For 3 weeks I lived with the Ecopazifico team in the pacific coast of Colombia in the town of La Barra. This initiative was born in the heart of Rommy Schriber a committed and inspiring leader who was born and raised in Colombia and has lived for the past 7 years in Berlin. Recently after working for many years as an acroyoga teacher, a series of coincidences, including a contact with the Sea Shepherd organization in Australia, brought her the revelation that her mission wast to create Ecopazifico. She felt she had to protect the whales and all the beautiful people and sea life of the magical region of her country Colombia, where annually these soft giants of the sea migrate to have their babies. She knew well this region of Colombia where she often went on vacations with her family as a child.
La Barra, Juanchaco and Ladrilleros are only accessible by a 1-hour boats ride from Buenaventura, the biggest Colombian seaport in the Pacific Ocean. This region is mainly inhabited by African decedents and indigenous cultures. There is no formal recollection of waste by the government resulting in the terrible habit of burning all their plastics. The problem is not only how they dispose of their waste but that huge amounts of plastics that is brought in by the tides.
I was appalled by the amounts of bottles, tops, flip-flops, toothbrushes, combs and the millions of plastic bits. It not hard to imagine the plastic soup the oceans of this world have become, I saw it on these beaches, as the confetti of colorful plastics arrive every day with the tides, piled up on the shore and in the caves of this paradise.
The idea behind Ecopazifico is to create an environmental educational project for these communities. People from all over the world are invited to come to Colombia to share their knowledge and creativity. The work is mainly with the kids, the future guardians of the land. Their happiness, enthusiasm and openness was overwhelming!
The work in Ecopazifico is voluntary. I had the pleasure to be surrounded with a group of people who share the same passion. Talented creative individuals like the amazing Talya Weinberg a humanitarian clown, who brought magic, humor and love to these children with her play Personal Magic ( visit her website). The children and I were delighted with this beautiful story!
It was also amazing to collaborate with the super creative Marie Lala Espe from Berlin (visit her website) who patiently picked up Mapare (material to revive), cleaned, sorted and came up with beautiful signs to put up in the town.
Danilo Ruiz and Eike-Kristina Barth are staring a program to teach Permaculture to the community.
Rashida Rigotnot only maintained our compounds impeccable and cooked marvelously but has put her knowledge of working with children to good use during the many activities Ecopazifico shared with the kids of La Barra.
During the first meeting with the town’s ecological group and children we introduced them to Ecobricks and the children were delighted, becoming fervent ecobrickers! Ecobricks were to become their ticket to participate in all the following activities. The response was amazing!
Some of the activities we did with children during my stay where:
MAPARE treasure hunts ( cleaning the beach and playing at the same time)
We made music and did the Mapare danced which the kids loved!
We made puppets, boats and other creative creatures and things
From now till December various other artists will attend Ecopazifico, and there are talks of building an Earthship, a multi cultural cummunity centre in January in this beautiful land:
There are many obstacles to surmount including apathy from the older generations, divisions in the different culture that coexist and finding lasting sustainable solutions to the problem of disposing of waste in this region, but working with the next generation is crucial to start the much needed change, they will be the guardians of this land and of the sea life.
For me this is just the beginning with Ecopazifico, I fell in love with the people, the amazing beauty of the landscape, with Rommy and all the friend that shared this adventure with me and supported my journey. People like Villas (Juan Pablo), Rodrigo, Sylvia Rivera, Ivan Kertznus and Patricia Mercado who made my stay in Colombia unforgettable…Thank you!!!!! I will be back!
My wish is that this project “echoes” and brings “paz” peace to this world. Together with can make Ecopazifico a marvellous social creative experiment that can be replicated all around the world.
If you would like to participate in Ecopazifico visit the website and find out what are the requirement to participate as a volunteer! You can also support the project with your donations and by sharing this post with your social media contacts!