Camphill today

Tinh Truc Gia a film made by vietnamese TV

 My new chapter is called Camphill today ?

Quite a few Camphills today all over the world are going through difficult times, many of the powerful ideals and the very avant garde way of living are being challenged and a very "maintsream" kind of administration is wanting to rationalize, institutionalize, "normalize" Camphill...

But the spirit of Camphill is more alive than ever...I think...he is in many young peoples dream of new ways of community life, he is in many deep aspirations of young people to align their inner aspirations with a meaningful work, he is the dream of many to align work and inner transformation, to heal themselves and to heal "society" to heal the environment, not to have a work that has little to do with your inner ideal, he is many efforts to live an ecologically responsable life, with an organic farm at the heart of community vitality, he is in many attempts of new ways of "living together in an economic fraternity"(In Camphill we separated work/salary, shared items etc etc), he is in all these wonderful people who live/think without discrimination with true tolerance and celebration of "the difference/non difference" of "the other as me", he is in a search for new brother and sisterhood, solidarity that I meet where ever I go...

This is why I said in my previous blog...we do not always look in the right direction...the Spirit is very much alive...and what seems " dying" is reborn... can anything die anyway...?

Well here a Camphill "story" written by our dear friend Jaqueline Grüner after 3 months in TTG Hue Vietnam

I cried reading her text ( Also some other friends wrote some testemonies on TTG that I might post here) They are a bit long...but worth while to read,...warming our hearts

 

5a.m., the air is suffused with a rosy light, a pleasant breath blows in through the open windows, leaves rustle, cocks crow, and the crickets begin their vibrant song. Schlipp, schlapp, schlipp schlapp across the courtyard. Ah! Tien’s step: he must be watering the trees and plants. Soon I hear hosepipes running, then the swish of the long rice broom starts, sweeping the whole courtyard. It is early morning in Tinh Truc Gia, the Peaceful Bamboo Family on the hilly outskirts of Hué, Vietnam. Despite the unusually hot summer ( 38 to 40 every day) I feel so privileged and grateful to be here for nearly three months. Here where my white and grey hair grants me many rights and endless forgiveness for my mistakes in pronouncing names, in understanding manners, in respecting customs- in everything. I am here for me, for them, for Perceval, here for being here, and all that is full of joy. Joys, of course should be shared. So here I am sharing them in the wide Camphill.

Tho Ha Vinh presented the birth of The Peaceful Bamboo Family, a training place for youngsters with disabilities, in Camphill Correspondence 5 years ago, and in a beautiful chapter in the book “Discovering Camphill”. My first meeting with Tinh Truc Gia was in April 2009, when I came with a group of Perceval co-workers and friends to the inauguration. A feeling of great familiarity led to becoming immediately friends with 2 or 3 co- workers, taking on with my husband, Alain, sponsorship for one of the youngsters, and waiting, longing to be able to return for longer than a few days. We always received news of Tinh Truc Gia through Eurasia’s bi-annual letters, and also through friends from Perceval who came faithfully to give courses and enjoy festivals. Perceval was also the lucky host to the Eurasia open days and annual meetings, when many Vietnamese families came for the day to cook, decorate, sell, and enjoy concerts in favour of Eurasia. Then two years ago Perceval hosted a regional conference on the theme of “Wonder”, and officially admitted Tinh Truc Gia into the Camphill Movement. It was Ascension time, May 18th 2012, and of course the mood was Kaspar Hauser filled. Mme .Trinh, and Mr. Tu, the founders received our words of welcome and our best wishes with the freshness which characterizes them and the happiness of those who have found companions with whom to strive towards their ideals. Lisi Ha Vinh, who smilingly guides Eurasia and all its projects, but who is also Tinh Truc Gia’s (fairy) godmother was also there. That evening it was clear for me that I, that we in Camphill had something new to learn from those who were five hours into their day when the sun rose here! More personally I remembered that my student days in the 60s had opened my heart to Vietnam, and that the country somehow “concerns” me.

 

But now that I am here what does that all mean? It means that I meet a young and surprising community of 24, when I left 27, youngsters who work with astonishing energy and rhythm alongside a group of 12 to 16 people depending on the number of local and German volunteers. Why a surprising community? Because nothing is frozen, there is room for change, for adaptation, for the new and the unexpected. Because everyone learns to do everything, and can hop in to replace where it is necessary.  Because the duties of the new, the first accountant include staying some evenings for supper, and activities until it is time for bed, and enjoying it!  And then joining in the sessions we give to the future kinder garden teachers, because he actually might be gifted for that! And most of all because of the way in which everyone is present to their work, and to the needs. On Sundays I see them all come in for an hour, or half a day, the time they need to be there, whether they have to be present or just feel like coming in. Although all have a family and a home “outside”, it feels as though it is “home” for many. Friday evenings when a large number of youngsters go home, there is a  feeling of lightness, and people stay on to talk, to share the evening meal  or just to feel night falling., and all will be back early next morning for the weekly co-worker meeting!

