I also sent resumés to other potential employers. I thought to myself, “The first answer I get, I will take.” And then? Destiny took over. The first answer came from Brazil; but a little mistake in the address delayed the letter’s delivery (by one year!). The second offer arrived and in less than 3 months, I found myself in Beira, Mozambique in 1989. War was still going on. I remember the trip very well because upon my arrival in Beira, traveling from the airport to the house in which I would stay, I said aloud “I am home!” While I felt a level of comfort in feeling this way, it was at the same time surprising to me.
Once upon a time in the Alpes
Eventually, I did manage to quit my job. I wrote up a proposal for a project for a Children’s Home that I then submitted to the Mozambican government. It would have been accepted, but the only issue was that I did not have an organization or a contract to support my intent. It was only me and my good will. “Well, let’s do it” I decided. I went back to Switzerland, sold all my belongings, set up the non-profit organization called ASEM, and a few months later, I was back in Beira ready to begin.
Beira: May 1999 During the shooting of the film "Patrice Lumumba" directed by Raoul Peck with the main actor Eriq Ebouaney
During the following years, I set up the Children Centers in Beira, Gorongoza and Vilankulo. I used to spend about 4 hours a day with the children at the Centers, interacting, psychological support and being a Mom, 2 hours a day getting around in the streets to help resolving problems related to the children living out there, 4 hours a day taking care of my own children and 7 to 10 hours for administration, fundraising and resolving daily issues, yes, your calculations are right! 365 days a year between 15 and 23 hours a day for 10 years.
Today, I am supported by an amazing local team on the ground in Beira, Gorongoza and Vilankulo which allows me to currently focus on:
Performing as a clown
Performing in dramatic comedy
I used to work for private banking and financial management companies in Geneva. In 1987, I decided to open a Service Company related to the field I used to work in. My company was just established and ready to start, when the Stock Market Crash happened in October 1987. “The wrong moment to do the right thing.” I stopped everything and decided to submit job applications. As I used to perform in theater acts in Geneva, I wrote to my cousin in Australia who was an actor at the opera to see if there could be a job for me behind the coulisses.
In the new position, it became clear that I couldn’t defend something that I was not convinced about. Each one of us has our own conscience that we must follow. Judging and criticizing cannot make anyone grow. Therefore, I left the company 6 months later. In that time, I had witnessed a reality that was completely contradictory (in good and bad), from where I came from. The most flagrant atrocity was the everyday reality for these children. I met many people who talked about change, but very few who ever seemed to accomplish anything. Lots of talking, tons of paperwork and I finally found myself saying, “Stop talking, start acting!”