Keeping the pace of our social movement in Colombia

By Jennifer Trujillo Obando

One month ago, at the South of Colombia, at the very heart of the country’s conflict zone, ecovillagers, indigenous, afrodescendants, peaseants and citizens, we were all together dancing under the fiery sun crowning the mountains of Guambia, territory of the Misak indigenous people. We were there to celebrate the IX version of the Call of the Mountain -Llamado de la Montaña 2015- that is the most relevant annual gathering of CASA Colombia.

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During 5 days, elder and young created, envisioned, conversed, worked together and learnt a way of union within diversity, immersed in the blue and magenta of the minga and Tampal Kuari traditions of Misak culture.

The Call of the Mountain was first convened by RENACE (Colombian Ecovillage Network) and today it is organized by CASA Colombia. This event has been taking place every year since 2006 when for the first time, pioneers on the ecovillage movement in the country gathered to share as family and explore the ways to foster a social movement.

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The gathering remained as a restrained encounter, convening mainly people connected to ecovillages. By 2012, RENACE, aimed to articulate national networks of sustainable settlements in America, and for the first time implemented the Council of Visions as methodology to organize encounters in real time among social sectors, but most important as a pedagogic proposal to articulate a social movement.

There the Call of the Mountain gave birth to CASA Continental, inspired by the ecovillage movement around America and, at the same time, acknowledging the claim of urban initiatives, different networks and people from diverse fields of actions for an identity wider enough to convene them all to the same purpose of movement towards social change.

IMG_9404The Call of the Mountain 2012 was an Iberoamerican gathering, with more than 450 participants from 22 countries, which harvested the construction of Panbasa, a massive maloka at Ecoaldea Atlantida. By 2013, the need to connect deeper with local initiatives was evident and the Call when to make acupuncture to 4 different regions of the country, with 4 Calls happening in parallel. Again, around 400 participants connected nationally while impacted locally at Ecovillage Anthakarana (Coffe Mountains Lands), Aldea Feliz (Centre), the Alternative School Colegio Ideas (South West) and the School Field of Scouts Movement (North West). By 2014, once again a single gathering allied us with the Khrisna community in the Ecovillage Varsana, fostering collaboration with the World Consciousness Pact and Vrinda Mission; that year with about 380 participants from around 10 countries, the call had a strong national invitation to people from spiritual, political and resistance movements in the country.

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Personalities of the national public agenda as politicians, spiritual leaders and NGO representatives joined the gathering and hosted conversations around seeds and water preservation, mining and land tenancy laws. And those conversations were the fertil soil for the next move.

The Call 2015 took us out of the comfort zone of ecovillages, and led us to the entrails of the Andean mountains at the very center of the conflict zone in Colombia. The Call of the Mountain 2015 – Minga of Thinking and Territoriality took place last January in indigenous territory to harvest a strong and growing alliance between CASA Colombia and the Misak University, the project of ancestral education of the Misak people, one the strongest indigenous groups in resistance of the whole country.

trueque_semillas_llamado2015The Call 2015 gathered +400 participants from 21 countries, 8 indigenous communities, 3 afro groups, different farmers’ representatives, and more than 10 spiritual leaders from different native traditions of Colombia, all with 100% scholarship. This time close to 70% of the whole gathering was people coming to the Call for the first time ever and fresh food where purchased directly from local producers. This year, special guests to morning panels, where personalities at national and local level, standing for process of resistance and defense of territories and culture of peace. We were directly touched by social leaders who’s people had to face dead, displacement and war.

The evolution of the Call of the Mountain -from a familiar gathering of ecovillage pioneers to a wider family gathering of mixed rural and urban social leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs- is evidencing a collective awakening in people connected to the social movement to the reality of the urge to be part of the political arena of the country, holding the pillars of political and economic incidence while zealing for the oaisis that are ecovillages and sustainable settlements, spaces that are becoming into more and more powerful and relevant interfaces among urban and urban exchange. We are together creating new ways to coexists within the synergy between that rural and urban exchange, but most of all, we are facing the challenge of the need to work efficiently in spite of the huge diversity.

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Thereby, the Call of the Mountain, that in 2016 will celebrate its X version, is indeed setting a pace of  convergence for people –human beings- which have decided to change the patterns of its behaviors and consumption to a more regenerative style of living, or in the best cases, reaffirm those patterns. The same people that are using the shields of the organizations they work for to make pressure at political level and inspire others to claim for the rights of nature, the protection of natural resources and the establishment of public policies that succeed in protecting the right of people to live simply.

The Core Team of CASA Colombia and the Group of Guardians of Vision want to congratulate GEN for its 20th  years anniversary. We want to thank to all people of GEN who, along the years, have kept hands on work to build a strong network, discover and show us the potential we have together and support us to perform the actions we need to make to address the impact we are capable of in the world.

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