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I have run an e-mail list called PIC (Pagan Intentional Community) for over 4 years now, and networked like crazy in the interest of building a real life egalitarian consensus community in Costa Rica. It has been a long 4 years, and I have felt discouraged many times by the lack of commitment, money, and land for my proposed project. I now have a wonderful announcement to make!
Ray Beise, of La Pura Jungla Eco-community (http://www.lapurajungla.com/NewPages/door.html) and I, have officially joined forces on the community building front. He closed on February 20th, 2002, on a 130 hectare piece of property (That's about 320 acres!) near La Pura Jungla, which is near the town of Paraíso, on the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. He has opened that piece of property up to the PIC project (which is soon to change names!) and has invited our family down to live in the tiny Tico style house that already exists there. We are now doing our damnedest to get our house in Oklahoma sold in 60 days, so we can get our butts down there and move in. Needless to say, we are really happy about this development!
The property is also open to others who wish to help build/become part of this new community project. Ray has asked me to be his representative, and to take on the job of disseminating this information to the PIC list, and the world at large. This is a partnership that has been almost 6 months in the making, and Ray and I have been communicating behind the scenes on how best to combine our two projects. We are in accord on all the important issues, and open to coming to a consensus on the rest, once we have a few core members together on the property. Basically, if you like/agree with the ideas set forth on the PIC (http://members.aol.com/WaterSpryt) Site, and are open to creating this new project together with us, we are ready to join forces with you!
Here is a little information about the property itself. It is, like I said, a large piece of land. It has two working wells on it, one of which is rigged with electricity, for easy use, and the other of which is a rope and bucket jobbie. The land is situated in an area where it becomes very dry for half the year, and is almost desert like, in areas where there are few trees for shade and water retention. That being said, there are also wooded portions of the property, and it also has a gorgeous ocean view. It is very near to what looks to me like a great beach! The place is hilly, in part, and open cow pasture type land in other areas.
The property is close to a few small stores, and if you want to go to a real, good sized grocery store, you must drive, walk, or hitchhike 20 miles. There is also a bank, post office, and other establishments, 20 miles away. The place is 200 miles from Costa Rica's capital city of San José, and an hour and a half from Liberia, which is a good sized city, with an International airport.
The crime rate in the area is low. It is a rural location, and a person must travel down an 8 mile stretch of gravel road to reach the property. This will be a good thing, since it will make it unlikely that anyone who comes to our community will have found it by accident. Anyone who gets there, will have most likely been given instructions on how to find it, and that will help to keep folks out, who have no business there.
The Guanacaste area, where the new property is located, is a sort of "wild west," kind of place. Lots of families still raise cattle as a means of livelihood, and the locals like rodeos and loud Latin music. Most of the physical work in the new community will need to be done between 4 or 5 AM and 10 AM, when the sun becomes too hot for folks to want to work in. That leaves a lot of the day for community planning, leisure activities, and getting to know one another. There will be another window for outdoor work between 3 PM, when the sun gets a bit lower in the sky, and sunset. Daylight hours are between 6 AM and 6 PM, year round.
The land was purchased with the help of investors, and the community will need to work to pay back the loan, with interest, over the years. There are many, many ways for this to be done, and each community member will need to help in this regard, whether it be with cash in hand, an ingenious business idea, an excellent grant proposal, pure elbow grease, or whatever each person can come up with. It is not necessary to have money to contribute in order to join this community, but in the beginning, until we have enough garden/orchard resources in place and the plants are flourishing enough to feed us all, it is important that everyone who comes can at least feed him/herself, and any dependents.
Ray wants to make sure (and I couldn't agree more!) that each member of the community is valued as a contributing individual, regardless of what form their contributions take. There will be no class system, where some types of contributors get special privileges, or are held in higher esteem than others. Everyone will be important and valued greatly for what they do to make the project a success. That being said, it is also important to note that no one will be given a free ride. If someone comes into the community thinking that they can get by without working, they will have to change their attitude quickly, or find another place to live. We can only succeed if EVERYONE works hard to make it happen.
If you think you'd like to explore the possibility of coming to join us, please join and post to the PIC list, rather than to me or Ray, privately. Everyone on the list can benefit from reading whatever dialogues may ensue as a result of this announcement. I have run the PIC list for more than 4 years now. I have seen it show great sparks of enthusiastic activity, and then shut down completely for months. I have thought many times of just closing the list down completely, because I was so discouraged by it's fickle displays. I am glad that I didn't, since I am now able to share this wonderful opportunity with a large number of (supposedly) community-minded people.
If this announcement fails to wake the PIC list up, I will seriously begin to question whether it is the right medium through which to recruit members for the new community. If you care about this list, and wish for it to continue to exist, please USE IT! An e-mail list is only as good as it's members make it, and posts are a list's life's blood. Don't let this one, which currently has a whopping 113 members, die a lonely death! We have record membership numbers right now, and I would like to believe that there is a serendipitous reason for this... If you think you have an interest in this community project, and can lend a hand to the maintenance of it's e-mail list, by all means, join right away! We could sure use some good energy there.
The new community will not be called PIC. Ray and I agree that the first wave of community members will have the honor of choosing the name for the new community, by means of consensus. I will keep the Website under the PIC name, for ease of networking, until the new name has been chosen. You may already know that PIC is listed in the Fellowship for Intentional Communities Directory. We can easily continue to get contacts this way until the project's name changes. Eventually, we should be able to get a new listing, under the actual community name.
Anyhow, now I have thrown out the bait... Anybody gonna bite? ;-)
Brightest blessings! Meli WaterSpryt@aol.com