A long and interesting article by Politiken: Med kronprinsessen på social visit, hvor opskriften på livsmod bliver jagtet - politiken.dk
IMO it's always interesting to learn about the people who are directly affected by the projects the royals support. In this case loneliness as was the case with Mary's recent visit to a center where lonely people meet.
First a little about the project "værket". Værket is pretty tricky to translate. It can mean a creation or a job that has been completed, a job well done. It can also mean the plant (as in an industrial plant.)
On top of that the word can mean aching. - Confused? So am I!
Værket, the Job from now on, is aimed at people age 30-60 and it is ru by the Red Cross.
In 20 places all over DK some 10-12 people meet every two weeks for a communal meal. Here they also practice their social skills in a safe environment, among people who feel just like themselves and who for all sorts of reasons are lonely.
They are also given tools to help improving their social skills, which is also very much about building up self-confidence and self-esteem. And hopefully gain new friends and building a network.
It is estimated that some 100.000 people in DK aged 30-60 feel lonely to an extent that it is debilitating. The irony of the whole thing being that lonely people often feel more lonely when they are together with other people, so that means it's easier to isolate yourself.
One of the people Mary met and dined with at the Job, was 38 year old Charlotte Jensen, mother to a teenage son.
In 2016 she googled loneliness and this is how she got involved with the Job.
And now she was sitting at the same table with Mary. In the photo top of the article Charlotte Jensen is seen talking to Mary. - Who poured water up for her and later offered her chocolate with nuts. Alas Charlotte Jensen is allergic to nuts... that made everyone laugh and broke the ice.
During the visit Mary said: "We are after all pack-animals- Being outside the pack is the worst that can happen to a person. The American professor John Cacioppo, who was present at the first conference aboyt this project used the image with the penguins. They have a system, so that the constantly circle and take turn taking the cold spot on the outside, before they can get into the center again. Only that way everyone can survive. Loneliness is something you can die from, if it becomes a permanent condition. Also in our culture".
Charlotte Jensen explains what they do when they meet. It's all headed by volunteers, who are not professional therapists or psychologists. In this place it's headed by a volunteer named Joan. - Who set up the topics for conversations, head party games and so on.
"We call Joan mother. Because that's how it is. She's ready with a hug and a kiss, just like we in the group are really glad to see each other. It means a tremendous lot. I've felt that from the first meeting. That I felt welcome. There wasn't the distance that I otherwise felt to other people.
It surprised me how much I got out of it (the meetings), so quickly. I can tell that I've become more open at my job and I dare say what I think. I'm not nearly as afraid to say something wrong as I used to be".
Another women at the meeting was 53 year old Monica Skön, who is now coming out of a deroute that started with a divorce nine years ago.
"I've learned to live in the present. I've learned that a rejection doesn't mean that there is something wrong with you. And for me it all started when I learned to share my loneliness with others. Then it wasn't loneliness anymore and then freed ourselves from the taboo.
But the most important things is that I've learned to deal with being with other people in a much more natural way".
But back to the dinner. At some point it became to much for Charlotte Jensen. Tears began streaming down her face and she had to leave the table. She was comforted by Joan and was able to return to the table and Mary.
When Mary had left a blushing Charlotte Jensen said: "I could be myself. It's nice finally being able to rest within yourself".
Monica Skön said: "I simply told about myself without considering whether I said something wrong. Just like we have been taught in the group".
- A good day and a little victory for both ladies.
The next project within the group is to establish relations outside the job. That means they will go to a cafe and here each will be tasked with chatting up a stranger. - That should be a surmountable task after having had Crown Princess Mary at the table, as the article points out.
- I hope you made it this far. I try and make these looong summaries as easy to read as possible and hopefully not too boring.
And here are the BB scans for this week, better late than never, eh?
BB #17, 2017