Without getting in to politics, Cuba is living proof that money has no correlation with happiness.
On the first day I was lucky to meet an incredibly friendly cycle tuk-tuk driver that took me all around Havana and to his local hang outs, all of which were a intensely photogenic.
The 400 person conference started off with a lot of bureaucratic talks on running organisations (mostly in the UK), which was extremely valuable, but not what I had signed up for. The repetitive theme for the first morning was very much around telling some of the best educated individuals in the environmental field how messed up the world is, and then a little bit on their Ideas to make it right. It started slow, with lots of numbers, if, buts and maybe’s, but none the less , it got the conference rolling . Luckily during this phase, I met 2 people that will likely be my friends for life; Daniel Cherniske form Washington state and Stuart Muir Wilson form Australia. As humble as they both seemed, Daniel turned out to be one of the most talented and grounded musicians I’ve come across and Stauart turned out to be one of the biggest driving forces in Permcaulture in Mexico. He’s also Bill Mollison’s grandson, equally as charismatic and has a 2pac ‘thug 4 life’ tattoo but instead saying “Permaculture 4 life”. They made my day, and as the conference evolved in to mind-blowing positive movements, and legitimate examples of what can be accomplished, I was assured that I’m on the right path.
The permaculture tours around Havana were interesting, but also pointed out the responsibility Taino has for setting the benchmark in the region. We are lucky in that we have little limitations (we have no embargo or socialism to contend with), we also have free use of internet (which they don’t have in cuba) and access to tourism. Tourism especially is a huge asset to our organisation, not only because it helps generate funds, pushing progression in all kinds of projects. Tourism also allows us to inspire permaculture in people from all around the world, even in those who had no prior interest, they just liked the idea of floating down the river in a recycled tractor Inner-tube.
The Convergence… There’s no need to beat around the bush, the convergence was the worst organised event I’ve ever attended. It of course lead to the most beautiful collaborations of creativity I’ve ever seen. Get 450 of some of the most openminded individuals on the planet form 47 different nations, put us in up to 6 person dorms, make us line up for 2 hours to be fed meat and slop (which even ran out at times), throw at us a serious tropical storm and watch how we transform it in to the most positive event of our lives. It brought the open, more open, it forced innovation, food foraging, mountain climbing, bodysurfing, singing, created a trance party until the early hours every night. It evolved in to a festival of international unity, with so many great people sharing the wealth of permaculture and world wisdom.
Prior to this trip, I thought I new what I was doing with my life, now I know, it’s as simple as that.