It’s been an eventful first half of August to say the least at the Academy. Only two weeks into our rad new digs up the mountain – the FungiHaus!! – we feel the collective energy exploding in a million colorful directions, spiraling around into beautiful harmonies, and hinting at new synergies and opportunities. The view ain’t too bad either…
Sentinels over San Marcos. We can still hear the churches loud and cleaR.
Bittersweet times, we said a (temporary) goodbye to our alpha wolf Oliver, who’s California-bound for a few months to network and lay the groundwork for the Mobile Fungi Academy. Wrecca also left for the UK to tie up loose ends so she can come back in time to hit the open road with us.
I finally took my place in the tribe after months of rambling around the lake working on other projects. It’s been a wild ride, but it feels good to finally be Home. I’m stoked to have the opportunity to give voice to the community, and will be documenting and sharing our experiences through this blog, our Newsletter and Instagram. If you’re a writer, photographer or artist and want to get involved, hit me up.
Mayan calendar art and sculpture peek out in all sorts of whimsical places around the house.
House of the Rising Sun
A new crew of ultra-bright lights arrived last week and their warmth of spirit came just in time to dissolve the cold white haze brought in by hurricane Earl. We welcomed Cedar and Carla from Oz, Jan and Leon from Germany, Meirav from Israel, and James and Kit from the US. The very night of their arrival, they braved the muddy mountain trail carrying up three double mattresses, bags of blankets, fifty pounds of oats, and a bunch of other supplies in pitch darkness without complaint. What an initiation! Living twenty minutes up the crater definitely has its charms, lugging supplies up tiny slippery footpaths not being one of them, but at least we are all developing ankle and knee joints of steel!
The kitchen window where the view in the first photo comes from, the symbol to the left is ajmaq, nahual of ancestral knowledge, redemption and forgiveness.
What’s it like living in a huge fixer-upper with twelve people and a bunch of projects on deck? In short, it’s pretty fun! How do we get stuff done? Pretty easily actually…
Good Morning Circles
Roughly every couple of days, we hold a morning circle. This isn’t complicated or heavy. We sit, connecting to each other and the present moment. We close our eyes and let out three good sighs, transmuting whatever weight is pulling on our shoulders into giggles and excitement by the last breath. A quick round on what we’re facing and feeling frees up the emotional stage for the day. Some of us are tired, some are sick, some are just happy and confused. By letting it all out into the open we immediately create the space for understanding. Everyone knows what’s up with everyone else and this allows us to naturally harmonize, nurturing or inspiring each other as needed. If we haven’t expressed with honesty, our higher selves know and that’s enough. Another quick round for announcements and then it’s into workflow. We discuss the tasks on deck and each of us volunteers for what we feel like doing. We break the circle in a different way each time, sometimes with a hurrah, sometimes with an Om, sometimes cutting loose to Sugarman.
west side of the house. The stony dome is an oven that unfortunately doesn’t work very well and our soggy dough pizza night was less than spectacular. if someone has a passion for ovens and wants to come help fix it, we will break freshly bAKED bread in your honor!
A Queen in the Kitchen
Meirav has taken rightful command of the kitchen and delights us with her incredible culinary creations. We’ve been treated to delicious pasta sauces from scratch, perfectly pan fried vegetable patties and rare comfort-food treats such as… garlic bread! Pretty quickly we all moved out the way and there was no contest giving her the title!
Bio-Intensive Garden Beds
Leon on the epic terrace by the gardens, which will be transformed into bio-intensive beds infused with mycellium to make plants happy and grow us lots of food.
The property hasn’t been touched for over a year and there’s a lot of work to be done to get the gardens set up well and producing food. Luckily we’ve got two permaculture enthusiasts on the team who are eager to do a microclimate assessment and get zoning. The compost needs to be moved closer to the gardens and we would love to get some chickens and a bee hive.
Dry Space for Workshops
It’s full steam ahead with Tuesday workshops for the travelers passing through town and the house has gifted us with a wonderful new space to host them in. The hike up the hill may be daunting, but the solid roof and walls more than make up for it, especially when it’s pouring.
Wednesdays are now reserved for free workshops for the Kaqchikel Mayan community. We are beginning with a basic introduction to fungi including nutrition concepts and will expand over time to more advanced cultivation techniques and permaculture gardening. And maybe a sprout workshop too. Our long-term goal is to help foster self-reliance and develop food security for the community through sharing this important and empowering knowledge.
A Local Fungi Project
Eva grows blue oysters on bundles of corn cobs, without a doubt the most easily sourced shroom loving substrate in central america.
We connected with Eva in Tzununá who runs a small business cultivating blue oysters. Her setup was impressive, even though she recently faced a contamination problem and lost over twenty grow kits, equivalent to about 400 Quetzal. A couple of days later she came up to our house with her two boys to learn how to do spore prints. It’s been a joy to exchange with this sharp, inspired young woman who’s keen to continue learning more about fungi and developing her business.
the Stone stairway leading up from the lower sleeping quarters. Beautiful chilling spots abound!
Sergio, a biologist colleague of Masjid’s, came to visit for a couple of nights and organized a pre-dawn trek to observe and catalog some local bird species. Sergio is working on conservation research for the protected area above San Marcos between San Pablo and Tzununá. Guatemala is one of the most biodiverse geographical regions on the planet and the lake Atitlán area is no exception. The crater’s elevation varies between 1500 and 2900 meters above sea level and so hosts a variety of microclimates supporting an wide array of species. Sergio is working to catalog the birds and animals and the Academy will assist by researching and cataloging the fungi. We are also working to develop a mycoremediation plan that addresses soil and lake contamination.
Gearing up for Greatness
Morning coffee and crowdfunding prep
With roughly five months left in San Marcos before the Fungi Bus arrives to take us south, there’s lots to do and prepare for. We want to make sure our community work is well rooted and can continue to evolve independently on its own. We will be looking for other mycologists, fungi enthusiasts and permaculturalists who can take over the house project and continue the outreach programs to other towns around the lake.
We are also hard at work getting our crowdfunding campaign for the bus ready to launch on September 1st! If you want to help us get the word out, we would love for you to join our digital flashmob on Thunderclap. This will help us launch with a bang.
Much love from the Fungi Tribe
Stay tuned for more updates and surprises!