This is part two about my time at Raices y Brazos where I volunteered and gave Yoga classes.
I had also the chance to visit a community that built their own houses with natural material like adobe: Bio Sana. There I met a guy from Canada who was the neighbor of my woofing place... Yes, the same mindsets attract each other!
Also I see that a day without any plans and just go with the flow can turn out to be one of the funniest ones I had on my journey. Also I did literally Sun Salutations at the beach in front of a beautiful sunrise for a very talented photographer. In addition I experienced how challenging the life in a community can be... Especially when certain things are not clear. So I decided to leave 5 days earlier than I planned.
Bio Sana and Neighbor from Nelson in Canada
Peter, the founder and owner of Raices y Brazos had lots of connections in Baja California and some eco communities worldwide. He took Arron, Sonya and I, one day to Bio Sana.
All I knew about it was that it was a community which built their alternative houses with natural things. Lots of people told me it would be very beautiful there. So I was very curious!
Bio Sana was hidden in the middle of nowhere. We had to drive through Baja California's beautiful desert.
When we arrived at Bio Sana, I was very impressed: Almost everything you need with a simplistic approach. They had banana trees, papaya trees, coconuts and lots of other plants there. A nice paradise.
I counted three houses that were in the progress of being built. Some things like the kitchen were destroyed by the hurricane from September 2014.
The neighbor of my woofing place in Canada!
Arron, Sonya and I, went to one house which looked quite finished. A guy was working in it and greeted us and he was very friendly. He had steel blue eyes, was around 50 years old but looked like 40. He had a shaved head with a tattoo on his skull.
He was very well-trained and showed a strong self-confidence. Actually he reminded me of David Bowie... He had a similar sexual attraction...
It turned out that he was originally from Poland but lived in different countries and had also property in Canada. I asked where. He said: "In Nelson BC, up the hill." I mentioned that I lived there for two months and did woofing. I asked him if he knows my woofing hosts. Well, it turned out that he was their neighbour! In Nelson I saw his house a couple of times...
How great is that! I was very excited about it. But he was not really impressed. He just said that the world might be huge but the community would be small.
After talking with him I explored Bio Sana’s surroundings. I found a beautiful place under papaya trees and meditated. It just felt right to do it there. The appreciation of simplicity and connection with nature.
Here are some photos of my Nelson guy’s house. All built with sandbags and adobe. Is it not impressive?
Sparkles in the night...
Shortly after Peter said goodbye to us and went to the airport, Jose did something strange and tripped the main electrical panel in the house.
It started with lots of sparks around the panel and one by one the lights and electricity turned off. Raices y Brazos was covered in darkness. Jose panicked and tried to call the Electrician.
The guy was very busy and confirmed he would come the next day. What I really liked was that Arron stayed very cool in that situation and just said that everything is fine and one day without electricity would not be a big deal. Sonya bought some candles and we had a bit of light.
No clue and no Spanish
Next day, the Electrician came in the evening. I already knew him because he fixed some things a couple of days ago during Peter's stay. He spoke Spanish only. My vocabulary was too little to explain what happened. Also I had no clue what exactly happened… I just saw the sparks. Jose was not there to explain.
The hair of the dog
So I went with the guy around to check all places and fuses. We also went outside to the neighbours place. We didn't know they had a dog... The dog came out of its shack and seemed first to be shy. Suddenly it started barking, stopped, looked at the electricity guy and bit him in his leg... It looked almost like:"Hmm, what should I do... Well, it is my job so... Ok… I will bite him." The neighbours took the dog away without any effort. It was actually quite funny and I couldn't stop laughing.
In the meantime, finally Jose arrived! He explained what happened and after 15 minutes, we had electricity again! It was for more than 24 hours we lived without electricity but actually, quite good...
a day without any expectations can bring you lots of fun
One day I caught up very with my friend Violeta, spontaneously. She is a very nice, brave and intelligent Mexican girl. We said that we would meet up at the Organic Market to take some photos of me doing Yoga later. Sounds great!
On my way to the Organic Market, I met Toni, from Barcelona who stayed at Raices y Brazos, and Jorge who lived with his wife in Seattle. He was a chef also and planned to start a business in Baja California. He also stayed at Raices y Brazos for a couple of nights. He grew up in Spain. I like both of them a lot.
Looking for a job
I went with the guys to the Organic Market and we caught up with Violeta. Toni mentioned that he would look for a job at the harbour but he didn’t know how to get there.
Violeta knew how to go there and offered to show him. In addition, it was a good spot to take some Yoga photos. So we walked in that direction. Suddenly a Mexican woman coming from the Organic Market stopped beside us and asked if she could offer us a ride.
Wow! That was kind. She drove us to the place where we had to take the bus to the harbour.
