Asking yourself what to do with your time can put pressure on you but it can also encourage you to take conscious decisions. Many people finish studying and pursue their careers, others get married, have children and buy a house. I felt that these paths were not for me. So, after completing my qualification in special education I decided to go a different way, moving to a village close to Leipzig – a very inspiring and alternative city – and joining my friends on a commune. I knew that I loved teaching and wanted to continue working in education, but I also decided that I’d had enough of tests. I began teaching in a local primary school and taking time off where possible, writing songs and playing music with my band and by myself.
There are eighteen of us living in the commune – twelve adults and six children. We have our own space, a chapel, a big garden, wood and metal workshops. We do construction, work in the garden and spend time together. The door is always open for locals or travelers to join our community. It is really nice. However, political developments in our federal state make me angry and anxious. Right wing parties were the most powerful in the last election. We have already had this problem with fascism in Germany – it seems to come back again and again.
There is a struggle within me – on one side is the powerlessness that comes from the feeling that I will not be able to change things. I have experienced this at times on Lesvos when witnessing the struggles of refugees, the suffering that EU laws create, the hardships people have to endure just because of the unjust decisions of politicians. The injustices here are human made. On the other side is the hope that comes from the sense that I might be able to impact on my surroundings. This is why I live where I do, this is why I express myself through music, this is why I come to Lesvos and try to have a positive effect whilst also learning more about the situation and who is responsible.
I guess I will never change oppressive political systems, but I can have an impact on a few people’s lives. And I am convinced that community and solidarity networks can reinforce this impact and cause actual change.
Interviews by Tom Adams and Aud Steinsbekk / Editing by Tom Adams
Photo by Knut Tinagent