Life in the village
Life in a Camphill village is in many ways different from the life in society at large. It can be regarded as an alternative way of life, where the normal connection between work and money has been severed. We attempt to search for the human qualities that can become the source of energy and the driving force for each individual. But - the days can become long and human encounters strong and intense.
Anthroposophy lies at a base for what we try to bring about in the Vidaråsen. Dr. Karl König found the inspiration for the village-idea in Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy, Antropos - Man, and Sopia - Wisdom that is the Wisdom of Man, or the wisdom of ones humanity. Read more
Social Therapy - an inner attitude
The mentally handicapped - the villager - must be able to relate to you as a friend; as one to whom he or she might turn in need of help, advice, and support. Regardless of whichever handicap a villager might have, it is of the greatest importance that you keep in mind that he is an adult - not a child - carrying the same rights that you do, and that he shall be respected and treated as such. He or she needs your consideration, care and sensitivity to tackle the same kind of questions and worries, joys and sorrows that you have to wrestle with.
It is important that every co-worker develops the attitude of not working for, but rather with the villagers. Together we attempt to form a community that has Man as its archetypal image; a community where each individual can attain to his fullest potential, and at he same time give to the best of his abilities and possibilities for the goodness of the whole.
Life in a Camphill community asks of us that we see it as a main task to cover the needs of the others, out of the best of our abilities. Most probably, there will be an older, experienced co-worker around to lead you into the rhythms and routines of daily life, but you will certainly also be called upon to use your own strength and initiative and in the tasks and responsibilities that you will be asked to take on.
House-work: cooking, cleaning, and maintenance; is a fundamental task in the village, and form, together with the work on the land (with animal husbandry and market gardening) the mainstay of the village.
In the wood-workshop, weavery and food processing, in the felt workshop and laundry, are a wealth of different and real tasks for all in the village, be they villager or co-worker. The produce of the land cover most of the village's needs for milk, cheese, meat and vegetables, while the products from the workshops are sold out on the open market on their own merits, and are as such a contribution towards the running expenses of the village.
Life in the houses
Our aim is that each individual co-worker and villager is active in creating an atmosphere of warmth and companionship. Tasks and responsibilities in the family house are shared out amongst the people living there, and you will be expected to take your share. What they might be, will vary from house to house, depending upon the individual needs of those you will be living with. Hopefully, in time you will become aware of and sensitive to the needs of your companions, and cater to them, without anyone having to tell you what needs to be done.
You might be asked to take on the responsibility for the personal hygiene of the one or the other villagers, like helping him or her to bathe or shower and help to change into clean clothes, and to put the dirty ones in the wash-bin, or to help them look after their personal possessions - all these are likely tasks you might be asked to take on. All this will demand both tact and sensitivity on your part, in respecting the integrity of the other person.
The question is not so often what we do, but rather how we do it. The care, joy and consideration, with which we do our different tasks, small as they might be, are always appreciated. Sharing the different tasks in the house is an important aspect of the life there. Often you might think it easier, and more effective, to quickly and whisk away this or that job, only to find that you have taken the job away from someone whom enjoys taking his time over it.
At some time or other you most certainly will be asked to cook a meal. Cooking might be your main job in the morning. Together with one or two helping villagers, you will have the task of preparing lunch for 10-12 people in one of the family houses. Cooking the Sunday lunch is in many houses shared around. We try to use mainly biodynamic ingredients , whenever they are available, and much comes from our own farm.
Cultural life - the pulse-beat of the village.
As in all the Camphill villages, we put a lot of effort into the celebration of the Christian and other festivals of the year. Michaelmass, Advent, Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and St. Johns, are all milestones of the year. They give village-life a flow of creative continuity. These festive days are the centre of serious celebration, and a lot of preparation, care and effort goes into the plays, music, and other artistic activities that are central to the festivity. Sometimes we leave our normal work to do cultural work. Be it rehearsing for a play, eurythmy, singing or the like.
Such cultural activities may also be a seminar and studies, for everybody, and also in smaller groups. On Sunday evening there is often a talk, given by someone from the village, or maybe by a guest. Biographies, history, science - almost anything can be the subject of a Sunday talk.
Such cultural activities give us the opportunity to try out other sides of ourselves, and are in many ways of great value and importance in the building of community. Culture is in its essence not meant to be of entertainment, but is something that can give us new perspectives on life; new strength to perform the more mundane tasks of life that have to be performed out of necessity.