Born and raised in Curaçao Theon returns to the island after 24 years to build a self-sufficient community. We visited and talked about his vision for the plantation and his plans for the future.
How do you describe the thing you are working on?
I would describe it as a self-sufficient community. A place where we live completely independent of nature. We eat from our own plantation, water comes from a well and we generate electricity through solar panels.
Are you doing it all by yourself?
Initially, I intended to do the project alone, but I soon realized that it was simply impossible alone. So then I started looking for people with the same vision as me. In the beginning, I had about ten people pretty quickly, but everyone came here with different expectations. Some came here and thought: "oh, there are already houses. I can live here right away" other people thought they could earn something here. So at the moment, 3/4 people are actively involved, we don't live there permanently, but we are working together towards that moment.
How do you live?
At the moment, we are still in the middle of the process. We are now busy with the three container homes. We have already partly finished one of them, the kitchen and bedroom are already in it, the bathroom still has to be built. We also want to start building a tree house soon. But, of course, everyone is free to live as they please. If you prefer to live in a tent, that's fine too. We also have a small house at the back of the property. A friend of mine lives in it temporarily.
When the containers are completed, we also want to look at alternative construction methods, such as building with sandbags, clay, and pallets. We also want to experiment with cement. Cement is not very natural and quite chemical, but we may have found a way to make it naturally. Next, we want to build round houses in the shape of a dome with cement blocks.
Applying geometric shapes is also essential for us. I always ask myself, why do we live in square houses? In the animal kingdom, you never come across square objects, for example, if you look at nests, shells, etc. We want to apply that with the building here.
Please tell us something about the facilities on site.
We currently have several solar panels, but they have not yet been installed, so we temporarily use the electricity from Aqua Electra (an electricity company in Curaçao). In addition, we get water from our wells, but we only use it for plants until we install our complete filter system to drink the groundwater safely.
We also have a compost toilet. Water comes from the well. The dirty water from the toilet goes back to the plants via a container with special vetiver grass. This grass naturally filters all dirt and also removes all odors.
Another facility we have is an outdoor shower. It also uses groundwater from our wells. We also recently built a water reservoir in the shape of a hexagon because a hexagon gives a certain frequency to the water.
As you may notice, we are in the middle of the process. Sometimes it is challenging to get things done, but that also makes it fun and challenging. Nature ultimately has all the solutions.
In the future, we would like to create a multifunctional space where people can come together. For example, I want a place where people can cook delicious food, but the area must also be suitable for theater or schooling.
Are you currently living off the plantation all by yourself?
At the moment, it is still 50%. But that has to go up. I want to get to 100% as soon as possible. But, unfortunately, at the moment, only some products are continuously available. We have all the necessary products now, but we need to plant a lot more to have everything in abundance. So I am busy with that every day.
You lived in Amsterdam for 24 years. How did you live there?
I moved to the Netherlands when I was 19 to study and work. Most of the time, I worked in the IT sector. I had a good job, drove a nice car, and everything went well.
That seems like a big difference from how you live now.
Haha, it sure was. In the end, you have to deal with all the different phases in your life. I had a lovely time in the Netherlands, but I started immersing myself in our life and nature in the long run. I then self-studied agriculture, water, geometric shapes, sacred geometry, spirituality, religion, the political system, aliens, and our earth. It was quite an awakening for me. I was amazed at what was possible and why we didn't learn certain things in school.
All this has brought me that, at the moment, I no longer felt free. I wanted to be free and feel free. So for me, the answer was to rely on something other than supermarkets and the whole money system. That ultimately pushed me to do this, and I took responsibility myself. I then sold everything and left for Curaçao alone with a backpack.
What is the most significant difference between then and now?
I have time for myself, no stress, and feel healthier than ever. I had a beautiful life in the Netherlands, but everything revolved much more around materialism and performance. I can't imagine right now that I would ever have to go back to how I lived then.
What is your ultimate goal?
An environment where people also feel more like a person and can experience pure freedom. Life healthier and have time for yourself and your development. That is what I want to achieve with this for myself and others.
Of course, not everyone has to live the way I do, but I want to show people that local living is perfect here in Curaçao and inspire people to import less. But, unfortunately, Curaçao is importing a lot, which is entirely unnecessary.
In the future, I want to move to a larger estate where I can build at least 30 houses. Then, I would like to introduce more people to this way of life. Think local, and use local materials.