This last weekend, Yan 'The donkey whisperer' came back to La Taillede with our donkeys. He also brought his lovely girlfriend, Lucia, his donkey, 2 goats, 5 chickens, 3 dogs and a cat! They brought their home made 'tiny home' on wheels and have set up camp in part of our overgrown forest. They were living in the Rainbow Village which is a community of people living in temporary structures in the forest up towards Batere. They were looking for somewhere to move to because they grew tired of living in a community and needed fresh pasture at a lower altitude to live more comfortably through the winter with their animals.
I got to know Yan and Lucia quite well because they were taking care of our donkeys so I visited them many times over the summer. I like what they stand for. They live a very simple life, treading very carefully on our planet. They need very little to be happy; just each other, their beloved animals, nature and somewhere to live peacefully in the mountains. Lucia is vegetarian, the only exception is she eats meat that she has killed herself. They milk their goats and make goats cheese, have eggs from the chickens which they plan to trade for honey and other things they can't grow or find themselves. They try to make money any way they can, but do not live off any unemployment benefits as they want to make their own way in life and provide for themselves.
Matt and I decided that we could invite them to set up camp in part of our land that we rarely go, and they could help us to clear the overgrown forest with the help of the 3 donkeys and goats. This is work that we alone wouldn't have got round to for many years but it really would be great to uncover the old orchard and make use of the land again. It was incredibly heart warming to feel the overwhelming gratitude from them both for the simple use of part of our forest; but they will also be helping us too so it really wasn't an entirely selfless act!
It also helps us that they take such good care of our donkeys and they love being with Lucia, Yan and all the other animals. Yan takes them all to drink from the dam which is not far from their camp, and is a very beautiful spot. This is where Yan & Lucia wash and take their water from too.
They would like to provide donkey trekking trips for tourists, so we are talking to them about offering this to our guests, which they would be great at. Between them, they speak French, Spanish and English and I think many people would benefit in spending some time with them at their pace in nature.
Imagine of we all lived like Yan & Lucia, or at least thought more like them and lived by their morals; we wouldn't be facing such a seriously disastrous future for our environment and for our children and grandchildren. The best we can do is educate ourselves and our children and think about the way we live our life and what can we do to do our part in saving our planet.