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You Can Change the World: Permaculture Volunteering in Panama!

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Fresh out of university over 10 years ago, I came back to Panama wanting to make my country a better place. But somehow down the road, things just go complicated and all those fresh ideals and aspirations little by little dissipated into thin air. It's not that I was a bad person, but I was just drifting as most of us do and normal life took over: kids, the usual goals, aspirations, etc.

My own personal life, with its ups and downs, was quite epic (family, travels, amazing friends, a house, surfing happened too...), but around me, so many things just weren't right. Deep down, I always kept asking myself, what could a normal guy like me do, to affect change in a sustainable and meaningful way, beyond just being an entrepreneur, creating jobs, and attracting a certain type of tourism to our communities. Paraphrasing Elon Musk, I wanted to find a way to make the area under my curve (life) as large as I could by impacting the most amount of people in the most meaningful way possible.

I sort of toyed with the idea of getting involved in politics, but at least for me, being part of a corrupt and broken system, with so many power hungry players, just didn't make sense nor do I have the patience to deal with bureaucracy and inefficiency. It would be a waste of my energy (at least for me). Maybe in 20 years, but not now.

Fast forward, maybe up to a couple of years ago, I started going through documentaries in Netflix and was specially inspired by the story of Aaron Swartz and how he found ways to affect positive social change. He was sort of on a mission to "hack the system" and in such a short time-frame he accomplished so many things. He's one of those unsung modern heroes that will go down in history books as a legend. For sure.

Noam Chomsky's - "Requiem For The American Dream" was also a real eye opener for me. Why was the world in such a mess? See it for yourself and draw your own conclusions (dig deeper here...).

Both documentaries (Aaron's is called "The Internet's Own Boy) are still available on Netflix.

So I kept searching and asking myself, what part could I play in this adventure called life? I wanted to find purpose again. Meaning in my daily life. I wanted to make it count and I wanted to be doing stuff that would also inspire my kids and others to make the world a better place.

And it's funny how life happens. How we flow and connect as human beings. Suddenly I started to meet people who introduced me to Permaculture. Matter of fact, some of my best friends had already embarked on this path many years ago, and to them I'm extremely grateful for gently nudging me in this direction. The more I learned and started to get involved in this field, the more I saw how this could be one of the game changers and paradigm shifts that we're looking for in our civilization and in our societies. Not just in our own local communities.

Being a network of Spanish Schools, why Permaculture?

Why not? With people traveling to Panama to learn Spanish with us from all over the world, we'll start planting seeds in the heads and hearts of those who visit us, so that they can go back home and carry on this "evolution" in their own towns, cities and communities.

I'm not saying it's the only path. Each of us have to find our own path. But it's the path that we've chosen down here in the Caribbean. And we're immensely excited about it.

So how do we get there? Obviously we need to think global and act local. If more individuals follow this path, then more communities can become sustainable and more autonomous. Autonomy equals freedom. And if these communities become connected as well, then we have Laterally Connected Networks. And that's what we're aiming to be part of. It's already happening around the world in many places and we are going to be part of it.

Providing a holistic education universally available from a very young age is also something that we're very passionate about and slowly but surely we're finding ways to connect with others and getting involved in our youth's education, but first let's grow some food!

So after a year of researching and experimenting, we're ready to invite visitors from all over the world to join us on this journey.

So there you have it: as of TODAY Habla Ya Bocas del Toro is accepting volunteers who want to learn the Permaculture way!

At age 35, I can once again say that I'm a dreamer. That I believe in something bigger than all of us. An idealist some might say... but this time it's not only a feeling: I know for sure that we can change the world. Each and one of us. And we will.

We are at the dawn of a golden age for humankind.

Permaculture for me is amazing many different levels, but here are the two aspects that particularly inspire me:

  1. Being Climate Change possibly the biggest threat to our survival as a speices, Permaculture offers many answers making a direct impact to our Carbon Footprint: by growing our own food, we're tremendously lowering our own emissions as consumers and obviously the more trees we plant, the more Carbon we trap! So not only do we get food free of fertilizers and pesticides (which actually give us diseases and contaminate the spaces that we inhabit), but we're also finding innovative and creative ways to recycle and reuse the trash that we still generate, further reducing our dependency on having to produce even more unnecessary things
  2. And probably more important than anything else, Permaculture has a HUGE social and community component. Permaculture by its own nature seeks to make a direct impact in EVERYONE around you

As a Permaculture Volunteer you won't only be learning techniques and designs, but more importantly you'll be helping us "social engineer" ways to apply these principles in our own community. By doing so, you'll be building up your people skills, becoming a "bridge" (your Spanish skills will definitively go a long way) and you'll certainly be better prepared to also affect change when you go back home. After implementing and experimenting with prototypes in our own garden at Habla Ya, you'll then help us transplant the successful ones to our host families, and basically anywhere else in the Archipielago that we're able to reach with your help.

Bocas del Toro is also home to several well established Organic and Permaculture Farms so we'll also be offering programs where you can go learn and experience what they're doing in these places where they have much more years of experience than ourselves.

If you're already an expert in the field, you can still apply for an exchange. And if you want to learn the Permaculture way or just starting out, then you fit within our Volunteer Projects, and for teaching and managing you as a volunteer, we ask for a minimum $5 donation per day if you're a Spanish student at Habla Ya, or $15 per day if you're not.

La muerte se convierte en vida... ¡a crecer!

#Permaculture #UrbanGardening #Reset #Evolution #Education #Children...

Posted by Habla Ya Spanish Schools on Thursday, March 30, 2017

So make it happen. Make it count count. Book your flight to Panama. We're looking for YOU! Reach out and book your Spanish learning vacation and become a Permaculture Volunteer!

CONTACT US TO BECOME A PERMACULTURE OR URBAN GARDENING VOLUNTEER IN PANAMA... »

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2 Responses to "You Can Change the World: Permaculture Volunteering in Panama!"

  1. Rob McClure says:

    Julio,
    I’m inspired; by Panama and by Permaculture. Life is complicated so I’ll not go into details here but I have a small coffee finca in Boquete that is committed to using permaculture and teaching sustainability to the local community and beyond. I LOVE your Bocas plan and am interested in chatting about working with you in Boquete. We can change the world.

  2. Awesome. Will send you an email!