Published on January 30th, 2018 | by Brandon H


Jimmy Stice – Kalu Yala CEO

When it comes to the unexplored ground of Panamanian forests, one does not generally expect to see a community growing there. Kalu Yala, however, is changing this stereotype for the better. It is the latest project that utilizes innovation to construct homes in a perfectly positioned valley where temperatures rarely go out of the 68 to 84-degree spectrum. The workforce that supports the project is comprised of many famous companies like the Hope for Architecture, Affordable Permanence, and Studio Sky, as well as countless individuals who travel to Panama City from all over the world. By combining efforts through teamwork that goes beyond any cultural differences, the members are able to build homes, design sustainable life methods, and do some of the things that many of them never thought possible.


What are some things that you love?

In order for someone to align well with our goals, they have to love and respect the nature. Although we are trying to change the world through construction, the truth about Kalu Yala lies in the fact that we are using our surroundings instead of destroying them. Moreover, people that are very successful with the program usually love the unforeseeable environment given that this is basically a jungle. Those are the type of individuals who yearn for adventures and socialization with like-minded people. That enables them to spend hours by the fire while debating each other on whose achievements pushed more limits.


What’s your favorite type of food?

That is a great question! In reality, it is anything that can be made in bulk quickly. Even though it may seem like feeding all of our participants could be one of Kalu Yala problems, it is far from that. We work together to streamline most of our meal-making processes, which means that there are some groups of people that prepare the food while others cook it and, ultimately, a few individuals serve it. Also, we often just simply get pizzas for everybody so that we can save time that would be spent cooking and use it elsewhere. I mean, not a lot can beat a nice day in the woods that is accompanies by a conversation amongst friends when there is pizza involved!


What are your aspirations in life?

We hope to create one of the first sustainable villages ever seen in the world. Everyone who joins us shares our passion for merging the world of economics with the unexplored grounds located an hour away from Panama City. That simply means that we are driven by what may seem like a child’s idea to change the world. Nonetheless, in the midst of growing pollution levels and other environmental problems, this type of enthusiasm is probably what is most needed. Only time will tell if we are able to achieve our goals but if one is to follow current trends of success, it seems like we are getting there fast!


What is your favorite thing about working in your industry?

The never-ending diversity of participants’ backgrounds. Getting to know so many different cultures while being a part of Kalu Yala is probably one of its best perks. People who join us come from all walks of life and carry many unique traditions with them. We have college students who are looking to escape the academic environment for a while, working professionals who wish to do something more with their life, and many people who just thought this would be an amazing opportunity that they would not get elsewhere. Combining all of those groups results in a large population of people who differ in ages, professions, and passions. Regardless, everyone learns to work together and operate as an important piece of a broader puzzle.


What motivates you every day?

Some of the rare instances of Kalu Yala criticism often comes from our members’ passion that tends to exceed what average people deem reasonable. Meaning, we usually fight to achieve the goal of changing the way sustainability is viewed to the best of our abilities. Those looking from the outside, however, may not comprehend how much we value this experience which is why they are often starstruck at how hard we work. So, a lot of our motivation comes from the fact that we will one day present a final product that everyone who might be doubting us know will praise. Additionally, the fact that people become close friends here is another way we achieve high morale. Everyone is eager to help those who may appear to be having a difficult day and motivation never comes short of groups’ ambition.


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