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3rd February
written by Tellus

The arrival
After being picked up at the airport, made a stop by walmart and a guy named Slippy, to check out his PA and listen in to a little jam session, taking over the wheel for the drive «home» and driving almost 2 miles on a dirt road into the jungle in pitch black, I was welcomed by flash lights, a bunch of friendly people and coconut bliss – which became my new acciles heal and addiction – my reintroduction to ice cream after a 5+ year separation.

The cause and expectations
GY is a permaculture community located on the Big Island of Hawaii. My primary reason for visiting here was to eat healthy foods in a supportive environment in an effort to improve my western medicine (read antibiotics) wrecked body. I quit my last job in April feeling I couldn’t deal with the constant food poisoning issue anymore, and after some research – in an act of last resort and desperation – I eventually got in contact and started planning my stay with GY.

The setting
During my stay I have been living in the men’s dorm, which is basically an open area with mosquito tented matresses and a tarp ceiling. The idea and first impression of it seems alright and livable, and the coqui frogs make for great evening music. The less appealing sides to this are the mosquitos, various bugs, sometimes damp & cold bed and last but not least rats rummaging around the camp at various times during the day and throughout the night! – I needed headset for that, so no more coqui frog music either..

The entire site is solar powered, meaning we could run low on power at times – this was however only a real problem when it came to washing clothes, which had to be performed on the sunny days, which I never really found to be much of an issue.

Showers area were outdoors, with surrounding bamboo walls, passively heated water and unisex. I quite liked the spacious feeling of the showers and the rain water, in contrast to foul chlorine smelling water, was great. The very basic composting toilet buckets with melikoi leaves for TP and swirling mosquitos I never got quite comfortable with however.

The Landing, which is the communal building, is where we prepared our foods, had our morning meetings, connected to the world wide web and just hung out in community. Coming from a sterilized western society the change can be quite drastic, but most of it I felt right in tune with, bacteria and all – although I must admit the constant running around of the pets, especially the cats climbing around on the counter at any hour of the day, was a bit disturbing.

And lastly, my favourite place (except for it’s sometimes denseness of mosquitos and fruit flies) which made the more uncomfortable parts worth it, the CocoBar!
Every saturday was cocoing day, and sometimes wednesday if supply was running short.

On my first Saturday here I came along for the cocoing with the guru cocoer, Mr A, who free climbs 10-15 coconut trees a week. I was mostly ground crew, lowering down the branches he strapped on and cut loose, but after seeing him in action on a couple of trees I went off on my first coconut climb – which also became the last for a while, leaving me a couple inches from the top, flesh wounded on both palms and a big hickie on the chest 🙂

I never got to master coconut climbing during my 7 weeks at the Big Island, but I will eventually. I did climb for a small coconut during my later travels, but that tree was too short to count. Maybe I’ll find a suitable tree in the US or British Virgin Islands.

The CocoBar gave me so many goods – juices young and mature, young jelly meat and older hard meats, coconut sprouts and of course the mixture used for juicing to cream or blending for ice cream and pure heaven 😀

The foods
As my main reason for visiting was to improve my health by diet, it makes sense to have a short review of my foods throughout the stay. My primary foods have been Coconut in the form of young jelly meat, older meat and sprout, as well as all the various coconut juices contained within.. Once a week we made our meat order, and except for some heart, liver and top sirloin my main meat has been Beef cut for BBQ. It is very thin slices of beef that are very easy to handle and tear apart when eating with my hands only – with a few exceptions (bon fire, thanks giving dinner..) I ate all my meats raw for my one month stay, which felt really easy and natural in this setting. I also kept eating raw meats initially after leaving GY to explore the island, keeping fresh meat in a glass jar, but over the weeks (and as my quality of supply got worse) I ended up cooking most of my meat again. Just a few weeks after going back to cooked meats I can feel the lack of nourishment satisfaction and will look at getting back to raw meats after my January travels (More on that later).

Except for the coconut and meat I ended up eating a lot more fruit during my stay than initially imagined. There might be a short post about the various fruits I got to taste while on the Island, but for now I’ll just let you know some of the fruits I ate were papaya, mango, soursop, jack fruit, atemoya, lilikoi and even bananas (the tiny kind).

Check back soon for a compilation of activities and events during my Big Island experience 🙂

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