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Greg, Tatjana, Marta, Ulrike, Anka, Christoph, Vasha, Eva

Trustbuilding: Building Bridges Between East And West

18 October 2018 – Mysłakowice/Poland

Monday, 11. February 2019

 

Nine people. One weekend.
A weekend seems like a very short time. And nine participants doesn’t sound like much from the outside.

But what a group! Not only did the participants come from four different countries (Poland, Ukraine, Germany, and Switzerland), but they also came from very different ways of life. This diversity was the ingredient that made this weekend enriching for everybody. One of the participants set the tone for the weekend: “I feel that we are an international family, we have to care for each other and work with fun.”

A weekend in Poland

The idea for a weekend in Poland emerged from a growing conviction to strengthen trust between Poland and Germany. During the weekend the participants discussed ways of working together to build bridges of trust between East and West. Preparing meals and eating together were great opportunities to get to know each other better. Walks in the surrounding countryside not only provided times to rest the mind and the body, but enabled the group to discover more about life in the Polish countryside. In the evening hymns and Polish folk songs filled the room.

These moments were precious, as it is only when you get to know another person that you start building trust. This occurs through opening up, sharing and being honest with each other.

Sharing expectations, listening, and trying to understand the other participants gave those from outside Poland a glimpse into everyday life and the current situation of the country. It was touching to listen to the worries and fears for the future of the Polish participants when they talked openly about politics, financial worries and their impact on social and personal life. One person said: “How do I care for my well-being and at the same time take care of the society I live in?”

Many of the group expressed the need to be able to share in a safe space and to build healthy and trusting relationships with others. One participants said: ‘I need to be able to go out into my local community without fear to meet others and to be able to engage there.’

Nine people. One weekend.
One weekend might not sound much. But if people are ready to listen, to express themselves freely, and open up it’s a good start for trust to grow.

As a follow-up, another meeting is planned for Spring 2019.