Dear Friends,

The sounds of nature around Pacha, Yani and I have changed. Kookaburra’s
laughter has replaced the shrieking of the Cock of the Rock in Intag,
Ecuador. The roaring of the river has changed to the sound of occasional
cars, playing kids and lawnmowers. The trees are taller and sleeker and not
covered by bromiliads and other epyphites. The smell is of eucalyptus and
clean, dry air - no longer the moist, rich air of the cloud forest.
Kangaroos replace horses and cows grazing on our front lawn. We miss our
raw, wild life in Ecuador, but life is much easier for us here in Australia.

We are still in the process of moving here permanently. I have been busy as
a builder, drawing up plans to convert the big shed into a house and
applying for permission from the local council. It has been a big learning
experience and again, very different from our lives in Ecuador where there
are far less rules! Hopefully within a month we will have permission to
build a bathroom and composting toilet that will make our lives here more
comfortable. (Luckily we are well trained in simplicity from our lives in

I have finally been able to connect onto the internet here in our
‘semi-house’ and am excited to be able to share this next stage of our life
adventure! Last year was wonderful, but exhausting, it seems like we have
been moving for years. I am trying to trace the fragments and people, my
global family, of the past 20 years, that have been scattered over many
countries and many places in those countries. I am longing to plant and
nurture the trees that the children will be able to pick fruit from in 10
years, in one place. It seems, right now, that Woombah, in northern NSW, is
that place.

It’s hard to imagine a place that is more like the paradise I grew up in on
the Gold Coast 37 years ago – river, ocean, forest, mangrove, rainforest,
sacred Aboriginal sites, small school, small community where people really
know each other and enough space to provide food for ourselves. Our
neighbours are kind and always helpful and we share seeds and plant
cuttings. We’re starting a local seed network and many people have joined
the call to put solar panels on their roof for electricity production. It’s
good…really good.

And Pacha and Yani seem very happy. They love going to school and, to my
surprise, don’t seem to be behind the other kids in schoolwork, despite not
having formal schooling for most of last year. I did a little bit of home
schooling in Ecuador, but it seems the excitement of travel and new
experiences and new languages has stimulated that part of their brain where
learning happens. It has confirmed to me that while formal school is
important, real learning happens in many different ways. The challenges of
the world that our children are growing up in makes new demands - of
adaptability, flexibility, creativity and knowing what ‘enough’ is. Pacha,
Yani and I learning and growing in this quest to find a happy, healthy life
in this changing world.

A big part of my happiness comes from being of service - and it seems that I
still can’t say ‘no’ to an active campaign. This month I ran for the Greens
in the state election for Queensland (I am still officially living there).
It’s always pretty tough, and we never have money to spend on the campaigns,
but I think it was worth it to offer a Green choice to voters on election
day. A highlight was running this campaign with my sister, Inge, who also
juggled her campaigning with her duties as a parent to 3 children. We did
well considering what we could put in, though generally people seem more and
more disconnected from politics - busier in their own lives, in despair that
there will ever be a real change. But society is changing – shouldn’t
politics reflect that? Maybe we just have to wait a little longer.

I didn’t win the state election for the Greens, though I was recently
elected President of the Parents and Citizen’s association of the Iluka
Public School! And, who knows, maybe this will have a more positive outcome
in the long run. I am so excited to work on establishing food gardens and
putting solar panels on the roof – there are so many ways that parents can
become involved in making school a place where children learn not only
reading and writing, but how to live. As always, the hardest part is
finding enough time to do it all!

Love to all, For Life, anja, pacha and yani.

No comments: