From May to August of 2012, I lived and worked with the Sadhana Forest community in Anse-à-Pitres, Haiti. Over the past several years, I've visited intentional communities and ecological restoration projects throughout the United States, New Zealand, France, Ecuador, India, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Haiti, and Palestine. To date, Sadhana Forest Haiti remains the most significant, complex, and dynamic project I've encountered. Sadhana Forest not only makes a proposition for addressing environmental degradation and the inadequacies of foreign aid, it importantly offers very real working-example of a these propositions enacted from within a diverse and constantly evolving community. In this way, Sadhana actively challenges paradigms that exacerbate alienation, scarcity, and competition by catalyzing patterns that promote mutually beneficial relationships, environmental stewardship, and conscientious resource use.
Seeking to understand the significance of Sadhana Forest’s presence, I approached creating this film without a preconceived agenda, but with an unbiased curiosity. The intention to discover, instead of “document” Sadhana, led me to appreciate the comprehensive societal implications of Sadhana, a community that encourages its participants to realize abundance by provoking actions motivated by resilience and patience over instant gratification.
Yet still, Sadhana Forest is not without its own complications. Throughout this process of living with the community as an engaged observer and participant conducting interviews over a period of several months, I was provoked to question and attempt understanding the symbolic nature of Sadhana in relation to the practical solutions it puts forward for improving the environment and its stakeholders’ quality of life. And at the heart of this film is a perpetual questioning: Whose hope? Whose optimism? And whose practical solutions to whose problems?
- Joseph Redwood-Martinez