Unification News for March 1999
The Abundant Life -- For Unificationists
Michael Kiely -- Jardim, Brazil
While a moderate house in the United States may cost $70,000 to $200,000 to build, in Western Brazil it may cost $2,000 to $3,000, and land is a near giveaway. No expensive home heating system is necessary, and locals don't use air conditioning because they construct their homes so that air passes through continually, creating a nearly perpetual, cooling breeze.
What's more, rice is dirt cheap, and beef costs only 40 to 50 cents a pound with the best beef going for twice that price. Vegetables and fruit grow easily here, and many crops are harvested two or more times a year.
If that sounds like paradise, indeed it is.
In this Western region of Brazil in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul where Jardim is situated, Brazilians can live for $50 to $60 per month and never have to worry about a lack of food.
What's more, water is available in abundance. Even in the event that there is no surface source for water, good quality well water is always available.
Tired of shelling out $25 to $50 in the States for a shirt? In Campo Grande, the state capital, shirts go for $3 each, and other clothing is comparably priced.
Pollution is virtually non-existent. The air is clean and fresh to breathe. Clouds pile up in spectacular, three-dimensional displays during the day without a trace of smog, and at night, myriad bright constellations of stars appear to hang close enough to the earth that they could be plucked like ripe fruit. Each day begins with an intensely colorful, panoramic and ever-changing sunrise and ends with an equally stunning sunset. Also, a number of the rivers in the area are crystal clear; one can easily see the abundant fish in them. In fact, in one town, Bonito, you can safely swim among the darting fish for a small fee.
Indeed, in the so-called Pantanal, a large wilderness area that includes Mato Grosso do Sul and parts of Paraguay, the abundant wildlife and numerous rivers in the region make this a hunter's and a fisherman's paradise. For those searching for natural beauty, waterfalls abound as well as many natural caves, often with spectacular crystalline formations centuries old.
For those who are tired of the rat race, who believe that there is another dimension to life than the 24/7 scramble to come out on top of the pile and live in the suburbs, there is an alternative. Brazilians work hard, too, but they take time out for an afternoon of soccer or an evening of samba, a typical Brazilian dance. They seem to know innately that they need to take time to develop warm human relationships. They also know that it doesn't take much work to afford to live well here.
The miracle is that all this beauty and rich natural resources have not yet been discovered by the tourist industry and by developers. So, life is cheap and enjoyable. A little money goes a long way. As one American living in the area said, "You don't have to be wealthy in America to live like a king here."
About four years ago Rev. Moon recognized that this little known region had considerable potential for building an international community where the world's different peoples, ethnic, religious and cultural groups could live together in harmony and create a model for world peace. That community, called The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, started out less than four years ago as a few tents in the wilderness a half-hour's drive from Jardim, a little town of 20,000 people southwest of Campo Grande.
Now nearly four years later it has been transformed into a thriving community and workshop center with a 2,000-person auditorium with sweeping arches, two large dining halls of similar architecture, six large classroom buildings, over a dozen air-conditioned residential buildings with a capacity of nearly a thousand people (with sleeping bag space for another thousand in as yet unused classrooms), a 440 kilowatt generator, and three water tanks with a combined capacity of nearly 200 tons . For anglers there is a well-stocked lake with a variety of catchable fish. Also, there are a number of large green houses for agricultural research, fruit and vegetable farms, an ostrich farm, a cattle ranch, a bee farm for honey production, an escargot (gourmet snail) farm and numerous other agricultural facilities and enterprises.
New Hope East Garden or simply New Hope Farm, as the facility is called, is the site of a series of 40-Day Ideal Family Workshops designed to prepare Unification families to register for and live in the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Rev. Moon has urged all unification families to participate in the workshop as soon as possible. Centered on daily Hoon Dok Hae, which is community reading of Rev. Moon's words, The Divine Principle and other texts, the workshops train couples in the practical aspects of true love and the rearing of blessed children. It provides them an opportunity to work out family problems and to deepen their life of faith in a setting of incomparable beauty. There are also a number of deep but practical lectures given by Rev. Yoon, the Education and Workshop Director and other staff members.
In addition to receiving a rich spiritual diet, families dine on a wide variety of locally grown, organic vegetables and fruit and generous helpings of local beef and other meat. Virtually all food is grown on Unification farms, and the fruit and vegetables are pesticide free. In short, the food is scrumptious.
As one Unificationist quipped, "I'm still waiting for the indemnity to start."
For most necessities or a snack during the breaks, there is a small store run by pleasant Brazilian Unificationsts. The store has toiletries, diapers and baby goods, stationery items, gifts, food and sundry other items. It does not, however, sell Hoon Dok Hae sets, The Divine Principle or Dr. Lee's book. As a result of these ongoing workshops, a number of couples have already decided to move their families to the farm. For such families, there is a fully accredited multi-lingual elementary school with an international curriculum including music and the arts. Inaugurated this year, the school teaches Portuguese, Korean, Japanese and English as well as a combined Brazilian and Unification curriculum.
In addition, the Brazilian government has already approved the creation of a high-school in the facility which Rev. Yoon says will be comparable to the well-known and highly respected Eton School near London, England. The high school, he said, will have a capacity of 1500 students. "In the next twenty years, graduates of this high school will become world leaders," he predicted.
Both the elementary and high schools will emphasize moral education. "Twelve to 18 is the most critical time in the growth of a young person," Rev. Yoon said, "so we teach them the right values during that formative period." If a person develops bad habits during this period, it is quite difficult for him or her to change them later on, he explained. So, the school will guide them in developing moral, other-centered habits that will last their whole life, he said. "We want to set a high standard for the second generation," he added..
He said that people usually decide "which way they will go" from age 15 on. "True Father had his first life encounter when he was 16," Rev. Yoon said.. "When True Father was 16 he met God and chose his way," he said.
Rev. Yoon also said negotiations are already complete for the establishment of a university in cooperation with another Brazilian university. New Hope University, as the facility may be called, will develop its curriculum in full cooperation with Sun Myung Moon University in Korea and the University of Bridgeport in the United States.
Encouraging unification families to move to Jardim as "pioneers" before Rev. Moon calls on Unificationists to migrate en masse to Jardim, he said, "Life is cheap here; we will take care of school for your children, and we will create industries here," he said. He encouraged members to identify and contribute their skills to the building of the kingdom. He said this is the time for actively building the kingdom, and those who contribute now will be eternally remembered.
"Living in the secular world is very difficult for children," he said. "Competition helps your brain to develop but not your shimjung." Because competition in the secular world is "too severe," the development of shimjung is thwarted. "You have to enjoy your heart, you have to enjoy your life," he said.
He said that if you live in a developed country, especially in big cities, you have to fight and compete throughout your life, so you have no time to relax and enjoy life. That is not ideal; "the ideal world is the world of harmony," he said, where one should be able to enjoy life. We can learn something about this ideal from the Brazilians, who do take time to "enjoy life," he said.
Because this is still a pioneering project, there are some surmountable challenges for families who are considering moving here. The climate is sometimes quite hot; mosquitoes bite in the evening, and there are poisonous snakes. But air conditioning during the afternoon, bug spray and avoiding tall grass and night walks makes those challenges quite livable. One needs also to avoid drinking tap water, but there is plenty of potable water, tea, a local health drink called matte, ginger tea and coffee available.
For more information, please contact your National Unification Movement headquarters. In the United States call (212) 997-0050, ext. 272 and ask Betty Lancaster to fax you complete information on Jardim. There will soon be a New Hope Farm Internet website where the most recent information about workshop requirements, fees, transportation and packing lists will be available.
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