James Habib Carouba
The family of James Habib Carouba, also known as Hasib or Jimmy for his friends and family, are stunned to report that our bright, adventurous and loving brother and son died suddenly of a cerebral embolism in late July in his farm in Costa Rica.
Jim’s childhood in San Francisco with his parents Habib and Alice Carouba, his older brother Nick, and younger siblings Joe, Mary and Annie, gave no clue to the extraordinary life he would have. Jim did well in school, never had to study to be good, was always immersed in a book or went on an adventure on his own, and never gave his teachers or parents a reason to worry.
Even as a boy, Jim was an oasis of calm, seeming to exist on the outskirts of the problems, conflicts, and everyday realities of a household with eight people, including five rowdy children. Amidst the chaos and confusion, he could be found quietly reading a book, aware of his surroundings, but not disturbed by them either. He was always loving and protective of his family, but he never really belonged to us. Even as a child, his eyes were on something others couldn’t see.
Jim has always asked the big questions; he was looking for answers and above all, he was looking for God, or what he called “Existence”. He devoured books, carrying batteries home each week from the neighborhood library in a red wagon. One of his sisters became interested in spiritual matters at a young age, picking up the books he had read and put aside, books from esteemed religious and spiritual teachers and philosophers.
When Jim was eight years old, he started taking long hikes on his own. One day, he walked to the San Francisco airport on the service roads of the freeway to watch people arrive from faraway places. Even then, the larger world was calling.
He started traveling as a teenager and in those early years worked as a fisherman on the Hudson River, roamed the mountains of Afghanistan, celebrated Mardi Gras in Rio de Janeiro, met members of his family in Beirut and Damascus and continued to travel the world before finding his home for many years in a spiritual community in India and later in Costa Rica.
As a young man, Jim was handsome, especially since he didn’t seem to be aware of himself that way, and because he had relaxed and welcoming manners, genuine warmth and a sense of love. very rich humor. His two sisters watched an endless stream of their friends fall in love with him, but his gaze still seemed to be on a distant horizon.
Fresh out of his teenage years, Jim connected with a spiritual teacher – Osho – and a spiritual community to which he devoted himself for decades, where he took the spiritual name of “Hasib”. The deep friendships formed during these years will remain strong throughout his life. Although there was controversy surrounding the leadership of the Osho community, Hasib was never touched or even aware of it at the time. His pure heart saw nothing of it. He would continue to maintain a very deep, disciplined and consistent spiritual practice for 50 years.
When Hasib met and fell in love with Secret Fine fifteen years ago, he immediately knew her as his equal, his equal, his life partner. His admiration for Secret was endless. Soon after they met, they decided to spend the rest of their lives together, before kissing or even going on a date. Secret said, “We just knew.” Sharing a deep commitment to spiritual principles, sustainability and conservation, they purchased a cocoa farm in southern Costa Rica. Jim became a master cocoa producer and chocolatier and, with Secret, transformed a raw land into what is now a lush and productive healing center and heritage farm museum dedicated to the preservation of traditional farming practices.
His wife Secret said, “Jimmy loved being a trailblazer, making trails with a machete, digging trenches in the rain, looking for springs. He loved to plant a wide variety of plants and became an expert in exotic fruit trees and grafting. He encountered deadly snakes or were running around the house with lightning bolts on their backs without concern. This is how he lived his life. Jim worked long days on the farm and the evenings, Secret said, were spent ‘long conversations about the mysteries of life.’
Our humble Jimmy would never tell you, but he developed remarkable innovations in agriculture, and received visitors from all over the world who came to study his methods. We wonder if his visitors noticed that he treated seeds and plants with so much love and respect that they had no choice but to grow happily and produce the best for him.
Jim recently spent several months in California to help take care of his mother, who is facing serious health problems. When he said goodbye to her just a few weeks ago, he hugged her tight and told her that he would love her and always take care of her. His family believe that is precisely what he is doing. His heart was so expansive and his love so unconditional, even death cannot prevent us from moving away from his love or from him away from ours. Rest in peace our brother, our son, our beautiful Jim.
Posted by Press Democrat on August 14, 2021.