After 33 years of active and committed time in Werdenberg, much of it in an independent school, we handed over the keys to a new school management at the beginning of March, with the idea of going travelling. The first thing we planned for this new phase of our lives: We wanted to treat ourselves to a time in which we – equipped with film camera, camera, recording device and our love of language – travel the world and report on people or projects who, in large and small ways, are working for a world worth living in and loving.
The current circumstance with COVID-19 now influences and determines our plans and our lives. The open globalised world is at a standstill, doors are being closed, people are keeping their distance from each other, existential fears are increasing.
This gave rise to a new travel idea: What is it like for people who, after an effective life of independence and autonomy, suspended in the family structure, now live cut off from the outside world in the care of a nursing or old people’s home. What changes are there? What is it like to be a carer in this situation? Head of the institution? To work in the kitchen, in the cleaning, in the housekeeping, in the secretariat? What is it like for the relatives who can no longer visit? What is it like for the residents not to be able to see their relatives any more?
Anticyclically to the current world situation, Mathias Engler and Daniel Schmitter, after presenting our project idea, opened the doors to „Pflege im Werdenberg“ without hesitation – with the necessary security arrangements. We are grateful for this. So the first stage of our journey now leads us, together with our technical equipment, to Grabs next Tuesday – to the Sunnestübeli, into isolation. For twelve days we will move within the same radius that is still open to the residents. On the one hand, for safety reasons, on the other hand, in order to create a closeness to the everyday life of the residents and the staff with their rich biographies and stories from the inside, with our own consternation, and to be able to document the challenge of the entire institution in this isolation.
What happens with the collected material, how it is used and whether a possible continuation of the project is envisaged, we decide in consultation with the management at the end of this week.