2007: It was a typical January day in Lima, Peru; the sky overcast from clouds caused when the cold wet Humboldt Current smashes into the hot dry weather of the Peruvian desert. We were visiting Pachacamac just south of Lima to see some pyramids. My partner, John, didn't feel well about half way through the tour and sat the rest out.
Three months later John was dead from liver cancer and I was lying in bed with our old dog watching the cat giving him a tongue bath. And I wondered what would happen when I got sick. Who would feed them, take Boomer out. My animals were spoiled but not rotten. I never felt more vulnerable in my life. I started doing the math and realized I was screwed but I also had a feeling there were plenty more like me out there. I built a website called FullerBerry.org which married a world without need, as described by Gene Roddenberry, with the directions for creating that world as described by Buckminster Fuller. It went something like this:
TEXT: The Average Social Security check is $1000.
IMAGE: A 1000.00 Social Security check.
TEXT: This is what you get for $1000 per month.
IMAGE: A cardboard box.
TEXT: If you got six of you together, this is what you could get for $6000 per month.
IMAGE: Image of a happy group of people making smores over a fire pit on the lanai by their pool.
TEXT: Maybe it’s time to rethink the commune.
IMAGE: Dancing naked hippies.
I turned 54 this year. I realized that I had, at that precise moment, spent half my life HIV positive and was still kicking. My family dead, my friends dead, it had been three years since my long time partner passed and here I was still alone and still sticking my tongue out at the demon seed that poisons my being and which continuously works at stealing away my future. And I just won’t let it.
The old fear is back and I thought about Andy as I had so often over the last year or so. And last week, again, I saw the email and it suddenly occurred to me that I had spent years thinking about a project like this and I could spend another few doing the same thing or I could actually do something about it. Andy calls his solution, Safe Haven House. I want to join him. I need to get my employer on board.
I have a wonderful job that is secure even in this terrible economy and yet the opportunity of a lifetime is at hand, to join Andy and help build its success while securing my own future as well as Andy's. Retirement based on the stock market or real estate market is not a sure thing though getting old and sick is. And long term security is now as or more important than short term security. These are the conditions in which these decisions have to be made. If it were five years from now this would probably be a no brainer, but it's today.
So here begins the Haven Project blog. How do 2 souls, 2000 miles apart bring together their visions to create a family living with joy and love and support without having a diet comprised of Friskies and Meow Mix.
Well here’s proof distance no longer matters; now all I have to do is figure out how I'm going to get to Arizona to help Andy get his idea off the ground: