A real life story from: Blair Drummond
I am Chardon, a coworker from Vietnam. Let me tell you about how I am going on so far in Camphill Blair Drummond (CBD). First of all, I would like to tell you my very first step I made on the CBD journey. This was the day in March last year that I decided to go to CBD and it took me almost 10 months for application and a visa to the UK, and it also took me nearly 29 hours to travel from my hometown in Vietnam to CBD.
I think right now you are considering what motivates me to go through such a long journey. Moreover, these reasons also encourage me to stay here during the very difficult time instead of returning home.
Why I chose to spend a year at Camphill
I worked in an art and craft school for children in Vietnam before I applied to volunteer in CBD. Apart from the normal business of the school, I wish to establish a non-profit project named Heart Arts to use arts as a form of soul nourishing for children living in poverty and as a therapy for children with autism.
Learning that Scotland is a cradle of Camphill Movement and what these Camphill communities do to support the residents, I undoubtedly submitted my application when I got to know CBD was recruiting international volunteers.
Before coming to CBD, I visited their website to have a big picture of how the community is doing to get ready for my voluntary role there. When I actually started to work, I realized that this place is definitely where I should spend a full year.
Love never ends and no one is left behind
Like other coworkers, my role in CBD is to support the residents in daily life and spend time with them in workshops. In my definition, CBD is a place where love never ends and where no one is left behind. CBD is a community whose all the people help one another no matter who they are.
I must say that not only I learn from the staff and other coworkers, but I do also learn a lot from the residents, especially the unconditional love they have for others.
As I have some experience in the art and craft school before, I love making handmade and decorations with the residents and this is how we are together going through the lockdown. Their facial expressions, their eyes opening surprising, and how they love the handmade items we make together make me believe that arts as a therapy can heal the soul for everybody.
Rainbows and hope
I still remember the time I painted a rainbow in my house doors. It was a rainy afternoon, the sky was so grey and there was a resident in other house looking at me doing the artwork. He patiently stood by the window in his house seeing a rainbow gradually appear in such a cold day. This made me to believe that, the lockdown is like a rain, it will be gone and rainbow will come if we do not give up our hope.
I read an article about people with learning disabilities, which said social distancing is not a new experience for them, they are familiar with that since they got the disabilities. This is when I determined to stay here, together we will overcome this situation.
My country is currently controlling the coronavirus with just more than 50 cases being treated in hospitals and zero death recorded. It is a safe place to return, but as I said above, the resident taught me what unconditional love is defined. They cannot come home to visit their families, they cannot go out in weekend to other places in Stirling, they cannot meet their friends from day service and other houses, this is when they need us – coworkers more than ever.
We want to take this time as a chance to do more physical exercise and craft activities. Therefore, the residents can have a healthy physical body and mind.
Focusing on the positives in lockdown
For my personal life in CBD, yes I myself want to go out because when I first came here, I struggled a lot with the cold weather and simply could not go out. When it is warmer and I just settled down for a completely different life in Scotland it was locked down already, so I have never had a chance to visit my new hometown Stirling.
But let look at a positive side of the situation, that I have never been to these places makes me not really miss them and so I find it not too hard to stay at home. Luckily, CBD is located in a very peaceful place near a pinewood, rapeseed fields, lake and river, what else I could ask for more?
My parents teach me that if I cannot change the situation, try to live with it and it will be gone when I do not notice. Hence, as we all need to do social distancing, I try to get me a healthy routine at home. I wake up early in the morning, go for a walk while listening to the bird singing, watching the sun coming out, and breathing the fresh air. On my walk, I stop for several places and make some photographs as I have got photography as a new hobby for myself, or I write down my diary of what I have done these days and especially what I think and how I feel so that I can remember how I spend my year in CBD later on.
Volunteers are priceless
This pandemic situation gets me to live slowly to think more about my life and how to make it the most meaningful as possible. There is a song in Vietnamese I listen these days, it says that if everybody chooses to do easy jobs, who will take the difficult ones?
We are all thankful for the NHS and other people in frontline risking their lives to protect us, so I know that I am going on a right path so far and the orientation for my future career is also a good choice.
There is one saying that encourages me to do voluntary works for more than 6 years “Volunteers are unpaid, not because they are worthless but because they are priceless”.
It has been nearly 3 months since I came to CBD. This is a place I will miss so badly when I return home and no matter how carefully I pack my luggage, there will be for sure one thing I forget to bring home, this is a part of my heart for the community. CBD is not just a workplace, it is a home with my family living there.
“Land of a silver birch… Blue lakes and rocky shores I will return one more…”
Written by Chardon, a co-worker at Camphill Blair Drummond from Vietnam, during coronavirus lockdown in 2020.