Jobs lay on the street
While we were waiting for the bus, a car with suspicious looking Mexican guys suddenly stopped beside us. Ok, it is a bit judgmental but Jorge and I thought exactly the same. The driver said that he is looking for employees because a hotel close by would reopen in the next week.
What a coincidence for Toni! The offer was not even interesting for him. But still!
The bus came right after the car left.
When we reached the destination - la Playita - Jorge asked Toni in Spanish where the place would be Toni was looking for: "No se! El nombre es puerto..." Well, everything is named “Puerto” there. Jorge just said: "Cono!" It is similar like “idiot” or
pendejo. It reminded me about Spain and I just could not stop laughing.
So we walked further, hoping Toni would find the place. We passed a bar. Toni suddenly said:"Necesito un cerveca!" Qué?! Ok… Jorge, Violeta and I went to the beach and Toni took a break at the bar.
Spanish relaxation or just Toni…?
I remember that he came one morning back to Raices y Brazos and said that he had a crazy night: He met in a bar some Mexicans, went with them to a party with very crazy people and woke up in a Mexican house on the floor between family members. The grandmother bend over his face, woke him up and asked him who he was…
Well, why I was not surprised about that story… For me he is an original and a very lovely and chaotic soul.
Time for Yoga and Catalan people
Toni had his beer and Violeta told me where I should go and do some Yoga poses. In the meantime Jorge explored the beach and talked to the fishermen.
After a while Toni joined us and told us that the waitress at the bar was also from Barcelona and offered him to stay at her place... Crazy!
Here are some of the nice Yoga photos:
After the photo session we were very hungry. Well, it turned out there was a campaign at la Playita that offered food for free. It was very good food that was cooked by some local chefs: nice fish, shrimps, chicken, pasta etc.
It was very yummy! One of the chefs didn't look that Mexican. He had green eyes, dark hair and quite pale skin. I love green eyes. My mum has green eyes as well.
It is funny but the older I get the more the green in my eyes comes through. When I was little my eyes were dark brown. Now it is more hazel and a green color comes through.
I said to him that he does not look Mexican. It turned out his father was from Germany and his mum is Mexican. Jorge and Violeta went a bit away. They said later that they didn't want to disturb us...
Suddenly his girlfriend showed up and gave him lots of kisses. Actually I missed that part. Jorge and Violeta told me about it. I just finished with my food and wanted to have a beer somewhere…
Toni was in the meantime talking to some fishermen about job opportunities.
When we finished the food we went back to the bar where Toni had his beer before. The waitress from Barcelona joined us and I could train my ear for Spanish and could also practice a bit. After two beers it was not that difficult any more ;-).
It got dark and it was time for us to take the bus home. By the way, the buses in Mexico are pimped up American school buses: small and very shaky but they are very fun! Toni started to do some chin ups. Due to the fact that he’s a climber, it was very easy for him.
So I thought I would like to try out my Yoga strengths and hung as well under the bus and climbed around. Well, I didn’t do too bad.
The other passengers cheered us on and mentioned that we were very strong... :-D! I wondered what would happen if I tried that in a bus in Germany...
Feliz navidad in the desert
Ah yes... There was something... Let me see… Ah yes: Christmas!
I almost forgot about it. Well, Christmas in the desert feels a bit unreal. In Germany, it would be cold at that time and I would have a nice Glühwein at the Christmas Market with my friends. I would wear a thick coat, a scarf, a hat and hand gloves instead of shorts, t-shirt and flip flops.
Jose invited Toni, Nico and I, to celebrate Christmas with his family in the countryside. Nico was a guy from Brazil who would bump into Toni randomly, and they traveled for a while together. Nico also stayed at Raices y Brazos and did CouchSurfing as well.
So we had a very nice evening with great Mexican food, bonfire and techno music. Jose’s father was the DJ and liked this kind of music :-).
Real sun salutations at the beach
Violeta suggested we could shoot some more Yoga photos at the beach. The best light would be in the morning when the sun rises. So the idea was to camp at the beach and take photos in the morning.
That was what we did! Jorge said he would also like to come with us. Great! So we confirmed a date and caught up a couple of days later to go to the beach. Violeta organized the tent, Jorge food and wine and me blankets and sleeping bags for us
A bit nervous...
At first, I was a bit nervous about the idea to camp at the beach: what if someone wants to rob us? What if we are in trouble because of the police, what about the bathroom situation? Even though I already camped in the wildness of Canada for four days without shower and very cold nights…
I did not say anything but Violeta saw it:"Jeanine, it is ok! No te preocupes! Everything is fine!"
Everything was perfect
Yes, it was fine! The whole atmosphere was actually perfect. We had later our dinner: lovely chescadillos made from scratch by Violeta, nice canned mussels, wine, tostadas and vodka.
After our dinner, we took some blankets and laid on our backs and just watched the stars.
