Kinga Juhász from Hungary wrote this coming to end of her 12 month stay at Cherry Orchards.
When I applied to become a co-worker in Cherry Orchards, I was looking for some ‘foreign adventure’ and work experience at the same time – having studied psychology I was keen to work with people who had mental health problems. Never heard of either anthroposophy, or camphills before, and I also did not have much of a sense for what community life might be like. Seemed a big step to take, with a fair amount of risk included. I arrived at Cherry Orchard without a high level of inner preparedness, but openness, willingness to learn and work, and a hope that I can contribute to the life of the community by being the person I am. After initial ‘culture shock, the introduction time and my settling in helped and supported by both co-workers and residents I found myself doing a range of things that I have never experiences before. I was involved in cooking, baking and a variety of household tasks, took part in meetings, and had countless artistic groups. I had the opportunity to learn about anthroposophy and take part in the cultural- spiritual life of the community. All this was not easy to take in at once; luckily I had space to bring my feelings, questions and reflections to weekly supervision. The friendly strangers became friends, the new rhythm familiar routine, the whole camphill way of life fairly natural. Although living and working here was often challenging and not easy for me, I found it very rewarding as well.
Now my first year in Cherry Orchards is coming to an end, and looking back I can say I achieved what I wanted while here, and even more. Apart from having the opportunity to try and help other people, contribute to the life of the community in different ways, and learn lots of practical skills, I also feel I set off on an inner journey of self development at the same time. I was given a unique opportunity to learn about others and myself, try new things, take risks. Apart from my own reflections on my work and development as a co-worker ad human being, I got regular, honest feedback and support from the whole community. I feel I gained a lot from my time in Cherry Orchards, that will help me in the future, both with my work and personal life. I also think it challenged and broadened my views in many ways. In my opinion Cherry Orchards is a great place for people who are up for challenges, not afraid of community, open to spirituality, and are willing to try and, in the words of Rudolf Steiner, “overcome the mechanical, the principal of convenience, or the least trouble.”