A thought that I had when we were touring the Eco-Village with Eve on the first day was that this space is cluttered. The planning seemed – to me – disorganized. Unlike the houses in my suburb back home, the houses here seemed to be placed randomly. The roads are not straight, and the spaces overlap. By the end of my living experience in the Eco-Village, however, I found beauty, not in the structuring, but in what Lynedoch represents: living symbiotically in and with nature.
On Thursday, because my group and I were working on our podcast about general sustainability at Lynedoch, I had the opportunity to speak to Ross, a resident of the Eco-Village. She shared with me that for almost forty years, she did not live in a house that she called her own until she moved to Lynedoch. She also told me that she would never sell her house, not for one million rand. The Eco-Village is a community of more than ten families that are racially and socio-economically diverse, but they have come together. When I first heard about the Eco-Village, I thought that it was too utopian to be true. I think the notion of absolute equality is unattainable regardless of intentions. When I walked through the Eco-Village on the first day, I noticed that some houses were larger than others. I also noticed that while some houses had very nice cars in the driveway, other houses did not have cars or even driveways. Lynedoch is not perfect by any means. Although these families are sustainably living in the Eco-Village, not all of the families are on equal grounds. Still, overlooking finances, to co-exist is a concept that South Africa, an unequal country, should learn and adopt.
Side Story: I will always tell this anecdote with a smile. On the tour, as we were walking to the living spaces, we stopped by this tree. One of the students in the group asked Eve about this tree because the student thought it was beautiful. Eve responded (and I am paraphrasing because I did not get her exact words): this tree is not indigenous to South Africa; it is alien to the area. We need to cut it down. Oh, and do not eat the berries. They are poisonous, though you’ll have to eat a lot of them to die.