tema - the extra mile adventure arrives

Sunday, December 7, 2008 6:10 PM

A break form the rhythm of the building process occurred at ~ 9 am, as the TEMA bus arrived, led by a local after they made a few wrong turns and wound up on the coastal road the Martin’s took to get here.  What is it about large vehicles that are attracted to terrible roads?  The crew of artists, activists, and community do-gooders were tired after 5 days driving. Immediately they wanted breakfast and, of course, we were unprepared for their arrival, never knowing for sure if the bus of 18 would arrive.

Their hunger, coupled with the fact that many of the participants did not consider they were scheduled to spend 3 days building earthen homes for a gringo and his family, created quite an initial vibe.  TEMA is a bus full of youthful idealism that wants to be in full participation doing community development. When they arrived to find only the Martin’s, Christopher Szechy, and myself building a private earthen home, some were crestfallen.  Since the bus had a cultural run-in the prior day that was never resolved (one member wanted to invite a new member on the bus he met in La Paz - others did not), the group was split on tactics and commitments.  There was unspoken emotions prevalent everywhere.  Our project was caught in the middle of this controversy, ripe with cross-cultural stress.

Finding myself being related to as a ‘gringo’ taking advantage of Mexicans (by hiring them at less than USA wages) and taking advantage of other American ‘busers’ (by having them work on my project for no money, health or benefits), I was tempted to bid them adieu immediately.

But, as the possibility of peace and patience, instead we called a circle and I made a full introduction to the Hootennany project, our intentions, and what we wanted.  I laid out environmental economic, personal, and logistical commitments we have made.  Then everyone got to introduce them self and share what they they thinking. The sharing began to ‘clear the air’,  The majority really wanted to work after 5 days sitting on a bus.  So, the majority decided that working  together was better than fighting. So, we started working.

Working together is the greatest way to get ‘out of our heads’, as we all started to have fun. And work TEMA did!  They allowed us to scale to 3 building teams, and within 48 hours we had constructed 3 layers of the dome-  completing the last of the buttressing which was a joy!   It really was great, with fire dancing at night, big meals, lots of drumming and music, and sharing of stories.

We bought a beautiful jack tuna and ate about 2 pounds of sushi. On Sunday eve, TEMA performed a theatre/dancing/music performance in the plaza central. much to the amusement of the barrachos and El Cardonal community. A great weekend, with many new friends as a result.

Journey well, TEMA, we thanks you for sharing you story with the Hootenanny:-)