by Martha Muller
I arrived in Vancouver to join Charles and Adola McWilliam and the Ita Wegman Association of BC in September 1992. In the fall of 1993 our friend and fellow Coworker Katrin, our pioneer companion Lisa, Olaf my husband and our two very young daughters moved to Duncan on Vancouver Island to start working on the land that eventually became Known as Glenora Farm.
What brought us here? In short , community building and the ideals of Camphill.
I met Olaf in Norway, where we both lived and worked in a Camphill Community. The opportunity arose to join a group of people, hoping to start a community on the West Coast of Canada. The idea of doing so was just too tempting. We joined the group and moved to Vancouver.
Upon arrival my main job was to learn English in record time. Joining a community was not a job, but rather a way of life. You did what was asked of you or whatever was needed. To begin with Olaf and I started a candle workshop as an addition to already existing day program activities (in West Vancouver). After our move to Duncan, the intensity of tasks and work increased. We buckled down to a daily and weekly routine with landwork , crafts , household chores, artistic activities , evening meetings and attending markets aso. One thing I never accomplished was the art of juggling the different aspects of office work.
All the practical aspects of work was shared for the first two years between Lisa, Katrin, Olaf and myself. After that, Adola and Charles, the founders of the Ita Wegman Assoc., joined us with three more companions in Duncan. By 1998 we all finally (15 of us), could move into the newly built “big house”.
I see three distinct chapters emerging in my nearly three decades with the Glenora Farm Community and the Ita Wegman Assoc.:
Over the first chapter, there was incredible teamwork between everybody, a common goal and inner striving. Willingness to forgive each other’s shortcomings, an emphasis on flexibility and a resourceful ” inventiveness” that became part of our Community Ethos.
The second chapter demanded more flexibility: a willingness to enjoy our differences, to learn, to improve, to grow, to discover new ways of building community. There were many special moments of achievements together in festivals , the practical work, in community meetings, our social times together aso.
The third chapter started to show flaws in our fabric. The demand for new skills within the realm of administrative work became very obvious. Suddenly written rules and regulations were a must. Many wonderfully skilled people joined our efforts for this specific task.
Over the years this all intensified and now is the question: how do we combine this trend to bureaucracy with the vision and intent of the Ita Wegman Assoc./Glenora Farm Community? How is it possible to foster community building with all its human aspects and adhere to the stiff and rather black and white policies and procedures ?
The need to recognise and foster the spiritual aspect of community building and social therapy is huge. The pressures through regulations are equally so.
New courage and strong wills and imaginative, outside the box thinking is desperately needed on all levels!
As I step back from employment into retirement I can see new possibilities arise, new tasks within and outside of Glenora Farm. Our time does want and need community building and it is a very alive subject that can take on many different forms and ways.
My hope: to still be instrumental within this aspect of work.
After this adventure of 30 years I look forward to the next chapters, thank you all my friends and coworkers for these inspiring times together.