Week 26 – Gachancipá, Colombia – Interview with Jaime the Poet

 “Ελληνάαααααςς!”
This was the first greek word I listened to from a Colombian person. Jaime speaks Greek fluently, because he spent 3.5 years in Thessaloniki, Greece. He is friend of David, my Bogotan friend and I met him at a party we had in Bogota. He told me:

Why don´t you come at my place on the north of Bogota? I have built my house ecologically (bio-construction), I have my garden, I am in the mountain, without electricity…

Sounded like a good idea, so when I left Bogota I headed North, despite that my ultimate destination was South. After 2-3 hours I met Jaime at the village of Gachancipá and we both walked for 45 min to get to his house. Have a look before we move on:

I was so impressed by the look of the house!
I like building small constructions with material from nature and recycled stuff, but that was something extraordinary. It was properly built and fully functional. You could perfectly reside in this place. It had access to water, it had access to wood and you couldn’t see any other houses around. Wow.

At the time of my visit Jaime was also hosting Joy, from Germany. He was a very interesting man who was at the process of writing a book. Subject? All things consciousness… I don’t know exactly but he seemed to have deepened in things like telepathy, reading your mind, manipulation of reality (he kept repeating this phrase)… He asked me if I wanna have a session with him.. I said… “Look man, I am very curious about all these stuff, honestly, and I wanna ask you so many things, but I don’t want any kind of spiritual troubles. Many thanks, though.” So, yes, I refused. Despite this looking seemingly unadventurous, I don’t know if I am ready (or if I will ever be) to expose myself in such things. I don’t feel like having a esoteric gap, some kind of imbalance or something, in order to need treatment or further spiritual exploration. I would be very happy to deepen more on my current spiritual framework but Joy couldn’t give me any advice on Orthodox Christianity 😛

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Jaime is a poet.
That’s why he came to Greece – to learn ancient Greek. At the time I visited him he was extremely busy, writing all day and reciting and then typing in the typewriter. He was in a creative madness and I was very happy to accompany him in this journey. When he finished writing we started doing stuff relative to the house. The first part of the day we were working in the garden or on cleaning and improvements. At some point the fire would be on and we would start cooking at the stove.

Overall, it was a very strong experience for me because:

I had very thought-provoking conversations with Joy and Jaime. We all had different systems of reference but also shared some common concepts and worldviews. Our discussions were, at least to me, fascinating.

I was shocked by one simple fact that I realised up there in the mountain.
It’s not necessary to work.
or, to put it better, it’s not obligatory to have a job. And what I mean by that, provided that Jaime had some animals too, you can be completely independent – no need for money.
Food – you have your garden for fruits and vegetables, you can have your chickens for eggs or a couple of goats for the dairy stuff. You don’t have electricity, so you don’t pay that (and all the gadgets you ‘d like to buy). Jaime was very focused on reading, writing, self-publishing, gardening, improving the house.. I don’t know about you, but this was the first time during this trip I thought this is even more awesome than travelling around the world with your bike.

I was shocked by the beauty of actually living in nature. Here in the Tropic (areas near the Equator) and especially at the altitude that I was (high, but not very high, approx. 2800m) nature is at its best. Biodiversity is having a party and invites all fauna and flora you can imagine.  I can’t express it, but let’s say everything was intensified. Sounds, smells, colors, views, tastes, and ultimately feelings.. Oh I remembered now.. watching the rain coming from the fields of the valley. Not only the clouds, but also the mass of water with the clouds. You could see it moving…! and then, when it was closer, you could hear the sound of the raindrops falling in greenhouses nearby and you knew that in 2 minutes it would be here. Or the feeling of walking barefoot on the wet grass and running with the dog. Or the sounds of the full moon, WOW – animals go crazy indeed, the moon was huge and full and everything was bright.. Magnificent.

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Days were passing by and I was struggling inside to understand where lies the beauty of my feelings. What it is so special about all these that results in a weird fulfilling calmness. It was no other I think than what it was. Nature talking. Ι was digging a very deep whole to make mud out of it and put it on the walls. So many colors, golden roots, grey glittering mud that after some time would turn into brown, dark earth. I was trying to take a picture but the camera couldn’t depict it. The taste of the first tomato I had from the garden was the tastiest tomato of my life – tomato that tasted like cheddar cheese but after a while, no no, it is tomato… amazing. The whole house was talking – wood or reed (καλάμια) changes color in accordance with its place in the house, and all objects tell the story of their use if you look closely at their shape, at their form, at their texture, at their coloration. Natural material is prone to change and every object whispers its role according to its place or use or subject using it.

This is something fundamental I think. The ability to discern the circularity of the surroundings talks to you about life and death. When you live with animals you watch them grow, get sick, produce, die. Stars are not just bright spots, they have names, they move as time goes by. Moon plays its role and you can clearly see its influence on animals and plants. Plants need time to grow. Tomato plants may need 2 months to have tomatoes. You wait. Everything is alive and moving in a direction and you can feel it. But this direction is not like… time… one-directional. You can discern the circularity. You see the life of the surroundings, and this is so wonderful, as you see yourself in there. Part of nature, changing, living – creating – dying.
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Oh! The process of cooking… so much time. Bring pieces of wood, cut them in a shape that will fit to the fireplace, make fire, bring stuff from the garden, cut them, cook them. And then clean everything ecologically, with ashes from fire and water. Everything takes time and it´s ok.

My belief after this experience is that all of us should spend some time living like this. I believe that this way of life talks to you.. And it makes sense if you think about it. More than 200.000 years humans are using fire to cook! Two hundred thousands!!!  For a great number of years people were living in nature, more or less like Jaime does. I felt like we can hear the whispers of the past coming through this lifestyle. Only a part of what it means to be a human can be found in the modern way of living. Urban, electronic, internet lives. And I don’t mean to be mean or deterministic here. Of course, I agree that we can’t all do what Jaime does and it’s also very important for each and every one of us to explore his/her potentiality, and this is something that happens mainly in big cities.

BUT:

A.
There are people who may feel like Jaime and they didn’t know that this kind of lifestyle exists or it’s possible. The way Jaime chooses to live is part of a general trend that has to do with permaculture, bio-construction, alternative, rural, independent, eco-friendly and sustainable way of life, either alone or in collectives.

B.
Or there are people like you, yes you. That you find this lifestyle charming and acknowledge its benefits, but you would never ever think of setting up something like this. That’s perfectly fine, but as I said above, all of us, in my view, should try to spend at least some time (a couple of weeks?) during the year like this…

Below you can find a conversation I had with Jaime in regard to his way of life and why he chose to live like this. It is in Greek, but it has subtitles. At the end, Jaime is reciting 2 poems for us. One in Greek and one in Spanish!
Enjoy!

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One thought on “Week 26 – Gachancipá, Colombia – Interview with Jaime the Poet

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