We are in the process of preparing for our return to France.

  • We are looking for places to sleep in between Madrid and Paris (we only need a little corner of land to pitch the tent!). If you can help us out, please follow this link.

  • We already have a couple of conferences lined up along the way. To see the schedule, follow this link. We would be happy to met with you!

We are also looking for an apartment in Paris or the surrounding area, starting in mid-May 2010. Any help or suggestions would be most welcome!

Reunited!

As soon as we said goodbye to Rachel and Guillaume, we started to get a little nervous…. Nervous about seeing Sylviane, Sara’s mom, who we hadn’t seen in almost two years…. Nervous about the two conferences, where so much was riding on our presentations… Nervous about being back in a town that Sara has known for almost 22 years.

Sylviane was waiting for us at the edge of Montauban, accompanied by her friend Pascale and Pascale’s daughter Anastasia. They greeted us with an ‘ola’ from the side of the road, so sweet and simple that it brought tears to our eyes. A car pulled up beside us with Bernard, one of the people organizing the Montauban conference. He had recognized us and wanted to welcome us. We were touched, impressed by this all this activity.
Friday afternoon we went to Lou Camin, a home for mentally ill people, funded by the John Bost Foundation. We were welcomed as heroes, and our presentation went really well. We were pleased, and feeling a little more relaxed.

At 5:30 we left Lou Camin and headed to downtown Montauban: a welcoming committee was waiting for us to do a little tour of the town by bike. The stress started to build – that night was our first big conference, with microphones, lots of people, and microfinance institutions coming in from all over. We knew we had to be clear and concise in our explanations, but that seemed impossible – we had so much to say that it was hard to stay on topic. There is so much that we want to talk about that we could talk for hours on end! But that night, we only had one hour. The room was full – 100 chairs filled plus another 30 or 40 people sitting on the floor. We were intimated at first, but warmed up to our subject, and were able to make them smile and laugh, keep them engaged, and even inspire them. 

Everyone we met that day really seemed to consider us ‘extraordinary’. That was actually the word used by the woman who introduced us, over the microphone, to the whole town. But we don’t feel extraordinary; we feel normal. All we had was the courage to live our lives differently for a little while. We were motivated and determined, and it took a lot of work and energy to make this project happen. But we are still just two people in a big world, two specs of dust in the whole wide universe.

All the conferences in Montauban went really well, and we send our thanks to the organizers for their hard work and their warm welcomes. We also want to thank those who travelled to meet us and show us their support. It meant a lot to us that we were able to share our adventure with so many, even without knowing them. Our actions might only be a drop in a bucket, but we have succeeded in reaching out to those people who want to change but don’t know where to start.

There is still something that disturbs us about Europe though. In Spain and in France in particular, it seems we have lost the ability to simply meet and appreciate another person. All our relationships seem complicated, regulated. It is a big change for us, after everything that we experienced in the Americas.

PS: Monday, April 12, we will be live at 5:00 pm for an interview on CFM radio (Montauban 90.7)

Sara & Sébastien

[Drapeau de France Heather | Le 12-04-2010 00:42 | Add a comment]

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