Relieving conversation with friends
We talked about different topics and I told them that I didn’t feel comfortable anymore at Raices y Brazos and some other things which were bothering me for the last few days. Things I did not talk about, before. I had some arguments with Arron. In the meantime a new volunteer arrived.
A woman my age who lived very much a spiritual path. Some things she did I found very interesting, and some were not my kind of thing. She talked to Arron and me and wanted to connect.
Probably she had good intentions, but I had the feeling it didn’t make the situation better... Maybe I already gave up and made my decision to leave earlier and did not want to discuss it again and again. I was tired about that.
She was also on her journey and was not sure where she wanted to go. At that time, it was the same for me. So I felt a bit of a competition between us. I didn't know if I could trust her. I think that happens when we have fear. When we are in balance we do not have the need for competition because we know who we are. I did not feel comfortable anymore at Raices y Brazos.
It was very relieving to talk with Jorge and Violeta about it. I felt understood and comfortable.
While watching the sky, we saw some shooting stars. When I saw the first one, I scared Violeta and Jorge because I screamed very loud:"Ahhhh! I saw it!!!" I forgot the English word and just explained what it was. Jorge said:"Dios! I thought you saw something scary!"
We also saw something like a magnetic wave. It was like pink dust that swept very fast over our heads. I imagined it might be something similar to the Northern Lights.
It was a very nice evening and after a while, we went to sleep in the tent.
Greeting the sun
Violeta and I woke up very early shortly before the sun rises and dived out of the sea... It was beautiful. We just sat there and watched the scenery. Violeta said: "I love the most about the sun rise that you can watch the sun without hurting your eyes..."
Then I prepared for some Yoga poses and Violeta took many photos.
Later during the day Violeta showed me and Jorge the real downtown in San Jose del Cabo. The area where the local people eat and live. I did not know about it.
I had really a great time! Thank you so much!
Challenging life in a community
During Peter's stay, we got a lot of things done. I had the feeling everyone was highly motivated to bring the idea of Raices y Brazos back: running an evolution center with lots of creativity and possibilities for personal development.
But when Peter left some things changed. Or rather unspoken things came up to the surface. They were all the time there and it was just a matter of time when they came out.
Peter had the idea that the member of the community - in this case Jose, Arron, Sonya and I - would find structure and organization to keep Raices y Brazos going. In theory that sounded great but in practice, it was different.
I had for example no clue at all which role Arron had. It turned out later, that he was a kind of manager.
Different mindsets and ideas clash together
Well, Arron's background was that he was an instructor for the American army and a police officer for 30 years. So he was good at questioning a lot of things and asked exactly the right questions in a sense of what needs to be done. But he wanted to know everything and was very controlling. That was what his experience was and he did it well.
But that clashed with Jose's and my understanding of working together and the philosophies of a community like Raices y Brazos. I felt very controlled and not trusted.
Not feeling home anymore
The good thing for Jose was that he could work more at his first job and earn some money. The bad thing was that I was alone at Raices y Brazos. It was in the fourth week of my stay. I felt very controlled by Arron and the whole atmosphere was full of tension.
I didn't feel comfortable anymore. The other volunteer left after three days. She had her own reasons. I spoke up to Arron and decided that I will leave as well. 5 days earlier than I planned.
There was no way anymore to stay. It is not a nice feeling to come home and feel not comfortable.
Sneaking out in the morning
Jose said Goodbye to me and we hugged each other firmly. I had to admit that I sneaked out in the morning. I neither saw Arron nor Sonya. Actually, I didn't want to. Well... not my normal behavior and also very cowardly…
At least they knew that I would leave in the morning. Well, it was very relieving for me when I left and took the bus to La Paz where I booked two AirBnB's.
When I left I was full of anger and just wanted to go.
"Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." - Buddha
Now I see the whole thing with more compassion and understanding. Understanding for Arron and for me. It was not Arron's fault that things were like they were. Arron has a good soul, for sure.
When people live together it needs to be clear and precise who has which role and which tasks to do. There needs to be cooperation among everyone involved and a leader as well.
Great time at Raices y Brazos
I had a great time at Raices y Brazos for sure. I met very nice people with great mindsets and did a lot of great things there. I could develop my Yoga classes and I had spent creative energy. It was just the last week where I did not feel that comfortable anymore.
I am very thankful for the space I got there.
What comes next?
Read next time about my stopover in La Paz where I bumped coincidentally in a couple I met the day before at Raices y Brazos, booked coincidentally the AirBnB of Peter's friends and owner of one of the houses at Bio Sana and got to know to a very nice backpacker couple. I stayed in La Paz during the New Years Eve.
All that before I took the ferry to Mazatlan to my next workaway place.
Thank you for reading my stories! Besos y abrazos!