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project intentional community

Friday, May 8th, 2009

by a community-minded spirit
Berlin, Germany

We have stayed in a few intentional communities (and more are coming up in the future) – everything from a group of friends living together “half family half commune” to the website-toting mission-statemented Permanent Hospitality Project Berlin, from families in Laos to a community house in Estonia.
We have seen different structures, different systems, different organisation, different communication, different ideals, different realities. We have also seen common threads. And we are left with plenty of questions, which I intend to throw out to cyberspace. Feel free to comment. Or even answer!

Is it uncharitable to turn people away?
We have been fortunate to have been taken in by people, who really did not have room for us. Did they need to? Would relationships in their homes have been less strained if they had limited themselves to the number of guests they could host comfortably without an extra eleven squishing in? Or were the stresses there anyway? Let’s face it, in the smallest place we have stayed, a 6m circular ger in Mongolia, filled with seventeen people, there was no friction at all. Who knows?

Can the “we’re all adults and will pitch in with whatever needs doing” philosophy work anywhere? Won’t a minority always end up doing the lion’s share of the work, while the rest “don’t see” the needs. Are people not going to learn to think if they are given a responsibility (aka chore <wink>) to be in charge of (ie do themselves or delegate out or find willing helpers to work together or pay someone to do!!) for a week? Are chore lists so bad? Would it hurt to let people know how much it is costing for them to take a five minute shower or boil a kettle of water? (Of course the Berlin group do not think this is a bad idea – they purchased a little doodad to help them work out exactly that while we were there. One hour of internet is the same as two cups of coffee.)

How does communication in a many-person household differ from smaller groups? How do you let newcomers know the routines/expectations/number of people who will be around for dinner? How do you resolve conflicts? To what extent can one person speak on behalf of the entire group?

Do all such communities have a common goal? What happens when someone joins, who does not share the original vision? How do you let people know what your vision is before they sign up?

How do equal-sharing communities work their finances? Who pays for what? How are decisions made about how to spend common money? Who is responsible for paying the rent, buying the toilet paper?

I told you there were lots of questions!


Thursday, April 30th, 2009

by a crafter
Tallinn, Estonia

What a wonderful array of handcrafted items – and what’s more, you can even watch the masters at work.
For you wool-workers out there, you would have loved this shop. Just look at all those hand-knit socks and mittens….and needle-felted bits and bobs…..and there were intricate lace scarves and wooden toys and handmade wooden spoons in all manner of shapes and sizes, and wrought iron handles and candlesticks, all jumbled together in the same shop.


If knitting isn’t your thing, maybe you’d have preferred watching the glass-blower:

And by special request, here’s a sampling of what’s been coming off *my* needles, just for you Karen:

Dadda-sized “Cast on karst”

Two for Mama (Slouch Socks and Trans-Siberian Lace)

And lots of kiddly-sizes (not all are in photo as many are on feet!):
All named of course: Lick-A-Lollipop, Judder Bars (not only in memory of the stripes, but of the Chinese road they were knit on), Mekong Mountains, Made In China, Leftover Lace, Muddy River, Totally China (even the wool was bought there).
Right now I’m knitting “Snow Melts”.

Not that I’m the only one creating stuff. Look at what Kboy11 got up to for a couple of days, helping a half-Finnish Australian girl create a new room under a side roof – together they cut a door hole in the wall, laid floorboards, made a door and furnished it with second-hand finesse.

hardly famous

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
by Rach Tallinn, Estonia How do you explain reasons for a world trip, your goals for sustainable living, home education (“No, actually, we don’t use a programme”), and what we think of religion (well, the interviewer did ask) all in half ... [Continue reading this entry]

Old Town Tallinn Test

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009


What year was knighthood abolished in Estonia? a) 1147 b) 1783 c) 1920 How many generations in a row of one family ran the town apothecary business? a) 3 b) 7 c) 10

And since when ... [Continue reading this entry]

simply welcoming

Monday, April 27th, 2009
by Rach Tallinn, Estonia

We’re in a community house. Breakfast is shared with a red-hat-wearing dreadlock-bearded Santa Claus’s helper. This Finnish man actually went to school with Santa Claus. We certainly didn’t have any inkling we’d ... [Continue reading this entry]

clean and tidy

Sunday, April 26th, 2009
by environmentalist Rachael Tallinn, Estonia Again we’re surprised at how an imaginary line can cause everything to be instantly different. On one side, where we’ve just come from, is a roller-coaster-bumpy road lined with pines and birch trees. Russia ;-) As we ... [Continue reading this entry]