Rolled out of bed feeling great. I was very happy that thus far I only had one major hiccup and it was really my own doing that caused it. Remember: DON’T IGNORE WARNING SIGNS!!! I’m thinking that if the rest of my journey continues like this I’ll be extremely happy and grateful.
Once I got rolling I joined Johan and his team for breakfast. It was delicious. They went on to explain to me that they produce the majority of their own food organically…no processing, no added sugars…no chemicals…100% natural. They also explained many of the projects that they partake in. As part of their IICD program, all the team members work with directors learning various skills like growing crops, baking their own bread, crafting hydroponics systems, recycling, sanitation practices, honey (yup, they have their own bee hives) and much more that they will learn and once ready they will take these skills to Africa and teach the inhabitants their these skills which in turn helps them, improve the quality of life there. Which in time; they, I and many more hope will aide in eliminating poverty. They are bringing education that is desperately needed to those who desire it emensely.
You can’t not be here for very long and not have a yearning to help…to provide support in anyway possible. I asked if there were any tasks or projects I could help with. They graciously accepted my effort and assigned me a task of harvesting vegetables.
I tell you…I’m as city as they come…white collar worker for a long time. It is a whole different experience when you’re out there with your sleeves rolled up and literally in the garden. Tomatoes…green peppers, cucumbers, egg plant, corn and so many more…all in one garden and in quantities that more than support the team at IICD and even provide surplus. They are in many respects off the grid…they’ve unplugged from the matrix because they don’t need it anymore…they are completely self sufficient. Impressive is not a good enough word to describe what I see.
After I got over my amazement, the harvesting team members I was working with tasked me with harvesting tomatoes. I seriously had fun. I didn’t even consider it back breaking work and would enjoy doing it again if I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity. We harvested for about two hours. The team and I totalled up several large bowls of tomatoes, egg plant and herbs (yeah…herbs…like oregano, parsley, etc, etc…they have a huge spice rack of their own home made herbs!!). I’m telling you, every time another layer reveals itself, its more and more impressive.
As we would fill up a bowl with vegetables we would take them back to the school building. There, they were received by the food processing team. I would later find out their roll for this team. The 2 hours flew by. Once we finished up, I went back to my room to change clothes. Lol…I got all sorts of good dirty. By the time I finished changing lunch was ready. Another delicious meal. After we finished eating Johan and the team members went on to continue various tasks, projects, education sessions, etc.
From what I can tell, the program has piece mealed what a community should be…what needs should a community provide to its members and they have created a template with learnable skill sets that team members learn piece by piece until the entire team is working synergistically. It’s really genius in its simplicity. I feel like the way the tasks and projects are tasked and rotated would really be engaging and it would be difficult to be bored. I can really see where knowing how to be a part of a team comes into play. Outside looking in, IICD is running on all cylinders. I’m sure there are struggles but from my observations, I have yet to notice them.
As Johan and his team continued on with their learning, I mozied on off to upload some pictures. The Internet was being really fussy so it took me the remainder of the day to upload what seemed to be very few photos. The day started coming to an end and one team member after another came to use the Internet in the classroom I was sitting in. Another IICD team member, Andres Noriega asked if I would like to join him in his drive to town as he had to buy some items for dinner. As much as the campus produces, they don’t have everything the community needs…not quite yet anyway…lol!!! I agreed to join him as I had some items I could buy and my legs were still really sore. Dowagiac, as I mentioned before I think is a very tiny town. Only 1 McDonalds and 1 Burger King!!! They do have some very rustic buildings and a small strip (their downtown?) with some quaint businesses. The tour only lasted for a few blocks and we were on our way to the store. We chatted along the way about anything and everything. Besides a good sense of humor, Andres strikes up good conversations.
We got back to IICD and had dinner. Then again, I went to attempt to use the internet. I found myself in another classroom with a slightly better Internet signal. Must have been closer to the router. Again, people were surfing the web…video conferencing, chatting or playing games or the guitar. It is really fascinating being surrounded by so many different nationalities. Japanese from one side of the room, Portuguese on another, Spanish, and Korean all filling the room with their beautiful words. I found myself listening to Andes playing the guitar all the while he was video conferencing with his family back home in Colombia. It was really awesome…he was helping his young son with his homework and chatting with his wife. I politely drifted from language to language…soaking it all in.
It was finally bed time and I was happy to go to sleep after such a fulfilling day.