To stay, you must move first

I come from the “algarabía[1]” of Palermo where we had the Edu-Action 2.0 training.


A cold, rainy and distant Estonia receives me.


Where are the people? Today is October 6th, I have a whole month ahead, breathe, encouragement!


A white robot the size of a cuzco goes down the path with red-lit eyes. It doesn’t greet me when I get off the taxi. Nor hi, hello, ciao, tere, nothing.


Few minutes later I am playing with 30 unknown youngsters from 17 to 29, coming from different parts of the world to meet their family origins, invited by  “Back to our roots”, (Seiklejate Vennaskond’s programm). 


They are travellers, professionals or university students. Some have taken sabbatical years to go through Erasmus projects. 


Several are more than 25 years old and continue to volunteer in different countries, making it difficult to keep on their formal studies. But some of them are motivated to continue studying by the contact with the peers of the BTOR.


Young boy- 18 years old- Germany: “Everybody is studing something here, so you can see what you can reach. And that is a motivation to keep on. ”


Seiklejate Vennaskond’s volunteers show similar caracteristics and a notorious sensitivity and social awareness too. They ask Yvonne many questions about Kenya and its social situation. Silence in the woods. I just observe and learn the Estonian asking and listening art, quiet and soft like the breeze in the leaves (that sometimes desperates me!)


Adaptation: I no longer stress. I like listening their looong Estonian speaches and I try to realize what they talk about. Sometimes I make comments about their conversations and they look at me with surprise. I smile, Vladimir Megré’s Anastasia game works.


“It is difficult for plants to adapt to climate change because they cannot move like animals,” a Nigerian life science student tells me while having a beer in a student’s bar. Plants either adapt or die, but they can’t hide or run.


What strategies have the Estonians that weren’t deported to Siveria found to survive? The museum of memory, in Tallinn, is impressive. Seek freedom, without grudges.


Many left, like the BTOR Youngster’s relatives. They take ancestor’s nostalgy in their eyes. Because Estonians are not nomads, “they look for sacred places and settle”, according to the mansion cooker in Rogosi Mois. We talked about the Setos, another culture of resistance (barely a thousand speakers of their indigenous language) that I heard for the first time when a 16 years old youngster  from the Aparaadi Noortekeskus Youth Center told me about the sacred ritual of the sauna, in the sauna, at 90 degrees Celsius  far from rational consciousness. Bad things are released and new ideas arrive, he told me.


My body fades and visions and new sensations come. Then, an ice water bath in the lake will make me return to the body, more alive than ever, with the blood bubbling.


– Did you see, Anastasia? In spite of the risky situation that brings them to your organization, they don’t disconnect with their sacred nature.


That is the resistance of their vigorous roots, singing revolutions and dancing with strong and centrifugal bonds. And to resist you need to be pragmatic. And for that you have to study, that’s how families order it and how most young people do, in spite of the pressure they feel.


That’s one of the biggest problems for youngsters. 20,000 of them are in need situation , according to government statistics. And although public resources for specific programs are unbalanced in relation to expectations, they are an opportunity to approach young people at night “with whom I would have never imagined to link,” reflects a Youth Worker student of advocacy from Narva, whose mother tongue is Russian and finds difficulties to speak Estonian.

Everyday life seems to become acceptance and adaptation to the context. Many things remain unsaid because of their difficulty to express. So, government plans to develop “Arts of survival” by 2024, in which Tartu will be Cultural Capital of Europe. One of the objectives is to revive, through Art, the basic communication and cooperation capabilities, because “We might happen in saving the environment, but will humanity survive?”

The need for expression and communication becomes latent and urgent in this society, as in so many. That’s  why they appreciate those qualities that I share.


“I’m surprised,” the second grade teacher at Melliste School told us: “one of the girls is always very shy and doesn’t want to show herself in activities, but today I saw her enjoying movement and expression very much.”


I have nothing but to thank Edu-Action 2.0 and life itself for allowing me to share interculturality through the grace of movement art, as a talisman. 



Velisa, Uruguay

Job shadowing in Estonia

[1]Noise produced by happy and festive voices.