Sustainability, What We Love Elsewhere, Almost Local

Gartenpflege im Atelier Manus


The Atelier Manus is a private foundation for the promotion of the professional and social integration of people with disabilities in Brig-Glis. It gives us great pleasure to count the foundation among our valued partners and to support the work and commitment of the employees. Nicole Jäger, an employee in the Atelier, has written with the support of Rinaldo Weissen an experience report from her everyday life in the garden maintenance. Read on to find out what she experienced and how important it is to support this work.

My name is Nicole Jäger, I am 29 years old and have been part of the garden team at Atelier Manus for almost 7 years. At the age of 3 I taught myself to read and was thus confronted with my difference at an early age. In addition, I am highly sensitive and therefore perceive a lot in my environment. Due to negative experiences during childhood, I developed a personality disorder in the course of my life, as well as a depressive disorder. The garden department of Atelier Manus has accompanied me on my way during the last years, so that I have now found the stability for an education. I am very grateful to everyone involved for this time and have been able to experience how valuable this support is, how valuable it is to be seen and appreciated as a human being. Not all people can live up to our social system, but everyone has abilities and sometimes it is enough to give people an individual framework so that these abilities show themselves. Many things have happened in Atelier Manus during this time, as well as in the last year.

As every year, employees have left us, but new faces have also joined us. These changes are sometimes difficult, but we are a very open team and always there for each other. When you get to know each other in that depth of spirit, bonds can become very strong, you take each other to your heart. And yet it is good and important that people can take further steps from here and we can be happy for everyone who contemplates this path and has the courage to enter it. The fresh wind that greets us with each new face, however, is also always an enrichment. We offer each other a supportive and understanding environment in which each of us may develop his or her inherent potential. It is sometimes very amazing what abilities are hidden behind people and how much we can all learn from each other. Yes, even our quirks find a place in it, which in my opinion also need their place in a setting like this. Accepting yourself and finding a space where you are accepted as such is one of the best remedies. And this works very strongly in our department.

In the years I have spent here, our team spirit has constantly changed and evolved. With each soul that comes to us or leaves us, the collective spirit changes. However, the openness and security always remain. What changes every now and then is the temper of our minds. In the garden team we find many sensitive souls who long for peace and harmony, for the sensuality and purity of nature. But the work outside attracts spirited, active souls just the same. People who like to work with machines and need something physically demanding to get rid of excess energy. In an institution like ours, it is important to be able to adapt to the different needs of the employees. There are people who sometimes need to be pushed around a bit, and on the other hand there are those who can't stand the pressure and feel blocked by it. That's exactly why our team leaders are very important. A strong trio in which everyone brings important qualities with them. In this way, there is also strong cooperation between the leaders and the employees in order to be able to respond to challenges.

In these different aspects exciting and instructive dynamics arise, sometimes even demanding ones, but exactly these cause a constant growth for all involved. At the end of the year, the news reached us that one of the group leaders was leaving us to lead a group himself in another institution. This has affected many of us, tears have been shed, but each of us wishes him all the best and much success on this path. However, finding someone to fill that void is not so easy. Someone who has the desired expertise in the garden and at the same time the social skills. But our boss is also confident about this task.

As mentioned, I am very grateful to Atelier Manus for this time here. But what actually happens during this time? Why do people come to us? And how do you get away again?

Every person who goes to Atelier Manus faces a path of healing. This can be on a physical or mental level, sometimes on both levels. The variety of things that can hit us humans in life can be frightening and at the same time this fact reminds us of the value of life and health. However, no matter what the situation may be, the process of healing begins with acceptance and acceptance is probably one of the most difficult steps of the whole process. I myself can remember sitting in the therapy chair and boycotting therapy. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions circulating in the field of psychology, which causes many patients to close their minds to therapy services. Misconceptions like the image of the psychiatrist telling you how to live. Maybe he has advice, but whether you want to accept it, you can still decide for yourself. And honestly, if a doctor would not respect this free will, he would not be a good doctor, because how could he help the patient to accept himself, if not even he accepts his patient? The first step is the most difficult, but once you realize that you are perfectly fine the way you are, or accept in the physical realm that it is now the way it is, it can only get better. Self-acceptance releases undreamt-of forces and the will to find a way to exist in this world despite adverse circumstances and to make the best of this one life. In my personal case, we have realized over the years that I can remain stable in the long run at a workload of 60%. At this workload it is difficult to find a suitable education. And yet I have not given up and the search has been worthwhile. If someone had told me 10 years ago that I myself would one day complete an apprenticeship in the social sector, I probably wouldn't have believed it. Due to my strong empathy, detachment is a big issue and just a few years ago I avoided large groups of people. Even today I don't rush into the middle of things, but I now know how to deal with the anomalies of my organism in order to cope with them. And so my greatest weakness of detachment has developed into a great strength of empathy. The time and space here at Atelier Manus have made this development possible and I now look to the future full of confidence, joy of life and curiosity. THANK YOU.

In this sense, I would like to say to everyone here: Dare, dare to enter the world! Your individuality does not make you outsiders, it makes you what you are - human beings.

Love - Nicole