Intentional Community FAQ

Here are some questions about our eco-village. Please feel free to contact us with any other questions.

How much land do you have, and do you need/want more and is that a good possibility if you had the finances?
We have 4 hectares of land (10 acres), but we are surrounded by undeveloped tropical forest on all sides which makes the land feel much bigger. All of this surrounding land could be purchased — we could literally have 100s of hectares if finances allowed. More land would be nice of course, but right now our thoughts and financial focus are more on developing the land we have.

What size are the lots, how many are there and is there room for privacy?
The homesites are about 20m x 20m and none of the lots are touching each other — the intention when designing the layout was that we should be able to go talk to our neighbours without it feeling like a journey but that each home would have a sense of being private space. There are 9 homesites, 4 of which are taken and 1 of which is almost confirmed — leaving 4 remaining. If the community decided to expand later, purchase more land and offer more homesites, that would be a group decision that we would look at. No one so far is opposed to expanding our project.

Do you have any thoughts/ restrictions/requirements on the types of houses people can build?
We have all agreed to build as naturally as possible — we have good clay deposits on the land leading to earthbag and adobe being good options; Quality tropical wood is also able to be sourced locally. The central building we are working on at the moment is palm thatch roofed, wood beam construction with a concrete hurricane bunker that will be mud and lime plastered to give it a nice natural finish. We have also agreed to use non-septic toilet systems — our well water is currently drinkable as we are the top of the watershed and we are hoping to keep it that way by being concious of how we process our waste.

How about the issue of Ejido?
The land is of course Ejido land (as is all land on the coast here) which means that we have a fairly complicated legal structure — there are many foreigners here who own land under similar structures and the Ejido seems to see foreigners purchasing land as something good for the economy. We haven’t heard of anyone in the area having issues with them.

Do you speak Spanish, how well do you know the area, how well do you get on with the local? Any problems?
My spanish is good as we definitely feel like part of the community here. My fiancĂ© is Mexican and she’s a huge help with more complicated and technical conversations. The locals get on with us well and I have a very good local friend who is a huge help and has been taking good care of us. We don’t even lock up when we aren’t around.

How many permanent residents do you have/want?
Number of residents will end up being based on who comes to be part of the project. Our current setup is that all existing residents have to agree to invite the person/people looking to buy in to the project. So far we have myself and my fiance (late 20s), my father 53, a single woman from Germany (50s), a single american man (early 60s), and a young canadian family (parents in their 30s). We are hoping to have a good mix of ages. 3 of the homesites have gone to individuals — I’m hoping to attract at least one more young family. One of the nice things to me is that our location really has us as a rural neighbourhood of Mazunte meaning that our local community expands past the borders of In Lak’ech village, we have access to local schools, medical clinics, public library, etc. We feel rural but our only a 10 minute bike ride to the centre of Mazunte.

How about Visas, applying for permanent Mexican residency?
Getting residency in Mexico isn’t particularly tricky. You can get PR as an investor/retire by showing proof of funds or proof of passive income. You can also get PR by having qualification in what you plan to do — i.e. degree is business and plan on opening a business. The other option is to leave the country for 24 hours every 6 months — Guatemala is a day drive from here and a relatively painless process. There are many people here who have been doing this for years and years.

Do you want to be as self sustainable as possible – i.e water, electricity as well as food?
As for self-sustainability, we don’t really have a choice — we have to generate our own water and electricity if we want to have them. The good news is we have a very powerful well and are in an excellent place for solar setups. Water systems are a community asset while power systems are up to each homesite — we have agreed not to use electric generators as main power sources but they can be used for running power tools, etc.

What about drugs/alcohol?
As for drugs and alcohol, the vision for In Lak’ech Village is to create a space of conciousness and connection. The agreement is that alcohol and any drug including tobacco is only to be used in a way that doesn’t negatively effect ourselves or others in the community. It hasn’t really come up an an issue at all as none of the current community members use drugs or drink more than the occasional beer or glass of wine.

Have you/anyone there lived in a community or been involved with one before?
I’ve spent a fair bit of time visiting other intentional communities around the world and seeing what was working and what wasn’t. My father spent several years living in intentional communities including a co-op through college, Lost Valley Education Center, and a smaller eco village in Oregon.

What will be/is your decision making process?
We have been using a true consensus system which has been working great so far. I’d like to stick with consensus which should be doable based on our size — if we grow big enough we might talk about adopting a modified consensus model. In my experience, consensus works well when you have a group of fairly concious self-aware people, but can break down when a group gets too big or has participants who find it hard to take a step back and look at decisions objectively. We have been trying very hard to make sure we have the right group of people and as a group have chosen not to invite a few individuals to be part of the project who requested to join.

Thoughts/belief systems on food? ( My diet varies, sometimes raw, sometimes cooked, sometimes meat/fish)
We have no hard and fast rules or agreements on food but we do try to be very concious of what we eat. At this point, there has never been “carne” on the land but we have had fresh fish a few times. Cheese and eggs are more common and we plan on getting some chickens (but no rooster) as our first livestock. A milk goat is on the list as well.

How close are the nearest cell phone towers?
There is a cell tower a few kilometres away and as such we have fairly good cell reception from the high points on the land but not from the valleys. There are no visible power lines anywhere.

How involved are you with Vipassana?
My father has a strong Vipassana practice. He has done 13 10-day sits in the last 2 years and gets in 2 daily sits most days. Most of us in the project have a spiritual practice and make space for that in our lives, though our practices vary; I’m more of a yogi myself. On my father’s homesite, he is planning to build a Vipassana dorm that would be available for old students from all over the world to come and sit personal retreats of various lengths. We might look at hosting gypsy courses in the future, but we are not wanting to create a sanctioned Vipassana center.

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