Last month the YIP community bade a farewell to their collegues in Piracanga as well as each other, breaking up into internship groups, they began the next phase of their YIP experience. This newsletter aims to give a special insight into each of the internship groups.At the end of the newsletter there is a short introduction to the current situation with the alumni map and an update about YIP 11 from the Organising Team.
It was a beautiful blue sky as we came out of the Nepal International airport on Thursday 8th of February. It was almost twenty degrees Celsius, however the air felt cold and crisp. We were all met by the smiling, reassuring face of one our hosts, Santosh who works at The Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco Foundation. We climbed into the minivan. The pollution and dust in our eyes stopped us from falling asleep after our epic four-day journey travelling from Brazil to Nepal.
As I looked out over the vast, sprawling landscape everything appeared slightly chaotic. There were multicolored buildings sitting under the beautiful sharp, pointing, blue and white mountain tops. Men and women clutching their children in blankets whilst stationed at the traffic lights. I had never seen so many motorbikes. Upon closer inspection I was intrigued by the cars and people weaving meticulously between each other.
After about one hour the van turned down a dusty road with a steep ravine on the left-hand side. As we drove, all the preplanning anxieties of what our internship would look like evaporated. My body and mind excited and happy to be in this magical place, I was going to have another life changing experience. As I looked down the busy side streets with their quirky shops I mused on how contrasting this experience was from the quiet, peaceful, relatively rural ecovillage in Bahia, Brazil to this huge hustling, bustling cityscape.
We were shown into the main house at the eco foundation with cream colored scarfs draped over our shoulders as a thoughtful welcoming gift.
As the days turned to weeks a daily routine emerged. There are many projects here at the foundation. Bio-construction (to help rebuild homes after the devastating earthquake in 2015), volunteering at the jewelry shop, on the farm and gardens, as well as volunteering in the community cafe and Waldorf inspired school and kindergarten. All seven of us volunteered in different projects. So far, I have chosen to be in the Waldorf inspired kindergarten. I was very warmly welcomed by the staff and children who brought me up to speed on how the kindergarten operates. Every morning I look forward to seeing the children’s faces as they sing Nepalese and English nursery rhymes. The evenings so far have been spent mingling and getting to know the other volunteers who are staying at the foundation. They come from all over the world including Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Wales and the United States.
I have really enjoyed travelling here with my internship group, much laughter has been had and it is also reassuring when so far from home to be with friends who can share the experiences in Brazil, Nepal and Sweden together.
Written by: Celina Stuart
Global warming, corruption, right wing movements. Drop-out of life?
Not for our internship hosts Sarah, Simon and their kids Ayla and Sam! Just recently they’ve received a 50 year site lease for an old hydroelectric power plant in the heart of the Sierra Norte de Sevilla, a natural park in Spain where they’ve started an economic and ecological regeneration project called La Casa y Fábrica de Luz.
After a lot of organizing, fundraising (a big thank you to everyone who supported us) and planning with the amazingly helpful Sarah, we arrived in Sevilla where we strolled through the still sleeping town looking for a warm place to have breakfast. Another two-hour bus drive and we stood in front of a house in the middle of the small village of San Nicolás del Puerto with mixed feelings about the cold, dusty and over a 100-year-old house, that hadn’t been lived in for 20 years.
The next day already looked brighter. The sun was warm and our hosts, with their super welcoming attitude, lifted our spirits up and let us forget about the uncomfort of the house. The tour around the site revealed a big area with huge potential with grand buildings from 1899 that were very deteriorated but beautiful treasures!
Already many ideas and plans at every corner, still leaving space for our own creativity. The hydroelectric generators, as old as the buildings themselves, are museum pieces with their astonishing mechanics while also, a soon to be working livelihood for our host family. Fascination and excitement towards the upcoming six weeks arose!
Meanwhile our house is becoming increasingly cosier and more and more our home. We fixed the stove that keeps us warm, delicious meals are being cooked and the sour dough is resting for its first bake. Languages are not only being taught to the locals, Our own Nico is also learning a new one: “Ich bin ein kaputter Krankenwagen!”
Raised beds in permaculture style, a chicken coop, fights with brambles, child minding, a ping-pong table, language classes for locals, university applications, cooking and baking, discussions about conspiracy theories – that’s only a part of our everyday life in San Nicolás.
We’re in good spirits and looking forward to the rest of our time!
Written by: Linus Bingger
After spending 10 weeks at the Piracanga ecovillage in Brazil, six Yippies waved goodbye to the other ones and wondered into the desert, into the SEKEM community in Egypt.
We were surprised at first when we came into this community, as the image is far from our imagination of Egypt. SEKEM has a more European style than we expected, with white round clay houses, green grass and beautiful flowers. Everything is well organized, and functions in its own way.
The area includes the Nature Tex factory for clothes, the medical centre, a hotel, a cultural space, schools from kindergarten up to grade 12 as well as for vocational students and also offers special needs education. SEKEM also has a farm, a garden and a cafeteria.
Every morning, all of the community start their day with small circles, and at the end of the week all workers (around 2.000 people) end together in one big circle where they report briefly about their work. The heads of each section also shake the workers’ hands one by one and send them home for the only holy day of the week. This is something special in Egypt, that instead of having Saturday and Sunday as their weekend, they only have Friday off. Our internship group is living together in the Art House even though the six of us have different missions within SEKEM. Two of us go to the school (each focusing on different subjects and activities), one of us working at the Heliopolis University of SEKEM, one of us at the head office, one writes articles for SEKEM, and one of us is working with construction, also at the Heliopolis University. Every evening we sit together, share food and also experiences of the day.
