Oasis learning village – awakening our resourcefulness to live together.
Building on the blogs about learning to belief, cooperate and holding diversity, these are all only useful if we put it into action, manifest it into something tangible. This is where a lot of projects stop, from words into action we get stuck into limiting thoughts about where money should come from or how the system won’t allow us to what we actually want. Therefor the next lesson is maybe one of the most vital ones for reaching our goals.
Learning to be resourceful
There’s one thing that is implicit in the Oasis Game that is sometimes left unsaid. But we believe that communities have the resources internally available to solve the problems they are facing, even if they are not aware of it themselves. To stimulate that we work without any budget to make the dream projects possible to not get trapped in a mindset of non-resourcefulness. What do we need to make a garden or a community space or garden? Space, materials, manpower, ideas, movement, tools….
Villagers are interesting places. In many places in Europe, or actually in the whole world, there’s a movement of people moving to cities. Although we believe in cities we have more, we actually many times have less. In worst case scenario’s people end up in shantytowns or in the marginalized areas of a city. The Oasis focusses on constructing everything with existing resources instead of waiting for others to do it. It’s a lot harder to find wood, plants and paint in urban context and in Bad Gandersheim resources seemed to be everywhere. One of the local participants lived in a farm just outside of the centre where she had stocked up anything you can imagine to live independently for the next 10 years.
She herself and that situation was exceptional, but nevertheless there was a need to be resourceful and creative in a different way during this Learning Village program. Apart from the community garden there was a dream for more community meeting spaces. It was a challenging dream, cause it was very hard to get some of the empty spaces available on a very short term and at the same time there was a question what the real purpose was of this dream. Was it about having a space, or creating the conditions for people to meet and express?
After a lot of consultation and deepening of the needs and possibilities the conclusion was that there was a dream for a living-room feeling, but outside of home. So what do you do with that? Get everybody to bring elements of their home and create a pop-up community-meeting space on the cities main square! How about having a coffee and a chat on a sofa, reading a book of a neighbour and having a dialogue about the future of the town as if sitting at your own kitchen-table?
Re-learning to live together
Oasis Learning Village was not just an interesting experience and the
creation of a community garden or a pop-up community space. It was not just
another EU-project and pack up another methodology to stock up in your backpack
of tools. These four/three moments represent an opportunity to re-learn to live
together, with the village context as a small scale society.
Our pre-dominant structure of society is still one that’s based on the possibility to live fully in separation, in which we buy all solutions and if we don’t want we don’t necessarily need to interact with anybody.
I say it’s pre-dominant, because our experiences have shown that other ways of living are still possible if we’re open to learn together. We may as well have to start opening up for it. The current belief systems that is based on a sense of separateness of the other, of community, of nature, is not really bringing us where we could or should be going. Many people know that things should and could be different. And at the same time we have sparse experiences available for that. The Oasis Learning Village showed that other ways are possible if we keep a learners-eye and develop the village-eye.
As much as the Oasis lies dormant in every community, possibilities to re-learn to live together are there under the surface waiting to be awakened. In all villages, cities and neighbourhoods. If we want to alter the course of our collective future we have to start opening up to new cycles of learning-by-doing-different-reflecting-re-learning-by-doing-different-reflecting-re-learning-by-doing-and so on….
It all starts with a shift in ourselves, seeing everyday as an opportunity to grow, together.