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Letting go and teamwork; the spontaneous co-creation of dreamprojects

12 November 2017

The whole week culminated in the Miracle, which took place over the weekend of 30th September / 1st October and was a communal construction project with the people of Collado Mediano.   Everything in the Oasis game is very spontaneous and reactive to the dreams and desires of the inhabitants, and the talents, possibilities and resources available.  Therefore we only knew roughly what shape this construction project would take on Thursday night, after we had done the dream workshop with the community members to ascertain what their dreams were and have them create a design for the space we had available (the facilitators had obtained advance permission from the municipality to transform a park in the south of the town and we presented this to the community in the dream workshop as a potential place for them to realise the dreams they had expressed).

We then had Friday to prepare for the weekend’s work: one team looked for materials, another looked for tools and talents and a third worked on planning the space itself – how and where the ideas and designs proposed by the community could be implemented and also warning the neighbours about the proposed work – and trying to involve them in it, whilst also continuing the call out for people to come and take part in the activity.  I was in the third group and as with previous days, reaching out to strangers was a challenge for me.

I don’t find this kind of thing easy anyway but doing it in Spanish and in a town where people are not very used to doing things together as a community and many have lost hope that they can improve things, made it even harder.  However I noticed a newfound braveness and positivity in me.  I had got better at going up to people and trying to animate them… or maybe I had just got used to it!  I did my best and was surprised that some interactions were actually quite enjoyable; when I overcame my initial awkwardness I often felt a genuine connection with the person I was talking to.

We went down to the park for 10am on Saturday, the advertised start time.  The facilitators had warned us that we might not see many local people at that time, it being a weekend and quite early, and indeed it was just the Oasis team for the first few hours.  I must admit to some concerns about whether anyone would come, however as the day and weekend went on, more and more people came to take part in the building activity and the atmosphere grew more and more vibrant. The actual activities evolved quite spontaneously – we divided into smaller groups to focus on three or four main areas of work: an amphitheatre, picnic tables and benches, and a graffiti wall / mural. Within these groups the teams spontaneously worked out how they were going to build things based on the materials and knowledge available – this was not without its share of friction and challenging moments as people with different ideas had to figure out how to work together, but these were valuable parts of the learning process, of letting go and working in a team without much advance planning or organisation!

Additional projects came up as people arrived with ideas or plans of other things they wanted to build – for example one team decided to build a ramp so that a wheelchair users could have access to the pack whilst another group decided to create a BMX bike circuit using pallets.  Each day we sat down to a shared meal, which was lovingly prepared and served by someone from the local community.

On Saturday we ate a delicious tagine made by a Morrocan lady and on Sunday a paella offered by a local café, with Bulgarian food in the evening. These moments of sharing, particularly around sharing food, struck me as very special and beautiful.  They connected people in such a simple yet profound way.  On the Sunday evening, once we had finished all the projects and celebrated everyone’s contribution, and as the sun was setting on Collado Mediano, and we sat down to enjoy a spontaneous show in the new amphitheatre with singing, drumming, performances and puppet shows, you could see the joy and satisfaction on people’s faces, and I certainly felt a spirit of community between those who had been involved.

This part 1 of the blogpost written by Jenny Hyde, participant of the Rural Codes program in Collado Mediano. This post is a story based on the 5th step of the Oasis Game: Miracle