The last several weeks have been busy, for me, beyond the standard Christmas/New Year’s holidays/back-to-school shenanigans. Three weeks ago my wife was invited to give a workshop at the Foro Latinoamericano Por La Protección Y Defensa De La Herencia Biocultural Y El Territorio De Los Pueblos – the Latin American Forum for the Protection and Defence of the Biocultural Heritage and the Land of the People. They were so impressed with her that the president of the municipality offered her a job, and a house to live in, if she wanted to move and take it. He was drunk at the time, everyone was doing shots of mezcal, but she accepted and he kept his word.
So today is the kids’ last day at school, a special leap-year farewell with pizza and juice boxes, and this week we’ll be loading the car with bags of clothes and a coffee machine and driving down to Tututepec, Oaxaca.
We currently live in an urban environment, the state capital, walking distance from the town centre. We have a three bedroom house with lounge room and kitchen and indoor plumbing, and a garden that we can muck about in. The new house is reportedly a single room – a large room, as it was described, but a single room. The plumbing situation is unclear.
A document was sent to us, a diagnosis of the municipality, and the first thing it does is assure the reader that there are roads to the town. Most of the communities have telephone and electricity, but not every house, and drainage was recently installed in the three largest towns…but it doesn’t work yet. Pretty much the entire economy is agricultural. There are a lot of problems with unsustainable farming practices that were introduced over the last few decades, new towns built in inappropriately flood-prone areas, deforestation, resource theft and so on.
My wife is going to organise environmental education for the entire municipality, which will be very beneficial for everyone if they pay attention to her. A lot of the problems – not all, but a lot – can be solved with a bit of informed and considered environmental action. Also, common solutions to other problems, such as overpopulation and energy generation, tend to create their own problems to be solved, but these new problems can be avoided if people consider what they do in light of how it will affect their environment.
So I believe my wife can make a huge and positive impact in this region.
As for me … I’ll still be writing, but I don’t know if it will be easier or harder. I haven’t really written anything since the end of my short story course, though, so it can’t get any worse. I’m going to take the opportunity to shake up my routine – well, it’s going to get shaken up whether I like it or not, my goal is to have it resettle in ways that are more productive for me. More writing, more editing, and more experimenting. I will blog my experiences, and I’m thinking of starting a podcast as well, and maybe some kind of photo journal. The idea is to see what works best for me.
I’ll also be recording the flora and fauna I find in the area, such as I’ve been doing for my current home.
So whether you’re into writing, dramatic changes in lifestyle, the environment, biology, or watching the slow mental meltdown of someone who has moved to a house with no internet access … stay tuned.