Written by Anya Owen – a semi-Scottish student from the “mainstream”
When I first spoke of my plans for the summer, my friend recoiled. “You’re going to a commune?” he said.
“Er, not really.” How could I explain this properly?
It’s true – the ethos of the Kalikalos network is really hard to explain, especially to people who haven’t experienced it before. I always have trouble articulating its goals, without drawing on the “homeopathic drumming circle” image that usually comes to mind whenever I speak about it. The holistic ethos can be quite scary, apparently.
I learned this on my first night in Alexandros. A guest had brought her Diet Coca-Cola to enjoy at the dinner table, and she was genuinely shocked when she learned that Diet Coca-Cola contained harmful ingredients. Genuinely. She didn’t like the idea that her drink wasn’t considered healthy. Of course, health is only one of the underpinning values of the Kalikalos network, operating alongside the values of sustainability and community.
Community is a strange thing. Why is it so strange, really, to eat together, cook together, laugh together, in all moments of the day? Why does it make me uncomfortable when I learn that we have a shared responsibility to take care of our surroundings? Why is it so foreign to me that I could share my feelings, of all things? Yet, it does not feel strange at all. Not here, anyway. Here, it is the norm to explore together and laugh together, and it is the norm to be democratic in our interactions. It is very normal to want to take care of the environment around us, and to want to take care of each other. The compassion in this community is integrated in every movement, in every action.
It’s quite refreshing.
Hopefully – after my ten weeks in paradise are up – I can learn to integrate these values in my life back at home, in Glasgow. Health, sustainability, community.
I can try to articulate this with all my might, but really, maybe it would be better to invite you to join in, and you can see for yourself.