Camphill Life in Covid TimesType: Blogs
Topic: Coronavirus | Immigration | Volunteering
Published on: 4th June 2020
After having to leave Camphill Simeon Care for the Elderly in Scotland after only a year due to new government restrictions, I was lucky enough to be offered a place at another Camphill, Vidaråsen Landsby in Norway. I feel incredibly lucky to be staying in a Camphill during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Feeling safe in community isolation
Because Camphill villages are home to people whose special needs often put them in the high-risk group for becoming very ill from the novel corona virus, everyone here has taken government-imposed restrictions very seriously. It helps that my Camphill is an ecovillage, meaning we produce much of our own food. Many of the things we don’t produce, we get delivered to our very own shop. This means that we rarely need to leave the village on errands.
We also have people living here from all walks of life, with all sorts of different skill sets, so we able to do a lot of maintenance work ourselves, ensuring our isolation is very effective. We haven’t had a single case of Covid-19 among us, and I feel very safe here.
Creative community spirit grows stronger
Although we are in isolation, we don’t feel isolated, because we are a large community. Although our houses have been isolated from one another, and although most village workshops have been closed, we’ve found creative ways to pass the time in order to ensure that both villagers and coworkers can lead meaningful lives during the pandemic.
We’ve made videos with our house that we sent around the village to share with everyone. We’ve turned our sitting room into an art and craft studio. We’ve shared photos, poetry, stories and musings with one another in our daily news leaflet.
If anything, our sense of community has grown stronger, as everyone tries to support one another. We’ve been given an opportunity to truly appreciate what we have.
We’ve also found creative ways to celebrate Easter, May Day, and the Norwegian Independence Day. For example, during Easter week, each house contributed a short Bible scene. The scene was played out by villagers and coworkers outside their own house, and the other houses could come by and watch it at a safe distance.
For May Day, each of the essential workshops that needed to continue operating during isolation (farm, bakery, garden, etc.) gave a short presentation on the things they’d been working on. Again, groups from the village houses could come by, one by one, to see the presentation, while staying at a safe distance from one another.
Meaningful work is a blessing
Personally, I have found it a blessing to be in a Camphill during this time. I feel that I have meaningful work, both in looking after the welfare of the villagers and in keeping the farm going, while many people during this period are stuck in their flats, unemployed.
I also feel supported by the people in my house and the community of the village. We feel we are all in this together, and we do our best to help each other when times get rough. Sometimes we sing songs to one another at a distance, mime distance hugs, or leave care packages for one another on doorsteps.
And I am grateful for the nature spaces around my Camphill. I’ve had the opportunity to really be conscious of the coming of spring. Each new flower, each opening leaf bud, has filled me with wonder and excitement. It’s hard to feel too isolated when one has woods to wander in and fresh country air to breathe.
Creating a new society
As the pandemic in Norway evolves, a lot of restrictions are being lifted and people are eager to return to “normal” life. Here in Vidaråsen, however, we’ve decided to keep many of the changes that we had to make.
Our life has been slower-paced, more relaxed, during isolation, and we’ve had the time to truly appreciate one another. We are using the pandemic as a learning opportunity, and an opportunity for growth. It’s a time to think about what kind of society we want to live in, and about how to create that society. I’m grateful to be a part of it.
Written by Emma, an international volunteer, who volunteered at Simeon Care for the Elderly