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A day spent at HueHue ("way-way")

Written on: Monday April 14th, 2008

A journal entry from: North America in our Camper Van!

Just down the hill from the Farm, not more than a five minute drive, is the Ecovillage Huehuecoyotl. Although we had been planning on stopping in from the first day we arrived, it took us almost three weeks to finally make time and arrange for a visit. Toņa, one of the co-founders of the 28 year old ecovillage, agreed to tour us around and chat in exchange for some help in her yard and garden. Rob and I arrived and immediately felt a very warm connection to Toņa, we chatted (and worked) for several hours about everything from the history and structure of the Ecovillage, to stories of her youth and travelling in a Gypsy Theatre, to suggestions on how she could turn the water fall behind her house into generating electricity via micro-hydro. We enjoyed a late lunch together and were still at her house at 10 pm that evening showing her how to create her own website/blog to post her art and advertise the small guesthouse that she was looking to rent out. We talked so much that we did not even complete the tour of the house nor did we visit the rest of the Ecovillage, as originally planned. As we left Toņa happily offered for us to return for a tour of her house and the rest of the Ecovillage.

We returned two days later, video equipment in hand, and Toņa proceeded to guide us around the property. Although no building and safety codes has meant that Rob and I see unsafe installations everywhere in Mexico, the benefit is that residents of the Ecovillage have had a lot of freedom to experiment with alternative building techniques and materials, grey water systems, composting toilets, latrines, green roofs and even biological black water treatment. Back home, many of these things are banned or the paper work and red tape required for the appropriate permit would be a nightmare. Toņa?s home is a ?green? artists dream; nestled amongst craggy cliffs, beautifully painted and tiled walls and ceilings, interesting curves, appealing and uniquely shaped windows all integrated with ecological systems such as unique rain water catchment, grey water re-use and biological black water treatment. She collects all of her water during the rainy season from a natural waterfall behind her house and stores it in an 80,000 litre cistern. The cistern, its top painted in a beautiful mural, also serves as a large patio for her house.

A cascading grey-water system ensures that all the water she uses in her kitchen and bath serves a second function, to water the outdoor herb garden, veggies and other plants. A bio-digesting toilet (which uses anaerobic digestion) provides fantastic fertilizer to the banana trees out font.

We next toured the Ecovillage where Toņa took us to the 400,000 litre community concrete water cistern, which to us, looked a little like an Aztec pyramid. Water is collected in the rainy season from a second waterfall on the property. After visiting the community garden, theatre and other communal spaces, we were a little short on time and therefore only visited one other of the 15 homes. This home also incorporated many ecological principles, grey and black water treatment, had solar and micro-hydro among other features.

Overall, the Ecovillage was very interesting. We?ve been rather curious about this style of community living and the time spent at Huehue has definitely opened our eyes to some of the great advantages. We also questioned Toņa about the disadvantages: lack of privacy, legality issues, decision making, common-ownership, dealing with other people, etc. Toņa was honest about the disadvantages but indicated that tools and framework were available to deal with all of these. After 28 years living in Huehue, she was still very content with her choice of living style and convinced that the advantages outweighed the disadvantages.

By the way, if you are in the area and looking for a unique, beautiful and eco-experience, we would highly recommend staying at Tona?s Posada (Guesthouse) in Huehuecoyotl. She is also looking for a house-sitter for the month of June and potentially July? You can find her website and contact information here.