Once a week we hold an internship community meeting, as well as a weekly meeting with SEKEM. Around the bonfire we have had small chats and deep level conversations with the SEKEM community and we are building up the connection between our internship group and the community.
“What’s your name?” “what’s your name?” as soon as we entered the school, children came and surrounded us, staring at us with curiosity, while one by one asking us the same question about our names again and again.
My mission at the school is to offer music lessons, from class 1 to class 6, as well as singing English songs with the students at the beginning of their English classes.
This is my basic job, yet unexpected tasks can also come along, such as playing accordion in the morning circle, figuring out piano part for the children’s presentations on Thursdays, and playing a piano piece as an opening for teacher’s meeting and so on.
This is the third week of our internship. Daily busy life is going on in its own pattern, still to be continued…
Written by: Yu Show Huang
It’s now been four weeks since we arrived in the Philippines — and we’ve been experiencing many initiatives and moving around a LOT. So much that we haven’t slept more than 4 nights in a row at the same place! The discomfort of living out of our backpacks has been made up for by the incredible hospitality of our Filipino hosts. We are treated like royalty and they share their love, laughter and happiness with us, from Manila to Baguio to Bayawan to Cebu.
During our three weeks in Bayawan, we worked closely with Bayaw-ANI (Bayawan Advocates for the Network of Indigenous Initiatives). This non-profit collective is comprised of Bayawanons striving to bring harmony & consciousness to their city through diverse spheres including city planning, youth & community affairs, bamboo crafts, organic farming, and waste management — so this partnership taught us a lot about societal threefolding. We were touched by how they each ran an envisioning process for their families about what kind of future they want for their city and family. Partnering with Bayaw-ANI helped us stay grounded, as we consistently hosted check-ins together starting with conscious mediation for very open dialogue.
In the cultural sphere, we could really experience their impact when the Tawo-Tawo Festival, Bayawan’s biggest cultural event, was organized by a Bayaw-ANI member for the first time. The festival was redesigned from a traditionally very competitive contest to a collective celebration!
One of Bayaw-ANI’s major initiatives is their bamboo bike workshop. The initiative focuses on bringing the indigenous craftsmanship of working with bamboo back to the people, in particular with bicycles. Ilias took the chance to build one himself and will soon be one of the first to ride a bamboo bike in Europe!
We’ve been following an inquiry into education by working with the organizers of Y-NOT, a three-month educational program empowering the next generation of leaders. Bringing our thoughts and experiences from YIP, our meetings have gone into the discussion of daily rhythms, frameworks, curriculum and accommodation design. We’ve really enjoyed our discussions around the purpose and intentions of Y-NOT and are very excited for its future!
We also had the chance to partake in an MISSIONS’s (Movement of Imaginals for Sustainable Societies through Initiatives, Organizing and Networking) MCW (MISSION Courage Workshop) which gathered together inspiring, passionate change-makers.
We have been going from initiative to initiative, and everywhere we go we are amazed by the dedication and time that people put into making their society a better place.
Written by: Mackenzie Nase, Robbie Solway and Ilias de Quidt
The Alumni Map Project
The idea of a place that maps the YIP network has been around for a while and has existed in a few different forms. Ideally the Alumni map is digital place where alumni, Yippies and people from the YIP network can connect, mentor each other, share ideas, funding and work opportunities.
In late 2017, some YIP 9’s gathered together to create a new form of Alumni map that would especially provide a point of contact and connection to the YIP and wider network for current Yippies as they finish transition out of YIP.
More alumni and current Yippies have joined in through fortnightly online meetings. We are thrilled that the project is developing and becoming more concrete with every meeting.
The aim is to create a prototype of the map that will be complete in the next month, tested and then presented at the YIP Gathering in August 2018.
This project is currently being built by a core team who have taken on the challenge of creating a platform that is more versatile and autonomous. The map is being built by Kathrin (YIP 9), Misha (YIP 3) and Robbie (YIP10) with the support and input of Nil (YIP 6) Lucilla (YIP 9), Rose (YIP 8), Jonna (YIP 9) and Rebeca (YIP9).
If you are interested in any way to help or join, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
YIP 11 Design and Planning
While the participants have been engaged across the globe in sustainable and forward thinking international internships the team here in Ytterjärna have been designing and planning YIP 11. As each new application is processed and each new applicant accepted, their photo appears on the wall in our office and they look down upon us as we plan the 10-month curriculum they will be engaged in. After re-visiting the aims and objectives of the program and critically evaluating the different blocks with the help of the feedback from participants over the previous years we have begun the process of creative design. It is a joy to reconnect and confirm celebrated returning contributors such as Nicanor Perlas who confronts participants with the impact of technology and artificial intelligence in the forming of our society. It is also exciting to reach out to new contributors bringing needed themes of our time such as colonization and migration. The afternoon curriculum is also taking shape with a greater focus on designed self-led learning as well as with the digestive processes of singing, art, movement and agricultural work. We will be welcoming new (and returning) members to the team as well as new alumni volunteers. We will venture on an outpost, bring back the initiative forum and step into new internship collaborations.
The program is taking shape and our excitement for the year to come grows! If you know of anyone who would benefit from participating in YIP, spread the word and encourage them to apply sooner rather than later to secure their place in the program.
There are only 2 weeks remaining until YIP 10 return from their internships and we on the team are longing to see them all again and step into the last months of YIP 10 together. We will begin by hearing all about their internships in the open presentations on the 3rd and 4th of April at 09:00. If you are in the area, you are most welcome to attend!