Adesimba was the only child of Sharon, a spirited teen who gave birth alone in Atlanta in 1975.
Adesimba never knew who her birth father was.
After losing her mother when she was a little child,
Adesimba was raised by her devoted stepfather, Tiger.
She also was mothered by loving neighbors in the idealistic community of Ubuntu, which her parents
co-founded with other social visionaries in 1980.
The Ubuntu shaman has trained Adesimba to be
the next spiritual leader of their community.
Adesimba is 26 years old when our
story opens in the summer of 2001.
Kreps was the only child of an alcoholic, white widower — a Sheriff who ruled him, and their small Kentucky town, brutally.
In high school in the 1970s, Sharon, a spirited Black classmate, caught Kreps's attention in the hallways of their segregated school. When she let him walk her home, day after day, a romance blossomed — then deepened. When their relationship was painfully cut short, he fled to the Army.
Throughout his 25 years in the military, and the two years since with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, Kreps never managed to sustain another relationship.
In the summer of 2001, Kreps finally has the courage to face his past — to track Sharon down, and try to make the past up to her.
Tiger was an early Panther who moved from Oakland to Atlanta in the mid-1970s. At the Atlanta Uhuru Center, he was captivated by the dancing figure of Sharon. He was about to ask her out, when he saw a toddler attached. In the end, both of them stole his heart — and he, theirs. After marrying Sharon, he adopted Adesimba.
Tiger also adopts Sharon's dream of gathering other social visionaries to live their values out on rural land in Virginia. Tragically, just as they break ground for the Ubuntu community, Sharon is diagnosed with a brain tumor.
After she dies, Tiger carries on, parenting Adesimba, and realizing Sharon's dream of Ubuntu.
By the summer of 2001, Tiger is well established as Ubuntu's guardian.
Ubuntu — a visionary collective in rural Virginia — was founded in 1980, just as Ronald Reagan came to power. From Black Panthers, gay liberationists and United Farm Workers, to disillusioned draft dodgers, spiritual seekers and back-to-the-land folk, they united around communal values, and "less is more". They learned to navigate their differences, believing that Because we are, I am.
In the summer of 2001, at the opening of our story, Ubuntu is organizing family farmers to save public ownership of their watershed, in the face of corporate interests trying to privatize it.
Location scouting at four intentional communities in Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio - photos by Lenore Norrgard.