I once heard a radio program where they interviewed a researcher about our need for nearness. She said that children, for example, don't need to necessarily have their own separate rooms. What they do need is closeness. She added that parents who work many extra hours to afford bigger houses, or bigger apartments, with separate rooms for everyone, could be a bit misguided. Especially if the effects are that they are away from home more hours, and more tired when they finally get there. “People, young and old”, she said, “are perfectly capable of finding ways to pull back when they need to. What you can't do on your own is be together with other people.
The villages in Axarquia are small, but the old houses are built adjacent to each other and with very narrow alleys between. Bedrooms sometimes lack doors, and rarely hold just one bed. Front doors often stay ajar. Most of the year the windows are open too, day and night. I hear the neighbors sing for their kids and when spoons hit the edges of coffee cups. They hear us swear when our beans boil over. We live here together. We are safe here. On the north side of us nature opens up towards the valley, and to the next mountain. There you can walk for hours without meeting anybody. But the villages and the houses are built for community, and with the knowledge that we need each other much more than we need another bathroom.
It bears thinking about. hv