A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive... And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us try then what love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel.
William Penn

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone...
George Fox

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

La Vall de Laguart IV: The Baldwins, HelpX Volunteers, and Visitors

Phil and Jo Baldwin met while studying Russian at Oxford University; they later visited Spain and decided to stay. They are both musical actors, having starred in musicals like 'The Sound of Music' and 'Guys and Dolls'. Jo works full time raising five children; Sebastian, Oliver, Abigail, dominic and Natasha. Phil is a languages teacher, and works on the homestead, milking the goats, planting in the garden and doing whatever else needs to be done. All in all, the Baldwins seemed to be a combination of the Swiss Family Robinson, the Vonn Trapp Family, and the Weasley family from Harry Potter. The family evening meal was especially important with the Baldwins, and we always sang a beautiful universalist, all-inclusive grace before dinner: 'A blessing on the meal, a blessing on the meal, fill us with love and joy and peace, and bless our every meal'. I enjoyed every moment with them.
 They have had several HelpX volunteers over the years, but when I was there, there were just three of us. Daniella, from Santa Cruz, California, has been there the longest, while Aldis, from Latvia, had arrived a week before I did.
Just a few days before I was to leave, we had a visitor, Wijnand Boon, fellow Masterpeace pilgrim who inspired my own pilgrimage. We are just a few days apart at this point, and I'm sure our paths will cross many times all the way to Egypt.
Eldest son Sebastian gives Wijnand Boon , pilgrim journalist, a lesson on unicycle riding. Wijnand ultimately decided to continue his pilgrimage on foot.

Wijnand's visit prompted a night of music. Wijnand was vocalist and lead guitar.

Phil Baldwin, Pater Familia, on acoustic bass.

Little Natasha and I enjoying the festivities.

Sebastian, unicyclist and drummer.

Dominic and Natasha lend a hand.

Oliver takes a turn on the bass.

Sebastian relaxes between sets while Jo, his mother, works hard at preparing dinner.

Dinner is served. In the foreground, HelpX volunteers Aldis and Daniella on the left, visitor Wijnand on the right. To Daniella's left is Abigail Baldwin, then Jo, Natasha, Phil... Oliver is not visible, Sebastian can be seen peeking round Wijnand, and the blue hat is on Dominic's head, who is also not visible.

Masterpeace Alchemist Alive pilgrims

Natasha, Oliver and Dominic playing a friendly game of soccer... er, football.

Daniella, from California, bright and cheery in the morning.

Former HelpX volunteer Claire paying a visit. Claire's solo adventuring in places like Iran and India humbled me.

Jo, mother of five, and smiling.

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