Maja joined Brunswick in March 1993.

Roles

At Brunswick I have several jobs:

  • I work with people one-to-one
  • Together with Helen M I think about workers and listen to what life is like for them at Brunswick and beyond (Workers support manager)
  • I lead the Community & Events groups run by Pleuni & Co, who make my job a joy!!
  • I keep the Brunswick Social Club afloat at present and hope to develop it further in the near future. The Brunswick Social Club was set up by workers at Brunswick with my support in 2007.
  • I run Chilli BON BON on a Monday night. We are a community performance group. 
  • I eat anything cooked by our cooking groups for which I am not paid for but spend some of my wages on!!!
  • I used to work in crafts for many years and before that and I loved working on the land alongside Pam and Adam amongst others.

Experience

I have been very lucky to have a rich history full of amazing work and learning opportunities with wonderful people and organisations. Here are some of them:

  • Camphill Community (The Sheiling School) where I looked after four children for a year.
  • The JUST Trust taking me to South India to work with women setting up employment opportunities through producing crafts.
  • I studied Music at York University and built a scrap gamelan at Brunswick!
  • I trained as a Person Centred Planning Facilitator through York City Council
  • I got a diploma in handloom weaving and design in Bradford.
  • I have almost finished my Masters in Counselling/Psychotherapy in Nottingham.
  • I learnt how to be with horses and worked with people to share my love for being with these wonderful creatures. Some people have asked for help to make changes in their lives. Being with horses can be really helpful with that. This is called ‘Equine Facilitated Coaching’.

A Little Something About Me

I grew up in Germany and spent much of my childhood on farms.

Moving to England in 1989 was one of the best decisions I made in my life together with buying a really comfortable mattress, feeding birds in the mornings and stroking every dog and cat I pass. Another really good decision I have made was to check out Brunswick. Brunswick taught me how to grow vegetables and helped me to grow into who I am today.
I still feel happiest when outdoors with animals. I love sitting in my armchair and let my thoughts take me to places; I think a lot. Getting my hands dirty makes me happy as well as feeling the ground with my bare feet. I don’t seem to mind making a fool of myself, which is good because I do it a lot! I ensure that I have a good belly laugh with people around me; this keeps me healthy. It upsets me when things are not fair and I strive for equality.

I think that life is a beautiful mess and all I can do is to notice that I am part of it. Brunswick offers great opportunities to someone with such intentions.

A Fond Brunswick Memory

I was 23 years old when I discovered Brunswick, a piece of land that was met with love by a bunch of people.

I have worked in crafts for many years and remember a particular moment that captures how Brunswick has made a difference in my life.

I was working with a worker who has sadly died. He loved working outdoors but ended up with me in crafts because he had fractured his wrist.

He had been pushing wheel-borrows with his undiagnosed broken wrist, such was his determination to work and such was his ability to block out his pain. He was indignant about having to be indoors and refused to engage with our craft jobs. I did not mind that, since I was still celebrating our agreement about not smoking his pipe in crafts! I suggested to him that he might paint a picture to capture his frustration at being 'trapped' in crafts with me. He agreed and said that he wanted to paint a picture of himself. I was delighted and reached for an A1 sized piece of paper. He looked at me with puzzlement and frustration declaring:

‘That won’t do.’

I asked him what he had in mind and he said:

‘I need a paper big enough to draw a picture of me!’ accompanied with a look that conveyed: ‘Do I really need to spell this out for you?’

I quickly realised that we were about to create a picture to scale! Once I traced his body on some stuck together rolls of paper the worker added colour to the tracing. As we stood in-front of his creation he said: Do you get it? I was certain that I had not got it one little bit and tentatively described what I saw - A person, the worker, with one bright red arm. He explained to me how he stuffs the pain down and how he could not feel any pain and that’s why he is fine to work outside and informed me that it is not up to us to tell him how to live his life. We talked some more and he got more and more frustrated with me for not ‘getting it’. In his exasperation he exclaimed:

‘It’s not about pain, or my arm, or anything I have painted in the picture. I don’t mind pain. Why does everybody go on about pain?
Can’t you see, it’s just me in the picture, it’s just me?
That’s the problem. I am on my own. What’s the point of feeling anything when there is nobody in the picture with me? What’s the point?’ And he looked at me, holding his arm saying: My arm is hurting Maja.

A quarter of a century on I am discovering Brunswick in me, in all these human meetings I remember every day. I am grateful for that.