The beautiful Aldea Feliz is an eco village situated in a small green valley, close to San Francisco, Colombia. After the large and pro Findhorn Community in Scotland, this was the first small and young community I visited. Only 1,5 hour from Bogotá and with some English speakers present it seemed like a good place to experience life in an ecovillage. Welcomed by a bunch of wonderful people, sipping on homegrown coffee, watching colibris feed on colourful flowers, this does feel like a feliz paradise. My soul feels nourished, my expectations far exceeded.
From Bogotá to Aldea Feliz
Aldea Feliz has been here for 8 years, and currently has more or less 14 members, including 4 children, basically like a big family of friends. And then there are another 10 or so supporters in the city, all of whom join the bi-montly meetings, using sociocracy for decision making. Most people that live here came here from a life in the city, with the intention to live more happily, in community, and more in balance with nature. About 7 members started, and have been joined by more people in later years. Like for example Nelly, who is a graphic designer from Bogotá – a city of 9 million people – who found out about the Aldea Feliz online, and decided to stay after a visit. Collaboration is important in this community, working together on gardening, cooking, offering courses, and so on. I really felt at home because of the worldviews of the people, the connection to the city, and of course the beautiful surroundings!
The food gardens at Aldea Feliz are not in one place but spread out in different places, and provide the community with fresh quinoa, coffee, bananas, platanas, garlic, parsley, and so on. Coffee is the one product they have in excess, as this is Colombia’s coffee region. The aldea wants to increase food production in the future to be increasingly self sufficient.
Water, Water Everywhere
There is no shortage of water, proven by the daily few hours of rain when I was here ( winter time). Other then a decent amount of rain the aldea is supplied with water from the river San Miguel and a spring across the road. The river and the small man made lake provide water for the gardens, the toilets and washing machines. Three large rain water tanks are situated in the main social area, and the houses can have their individual water systems. Rain water is filtered for drinking water with a sunlight UV filter system where bottles are placed on a rack (see the photo of the coloured bottles). Bottles are moved up one row daily, and once at the top are ready to be moved to the Nikken system to add minerals. This is a generous amount of time, as I believe the water only needs a day of sun, keeping into account cloudy days.
All My Relations
The beauty of an eco village is that you can consciously create a new way of living together, not only with a smaller ecological footprint, but also with inclusive decision making, rituals to strengthen community and space for inner work. I was lucky to arrive just in time for the monthly Sweat Lodge Ceremony, inspired by the Lakota indians. In this beautiful ritual you honour all your relations, Mitakuye Oyasin. This represents a worldview of interconnectedness with all creation. Other people, animals, birds, insects, trees and plants, and even rocks, rivers, mountains and valleys. In four rounds in the sweat lodge, or temascal, you purify the spirit and body, sharing personal stories. Definitely a special experience.
This video explains very well the concept of Mitakuye Oyasin
Another sacred space at Aldea Feliz is the Cusmuy, a communal meeting and ceremonial house. The fire in the Cusmuy burns continuously to represent the heart of the community. The Cusmuy comes from the Muisca people, traditional people of this area in Colombia.
In Aldea Feliz, whether you want to do spiritual practice or not, it is of your own choice. Although I have heard that either way, living in community is the best way to learn to set aside your ego, and accomplish personal growth. For me this was a perfect place to see what living in an ecovillage can be like. Thank you Aldea Feliz for this great welcome!