted to pay a [compromise] solicitation of USD500,000 [this just to pass through that particular land]. Never mind that he was staking out for himself a bush trail that everyone is entitled to use by law and custom. Told he wouldn’t even get five cents, the situations began to lose air and simmered down. Only one minor tantrum more to get over, we received a formal apology from the family, hugged and made up.
But these things take time, and meanwhile the negotiations for the land slowly continue with everyone left wondering and subject to rumors. ‘Will it ever get done?’ or ‘is the Project still going forward?’
The issues of land in
In the latest of the peculiar contentions that arise, we are resorting to the customary land tribunal [called by the local chiefs]. Their declarations carry as much effect as law [if not more]. Of course they can also be appealed, but the process can also be made to dissolve impediments when something as important as this Project is at stake, and the good will is there to resolve it. So we are, if at times haltingly, moving forward.
The most recent excitement is the possible addition of several large tracts of land extending from the area we have tentatively begun to call our own ….way up towards the center of the island. The heights now begin to exceed six hundred meters in the higher elevations. Now we are at the source of two very important rivers, each flowing opposite to the other from the high ground where the island begins to descend both to the north and the south.
We shall post a few more pictures [in the next few days] so you can get a feel for the environment we are so thoroughly enjoying. The great peace and quiet – and the face of such natural beauty as is here – is stunning …if only because one’s heart is singing in a soft ecstasy all the while one is exploring there.
In spite of, and perhaps even because of, the dire crises occupying center stage [for the world at large] we are steadily establishing relationships that can root, grow and flower. That way we are inexorably absorbed into the system here for what we are: purveyors of peace and harmony …and not treacherous outsiders. Our own personal security is something we don’t even really consider, as both of us are comfortable that we are home, that we will live, and die, here - whenever the end of our natural lives occur. We did say that Edenhope is a ‘terminal’ project.
So we know our intentions are being served here and are driven to make progress as we can. There really is no frustration. We’ve already accumulated some twenty cubic meters [with that much more on order] of native hardwood so construction will start as soon as we sign leases. Meanwhile we continue to approach the threshold that divides and will ultimately separate us from the past and, more importantly, the death throes of the paradigm we are leaving. How seductive the call of the bush has become!
Yet there is still a threshold to cross before we say goodbye to all that. It is amazing how much we relied upon - like even dentists - for the repairs that kept us going. For our lives - ‘where we came from’ - were so constructed that we relied upon its technology to keep us repaired, at great cost, for that is the lot of those who have sacrificed their human nature, even when there was not even a question of choice. Perhaps that is not true; there is always choice. But it is not easy when one is operating on marginal consciousness.
Yes, I am going to have to find a dentist in Vila, so I can fix a couple of these imperfect crowns, wring out a couple more of such vulnerabilities and so make it possible to get through the balance of my time without them again. What a pity we didn’t know how we had compromised our bodies and souls in the past. Yet it was all we knew. Love of creation has turned that around, but we are still dragging the same old bodies around with us. Let’s be sure we bring no more harm to our kids though!
Here we are, at another beginning, each one more exhilarating than the last. We wake each day to the song of the earth, the stirring of the sun and its heavens. Even as they are radiantly obscured by a great warming light in our sky, we know now how much we are part of them, and they, us.
Stephen & Ruth