My “other possible life” in Suderbyn ecovillage, Sweden

by Giada Sofia Conti

The volunteers of Suderbyn ecovillage during the "exploration" of Baltic sea. All the images of this service(article) have been taken from Giada's travel companions

The volunteers of Suderbyn ecovillage during the “exploration” of Baltic sea. All the images of this article have been taken from Giada’s travel companions

I live my 25 years as a study phase to make a choice.
In march I took my degree in Psychology and from the first of September I’ll start working full time in the office where I spent the last 4 years between volunteering activities and term employment contracts.
I feel lucky but at the same time I feel I have to do everything in my power to choose a path that mirrors my way of being and interests, struggling against the strong risk of living an unsatisfying life.
This summer I could have chosen to give myself a beautiful vacation in an exotic place to celebrate the end of my student career and to escape from thoughts and responsibilities that have been floating around my mind for a while.

I’m living by myself, after a 2 years’ cohabitation; my family, as many others, can’t be a support or an example to follow. I had to renounce to my beloved sport – volleyball – because of a problem at my shoulder that this year I’ve tried to fix through a surgery.

Peer manual dishwasher

Peer manual dishwasher

This summer instead I’ve decided to experience for the second time a SCI (International Civil Service) work camp; this time I was not alone, but accompanied by a boy I met almost a year ago, who followed me in Sweden for the desire to stay with me and intrigued by the idea of spending an alternative holiday.

Ten days at the beginning of august were spent in tents with other 10 young people from different countries in the world, on the plot of Suderbyn ecovillage, Gotland island.
We’ve found an amazing hospitality that allowed us to live zero cost in such an expensive land as Sweden, offering our hands to work and our head to learn and share opinions on the story of the ecovillages, permaculture, climate changes caused by our human selfishness and superficiality.
A different kind of life.

The entrance of the swedish ecovillage where Giada spent her special volunteering experience

The entrance of the swedish ecovillage where Giada spent her special volunteering experience

Surrounded by nature, defying our adaptability to compost toilet, to a completely vegetarian – if not vegan – diet, to the lack of a hot shower each day.

This is the life that 15 people have opted for in this village, by sharing joys and sacrifices to regain contact with a land we stopped to respect.
Are they crazy?
This thought is probably swirling around many heads, as people are convinced they can’t do anything to limit the environmental as well as the social decaying.
We are always ready to delegate things to others when we don’t feel responsible at first hand, and because of this we start criticizing, pushing away from us the eventuality to renounce to some comforts…
“Why should I be the one who sets a good example?”, “It’s the country that should establish new rules to be imposed on everybody!”.
There are people who got tired of waiting for someone else to change things for them and decided to live in a more coherent way with their own personal ideals… that is not a bed of roses, but it can help to fall asleep with a smile on your face.

Giada and the other volunteers cycling toward Visby town

Giada and the other volunteers cycling toward Visby town

Therefore I enjoyed 10 very intense days with a lot of new pieces of information, interesting ideas and wonderful new friendships which, now that I’m back home, open the doors to the real challenge I want to undertake: building a more sustainable life here in Pavia, where I want to live and work.

I know it will be hard but at least I can try, hoping to meet more and more people interested in going deep into the story of things, into our responsibilities for the damages we have been creating, as well as in making the necessary small and big steps towards a significant change of this crazy wretched world.

* Pubblichiamo anche in inglese il seguitissimo post di Giada sulla sua esperienza in Svezia anche per metterlo a disposizione degli altri volontari dell’ecovillaggio di Suderbyn e di quanti vogliano seguirne l’esempio. Durante il soggiorno a Suderbyn, con lei c’erano – con i 15 residenti stanziali – altri 11 volontari Sci (gli italiani erano 2, altri due provenivano dalla Germania, c’erano due ragazze spagnole, 2 cechi, una svizzera, un russo, una polacca e una giovane svedese. Femmine in maggioranza: 7 contro 5 maschi. Giada tra le più “grandi”).

Lei stessa ha curato la traduzione in inglese del suo “reportage”.




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