TRC is a special place. Where else in this fast-paced world do you find 280hectares of land run solely by volunteers? It’s not an impossible thing to find, but it’s definitely a rarity.
This 280 hectares of land, where healing, environmental work, community support and dharma practice takes place, is strongly supported by the hard work of those who have felt a tug-of-the-heart to be here.
At present, the centre is run by Pippa Cope – a mighty strong woman who has managed to lay the foundations for TRC. She has spent 13 years turning this land from a farm into a retreat space. She is beautifully compassionate and helpful towards the individuals of the informal settlement, and whenever something needs to be done, they always go to Pippa first. She stays here in deep dedication to Akong Rinpoche and serves as an inspiration to us all.
Then there are the two permaculture enthusiasts – Coen & Megan – who have managed to get the environmental wing up and running. With their 3 year dedication to the centre, they have managed to start Tikologo which has added many beneficial elements to the landscape, such as: swales, a chicken coop, an orchard, a nursery and zone 1 garden that has truly enriched the previously bare soil. Their tireless work is enhancing the land and their water harvesting focus will aid the centre in many years to come.
Alan, stays at the retreat centre. He is our Dharma Holder and serves as retreat support when people choose to come and spend some time in the serenity of Tara’s Vally on personal retreat. He is or guiding light in this valley and every one who passes through here, especially the long-term volunteers, are grateful for his presence. We sometimes even joke that we should all wear bracelets that have WWAD printed on them…so that whenever we are in doubt we could look down and think ‘What Would Alan Do?’
I am working in the office here – it’s not exactly a position that people are queuing up to fill but it’s kept me here, in this special place. I have learned more than I ever could have anticipated and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world. In fact, it has been so tremendously beautiful, that my TRC experience could serve as an offering.
November hasn’t brought much rain but it has brought two new volunteers. First to arrive was Chesley – our smart cookie from Harvard. Chesley has a wonderfully sunny disposition and has completed her Biology degree and is enjoying her traveling fellowship from Harvard. After two years that has been set aside to see the world, she is hoping to study medicine. She has been swimming in waterfalls and river eyes and enjoying quiet evenings watering the TRC gardens.
Then we have our nomad – Alex – whose travel route has been: London, Poland, Mozambique, and now, TRC. She is a great character who has a beautiful spiritual journey both behind and ahead of her.
So, now that you know a bit about the team, here is what we got up to yesterday:
We packed the car with dogs, people and sandwiches and headed off to the Marico Oog. We arrived and set up an umbrella where we sat together and ate sandwiches and naartjies, and then we swam. And boy, did we swim! We jumped from rickety diving boards, and swam together through tunnels. Then, we made a team effort to swim over the actual eye. We swam through the fence and then made it to The Eye.
The water was a deep, rich blue and the beams of light converged at the bottom, making for a spectacular sight. We sat on top of barrels that rest in the water, holding up a barge, and we chatted, meditated, sang and had fun playing ‘barrel wars’.
Then, after a long day in the sun we headed home – to TRC – the place where all of our hearts rest each night. Our home where, together, we learn & grow, and at the same time, we help others, because TRC holds space for so many people who pass through here, providing much needed healing and rest. So, with that in mind and after a beautiful day together, we all closed our eyes with a soft smile on our faces, thankful for our time here.
|Doe Oog in Groot Marico|