Rancho Mastatal, Costa Rica
With Robin, they are the founders of the Rancho Mastatal. Timo is a kind-hearted person, he guides us through the visit of the palce. He is gentle and seems to be very patient and happy to tell us about the history of the place. Timo has a diploma in agriculture and business. At the time of his studies, he use to work small jobs in summer in the building field. Freshly out of university, Timo is hered by a huge agro-business company. It is the time of disillusion and depression. A book in particular reaches out to him: “Bitter Fruit”, which tells the story of Chiquita, a big agro-business company which will even topple the government of Guatemala in 1955 for its own profit. He commits himself to the Peace Core and gets sent to Uruguay where he discovers organic farming. When he is back, he stills again goes back into agro-business beforepermanently leaving this world to end up in Costa Rica and founding the Rancho Mastatal with an acute awareness of the environmental stakes and a will to start up a new alternative way of life, outside the standard system and hyper-consumerism and dependency.
Everything in this place is at the image of this philosophy today. The way hasn’t been easy as when they arrived, they had nothing else than their own dreams and everything to build. Little by little, they perfected their natural building skills and build up beautiful accomodations which have supple and harmonious shapes which integrates perfectly with their way of life opened to nature. There are 7 permanent people onsite, a true community which needs to be animated and managed. The human factor is the most difficult one says Timo, deep into his memories around a trail in the food forest. If it was to be done again, he says, he would give more time and importance to his couple. At the time when we meet him, the community governance is still under construction. The sociocratic way of functioning is preferred and the community moments are well defined, however there is still work to be done to establish properly the roles of each as well as the relationships, expectations and material recognition. It is even more difficult to define this all after the people are already there as there is an existing way of functioning as well as a history based on the natural evolution of the community and not on explicitly shared basis. Not easy but Timo is kind and optimistic, he speaks softly whether it is about plants or his vision of the world. There is a village around this community nestled in the jungle, an alternative life, far from the destructive heaviness of the mono-culture industry, is his daily life.
Technical videos made on-site:
Fermentation and Kefir
Introduction to natural building
Mexican Hot Sauce Recipe
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