By Louis Bourgeois
Beyond the unexpected blessing of the arrival of my daughter Amelie, my immersion into the Cuenca culture has provided clear benefits. My lifelong dream has been to live in an international community, close to the earth and aligned with basic spiritual principles.
Simplicity is one of these principles, expressed in a Zen phrase, “chop wood and carry water.” I could see that living in a pueblo to the west of Cuenca, it would be possible to have a balance of a simple life while still being part of a vibrant cultural city.
It was obvious that my willingness to fully integrate into the local culture opened up all sorts of opportunities. My first rental home in San Jose de Balzay proved to be an ideal “starter project,” a mini-farm where I raised ducks, rabbits and guinea pigs and grew 30 varieties of heirloom tomatoes in a greenhouse.
Other locals were always asking me if I was interested in renting their properties, and along the way one particular place offered a special opportunity. There was less space for actual gardens, but ample room for a large greenhouse. But the key factor was that the house had 8 bedrooms and 2 large rooms perfect for events and community gatherings.
The kitchen space was also very large, and I outfitted it to be a first class commercial equipment. One particular venture, though short-lived, was cooking specialty pizzas and hamburgers and selling them right outside our gate. This was a great way to get to know the local community, as they all came by to check out what the gringo was up to. But along the way, just after a year in this new location, an angel appeared with a very exciting invitation.
Angelita and her husband are one of the very first families to settle in the neighboring pueblo of San Miguel. Because of this, they own property all around the original church, plus vast tracks of land throughout the pueblo. They approached Catty and me to consider renting one property or another. We recently signed two year contracts on a perfect place for a community center and housing for our volunteers who come from all over the world to work on our farm. And just 1/2 mile up the road is our paradise, a 10,000 square meter farm, with a simple house that is now our home. Soon, we will rent a third property, the old house right next to the church, that will house community members. And there are several other properties that we could rent as more come to join the community.
The point of this blog has been to show that when I came to Cuenca with the clear intention to align with the prophecy of the eagle flying with the condor, I trusted that “a new earth would be born.” For me this translates as a new family, wife and child, but also the full realization of my life’s dream, a “new earth” community.
I know that I will happily live out the rest of my life in this perfect paradise.