Is there anyone over 45 years old here? I ask myself, oh yes Mr. Han who works in the garden, and is father of one of the youngsters; he is one of the quietest people present, but he sees when the gardeners need a drink, or shade, or a break, he sees what I need and finds ways of expressing himself perfectly clearly without a word, yes, he feels “old” in the sense of “knowing”, wise. But all the others are in their twenties or thirties, and know that they are embarked for an adventure in community building with all its dangers, and its wonders. Mr. Tu’s smiling”how are you?” as he looks in through the workshop windows , and his wife’s, Mrs Trinh’s long conversations with new co-workers to explain, train and help them are casual but fundamental tools for this constructing

The name  Truc Gia means the The Peaceful Bamboo Family, but sometimes I catch myself saying The Happy Bamboo Family or The Smiling Bamboo Family. Over the entrance which leads to the Tea House is a board “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way”, which underlies daily life as an attitude, an exercise and a striving, into which flows all that the youngsters bring with them. They are as varied a group if youngsters as I have seen everywhere in Camphill and as happy to be there. The stories of development and change, the parents who told how their son was happy to return after holidays, the recently arrived young woman who had to be encouraged to keep up contact with her parents, all this spoke of the gratitude and joy of these youngsters in finding such a home. One day a 12 year old girl arrived with her mother asking to be able to spend her summer holidays in TTG. She was far from having difficulties or disabilities and when I asked her why she wanted to come, she answered quite simply ”because it is so beautiful here”. Of course it is beautiful: a lot of time and care (and water!) goes into the gardens, and into the maintenance of the houses. The youngsters clean at least 3 times a day and have an afternoon for all the extras like windows, door frames, metal work. The first days it surprised and amused me but I soon saw how extreme the conditions are with high temperatures, dust, termites, sudden downpours and a high level of humidity. On the other hand I saw how independently the youngsters worked and how proud they were of it. Of course singing, whistling, joking all belong to the chores  as well!

Lisi had asked me to take on a few tasks while I was there: thinking out a new way to keep in touch with the sponsors, talking to the team about Camphill, being a reference for the kinder garden project. I was distressed to discover how few sponsors there are for all 27 young people. There seems to be little difficulty in –eurasia finding funds for projects, but covering the basic running costs is not so easy. The state cannot afford to fund, the parents have to give what they can, but that is very little; the products from the workshops sell quite well, jams to Hanoï, incense to the parents, lacquer work to tourists, vegetables to lovers of biodynamic food, and the most delicious fruit juices and ice creams in the Tea House, but the brunt of the running costs are covered by the individual sponsorships, and more sponsors are   needed!

 

I spoke once about Camphill in the large co-worker group, very soon after my arrival, but continued in more private conversations afterwards. There is a ceramic plaque at the entrance with the Eurasia ying and yang motif under a wide roof, a smile appearing in the darker half. For me it came to represent the roof which Camphill strives to build worldwide to answer the needs of those whose destiny does not allow them live unprotected, and the roof which covers the worldwide impulse to build and share community. TTG’s Camphill “friends” come from Le Béal, Copake and Perceval, an example of the various forms our striving takes, and the moment you set foot in TTG you know that you are under the same roof, in the same house.

Is there anyone over 45 years old here? I ask myself, oh yes Mr. Han who works in the garden, and is father of one of the youngsters; he is one of the quietest people present, but he sees when the gardeners need a drink, or shade, or a break, he sees what I need and finds ways of expressing himself perfectly clearly without a word, yes, he feels “old” in the sense of “knowing”, wise. But all the others are in their twenties or thirties, and know that they are embarked for an adventure in community building with all its dangers, and its wonders. Mr. Tu’s smiling”how are you?” as he looks in through the workshop windows , and his wife’s, Mrs Trinh’s long conversations with new co-workers to explain, train and help them are casual but fundamental tools for this constructing

The name  Truc Gia means the The Peaceful Bamboo Family, but sometimes I catch myself saying The Happy Bamboo Family or The Smiling Bamboo Family. Over the entrance which leads to the Tea House is a board “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way”, which underlies daily life as an attitude, an exercise and a striving, into which flows all that the youngsters bring with them. They are as varied a group if youngsters as I have seen everywhere in Camphill and as happy to be there. The stories of development and change, the parents who told how their son was happy to return after holidays, the recently arrived young woman who had to be encouraged to keep up contact with her parents, all this spoke of the gratitude and joy of these youngsters in finding such a home. One day a 12 year old girl arrived with her mother asking to be able to spend her summer holidays in TTG. She was far from having difficulties or disabilities and when I asked her why she wanted to come, she answered quite simply ”because it is so beautiful here”. Of course it is beautiful: a lot of time and care (and water!) goes into the gardens, and into the maintenance of the houses. The youngsters clean at least 3 times a day and have an afternoon for all the extras like windows, door frames, metal work. The first days it surprised and amused me but I soon saw how extreme the conditions are with high temperatures, dust, termites, sudden downpours and a high level of humidity. On the other hand I saw how independently the youngsters worked and how proud they were of it. Of course singing, whistling, joking all belong to the chores  as well!

Lisi had asked me to take on a few tasks while I was there: thinking out a new way to keep in touch with the sponsors, talking to the team about Camphill, being a reference for the kinder garden project. I was distressed to discover how few sponsors there are for all 27 young people. There seems to be little difficulty in –eurasia finding funds for projects, but covering the basic running costs is not so easy. The state cannot afford to fund, the parents have to give what they can, but that is very little; the products from the workshops sell quite well, jams to Hanoï, incense to the parents, lacquer work to tourists, vegetables to lovers of biodynamic food, and the most delicious fruit juices and ice creams in the Tea House, but the brunt of the running costs are covered by the individual sponsorships, and more sponsors are   needed!

 

I spoke once about Camphill in the large co-worker group, very soon after my arrival, but continued in more private conversations afterwards. There is a ceramic plaque at the entrance with the Eurasia ying and yang motif under a wide roof, a smile appearing in the darker half. For me it came to represent the roof which Camphill strives to build worldwide to answer the needs of those whose destiny does not allow them live unprotected, and the roof which covers the worldwide impulse to build and share community. TTG’s Camphill “friends” come from Le Béal, Copake and Perceval, an example of the various forms our striving takes, and the moment you set foot in TTG you know that you are under the same roof, in the same house.

 

However I spent most of my time working with the group who will soon open an integrated kinder-garden for 3 to 6 year olds in TTG itself. Working to create a group with this common aim within the community, and also painting, modelling, playing, telling stories and also speaking of child development. 2 teachers are well trained already, but they won’t necessarily be present at the same time during the day, as one has a special class in TT school and will share her day between the 2 ( Mrs Hoa is one of the most gifted teachers I have met), and the other has a baby born in July. So they will need helpers who have other tasks in the community, but have no idea of Waldorf education or of an anthroposophical approach of child development. On the other hand all have young brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces at home, love to be with them and recognise what I talk about. We worked in english, translating into Vietnamese, which helped me to rethink whatever was wishy washy in my thinking and wording. We listened a lot to each other, took time to understand each other, to understand what is different, what is difficult and we also took time to bring to life the songs and games that they played when they were children.  We also translated typically Waldorf round games into Vietnamese! It was demanding and delightful for me as they slowly dropped the unquestioning good pupil attitude and revealed themselves little by little . Once Andres Pappé had arrived to work on songs with them, and my husband Alain to go into movement, eurythmical and miming, they were ready to let their creativity flow! While I write this they are painting the beautiful building which houses the kinder garden. After they will have to finish the furnishings, making the toys, and organising themselves to begin early 2015.

I was going to call it “a new adventure” for TTG, but it is not the only one. There is new land for a herb garden, the increasing activity of the Tea House, a continuous surge forward which the state follows with deep interest. TTG and Eurasia offer models which the government encourages as much as it can, from special classes integrated in normal schools to biodynamic gardening.

I find it difficult to finish this article without becoming boring, but next to all this movement forwards I need to tell about an inward going movement, which came about in the last two years with the help of Nadja and Marc Blachère from Copake, with Lisi and Tho Ha Vinh. It is called “Heart sharing”. Thursday evening after work we all got into our best clothes, a special supper was prepared, which we ate partially in silence and thankfulness for the cooks, the gardeners, the Earth, before putting all the benches in the courtyard around the basin with the flowering water lilies. It was dark (night always falls around 18h30),small candles lit on the rim of the basin and the leaves of the water lilies. TTG’s light incense was waved at the gates and round the courtyard in preparation. Once we were all present silence, an attitude of meditation, a common song, the reading of the same text as is read in the morning circle, then anyone who had something to share could speak. Over the weeks I heard reminders, worries, joyous expectations, happiness, regrets, praise, thankfulness expressed (and translated), and many a time I was touched to tears and laughter by what was said and the way it was received.

What more can be said: thank you to The Peaceful Bamboo Family for this hope filled experience of Camphill. Do, please dear readers do look up the blog, do contact Lisi if you intend going to Vietnam, and if you feel concerned please contact me for sponsoring either the food for a youngster 40SF (about 28 GB pounds) a month, his accommodation, 40SF or his training,also 40FR, or all three!

In gratefulness to Camphill Correspondance who published Jaqueline's article

 
  

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

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Commentaires

20.05 | 08:42

Wonderful article my Love! Thank you for teaching me Love since the day we met and it's not over yet

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26.04 | 10:23

My pleasure & happiness to be there with ELI's & TTG's people on this occasion.
I adore your work in two decades and wish you all the best in the next chapter.

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22.01 | 09:24

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15.08 | 16:39

Et tout le mieux pour l'avenir de vos projects !

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