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Visionary Ecovillage Destroyed
by Liora Adler

Thirty years ago, a group of people from different cities and regions of Colombia and from other countries as well, decided to drop out and move to the high Sierras, to create an alternative life style, and to learn from the Mamos, the shamans and elders from the Kogi Nation. They began building their houses, raising their children, growing their food, doing crafts, learning from the local indigenous people, teaching what they knew, developing a sustainable and spiritual environment, and becoming a new emerging tribe. They came to be known as the Hippie/Kogis, founders of one of the oldest Ecovillages of Colombia.

The Kogi, one of the largest and best preserved indigenous communities in Colombia, together with the Arahuacos and the Arzarios, have lived in that part of the Sierra Nevada for centuries, maybe thousands of years, having very little contact with the outside world, preserving their culture, language, environment, forms of government and especially their religion. The first time they opened their villages to the rest of the world was a few years ago, when a crew from the BBC was allowed to get to their hidden villages, talk to their Mamos and let the rest of us know their message, “From the Heart of the World: a message from the Kogi to their younger brothers.”

The Hippie/Kogis are a historical blend of cultures, trying to live the best of both worlds, and three generations of them, have given a very special flavor to the whole area. They have formed an international community, which includes Colombians, Argentineans, Danes and French families. This original community is now part of the emerging Red de Ecoaldeas de Colombia (Colombian Ecovillages Network), which was born this winter at a First Bioregional Gathering, held in the department of Antioquia and hosted and coordinated by La Caravana Arcoiris para la Paz.

On Sunday 12th March the Hippie/Kogis were at a meeting in Bahia de Taganga, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast, when word arrived from the mountains, that all their houses had been burned down to the ground by the FARC, (Frente Armado Revolucionario de Colombia), the largest guerrilla force in the country. Today the Kogi are not allowed to leave their villages. They are confined to the Sierra and are kept as hostages by the FARC in their battle with the Paramilitary forces. Both are trying to hold that strategic road that connects Colombia with the Venezuelan border and provides access to the sea.

As a result of this arson, the Hippie/Kogis have now joined the other 2,000,000 Colombian desplazados - farmers, fishermen, indigenous people all over the country that have had to leave their homes because of the war, and have become homeless, jobless, robbed of their spirit and a growing problem for the oversized cities.

A national and international appeal to all Ecovillages Networks to let the world know about this situation is being coordinated by The Colombian Ecovillages Network and Foundation Servir.

Contact people for all offers of help: