Many of us want to save the world. There are many possible ways to do this, for me it is social work. I love people and the differences between them, I want to understand them better, to know what is “normal” and what is “not normal” and to transform the “not normal” into “normal” in my head. In my opinion we don’t need to go to Paraguay to save the world. I went there because I was sure I could bring something to those poor people. But when I came back, I realized that in fact they helped me much more than I them. I am just a Swiss person, who goes to a new culture, and they can live with or without me. But I learnt that we can have a beautiful exchange.
I have been working in Switzerland as a social worker with three and four year old children, mentally and/or physically disabled people, migrants and illiterate people. I help women from Syria, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, who move to Switzerland and don’t know the language, so while they’re learning French, I take care of their children. They are very open to learning French and to getting to know the Swiss culture, and we are very open to learning their language and culture. I believe language is not a barrier, if you are good with yourself and you speak with your body, they understand everything. When we meet all together with the mothers and the kids, I try to give them the pleasure of reading a book. Now it has started to become normal and it makes things easier for the kids at school, otherwise they have no idea about books, about reading, listening or being by themselves for a little moment.
To complement the knowledge I already have I’m going to start a Master’s in psychomotricity. I want to learn how to read the body of a child. With this Master’s I would like to open my own space, where I can put together all the things I know and I studied. Where I can help children with problems and do different activities with them, for example acro-yoga and story-telling. When you tell stories, you touch something unconscious in the person, and you can change something fundamental which will never be forgotten. The stories have to travel.
For the last few years I have been doing a lot of things simultaneously: having five jobs and attending three training courses, I felt I had had enough. So I decided to go on a trip with a friend of mine, to walk for one month and to be once again with myself, to focus on what I really want to do afterwards. When I arrived at Rota Vicentina in my city shoes with all my problems from home, I started walking and my attitude changed: I don’t have comfort anymore, all the things I am used to having, I don’t have anymore. But I have nature around me all day long, I smell, I see, I walk along the ocean, I fell in love with it. I feel good and stronger, I can dive deep in myself.
When we finished our hike in Rota Vicentina, we still had two weeks left from our holiday, so we started to hike “up and down”, again and again. It is so well-signed that it is not possible to get lost. I think in total we hiked Rota two and a half times, we just love it. We hitchhiked a lot during this month, and the combination of hiking and hitchhiking is just perfect. Both ways go slowly; when we walk we have the human rhythm, and when we hitchhike we need to wait on the road side with our bags and watch twenty cars passing by. It is a way to be patient, I think it is good not to have everything directly. We have the chance to meet new people and also to remeet people who we already met in the beginning of our trip. In this way we can say goodbye to them. I enjoy so much meeting the locals on the way and here we met amazing people every single day, as if they were our angels.
Coming here to Portugal made me notice that there are not many cultures which are more open than the Portuguese. After one month travelling here I began to feel more with the heart. We use and read the word love everywhere, so it has become kitsch. But feeling love is real, it is the answer. In Switzerland we always talk with our head and we are far away from our heart. Here in Portugal the people talk and laugh with their heart. If you look at a Swiss person, you don’t see the real person, it is like a painting, but the Portuguese are natural, honest and real. And for me the more real, the more human you are. And I think our job is to be more human and less terrible as we can be. I believe in life we have three things to do: to be nice to each other, to the planet, and to animals. It could be really easy, and it begins with us: how we talk, how we think, how we take care. This is how we can change.
I am a person who always runs, and I will go slower after this trip. I will focus on quality and not quantity: less, but better. I would like to get with nature more often and take the time to feel it and not just to consume it. I want to give more time to ecology and sustainability in a humorous way. To open the minds of the kids and adults to the idea that it is our duty to keep our planet a little bit better. I want to be more true. Here is a simple life, and I love this simplicity.
The photos were taken on the coast of Porto Covo.