Where are they Now?
As YIP is now in its 7th revolution, that means there are six years worth of YIP-influenced (or YIPfluenced) souls out treading the waters of life, or swimming vigorously through them. In this section, we can catch a glimpse of those varied lives, what waters they’re in, what stroke they’re putting their hearts and minds into and where they’re headed. Two people from each year, 2008-2014, submitted a piece of writing and a recent photograph of themselves, or a shot that captures what they have been doing. Each Profile also contains a ‘Then’ photograph, retrieved from YIP’s immense archives.
Name: Salbjörg Guðjónsdóttir (Iceland)
I recently got home to Iceland from exchange studies in Edinburgh, Scotland. I love Edinburgh, it is a city full of life and very student friendly. The atmosphere is very relaxed and I didn’t feel stressed like in many other cities. I travelled to the highlands, hiked a lot and saw beautiful scenery, met some amazing people and I wish I could have stayed longer. At home I study at the Iceland Academy of The Arts and will finish this spring with a bachelor degree. Three years studying painting have gone by really fast and I am, like so many times in life, asking myself what’s next.
A few years ago I was always worried about changes. Would I find a job that I could enjoy? Should I study something more practical? Become something where the chances of a steady income are greater? Could I do something meaningful? Etcetera. They’re thoughts I know a lot of people have. But even though these thoughts are crawling back into my mind these days, I am much more secure of the fact that if I am open to new experiences and looking for something to do, work hard and do my best with whatever it is I am doing, there is always something, some job, a project or even more studying to do.
I have been a part of a project called The Searchers Beneath The Nordic Sky for more than a year now. It is a play based on Norse Mythology and we explore, through different art forms (circus, dance, singing, eurythmy, theatre and music), man’s path on Earth from creation till our present day. The play constitutes a great question. A searching and exploration of the profound questions of life that we all carry: Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I heading? With an ensemble of 60 people this play brings together young and old, professionals and amateurs and circus artists.
In the beginning, I entered the project with the idea of me cooking for the participants and driving the bus between some of the places where we are going to show the play. But slowly, I have gone from the kitchen, deeper into the play and gotten to know the amazingly talented people that are taking part in this project. Now I am dancing, singing and playing, which is (even though I really enjoy cooking) much more fun. It is a great challenge and I look forward to this summer when we will perform the play.
Name: Ayman Zaher (Palestine)
One year of making sense, that’s exactly what I can call the year I spent in YIP. It was hard for a person like me to get along with a new culture, new thinking and new challenges.
At some point, I found out what I wanted from YIP: I wanted to learn and benefit from everything around me, my friends, tutors, organizations and my neighborhood. From then on, I decided to learn from everything and plan for what was to come after YIP.
I have always had hope and a positive view toward my future, and that has pushed me to transfer this into the kids in my neighborhood. I always had this in my mind: growing up in a harsh neighborhood doesn’t mean you have to give up. A few months after the Child and Hope Center was founded, I started working with 75 children and 25 teenagers. It took all my thinking and time. It was planned and organized so kids could find a place to go when they were feeling down and not have to transfer their feelings into violence or drugs.
And now my life is full of joy and satisfaction for what I am doing. My life is full of happiness and appreciation as well, because I have my wife and daughter, and with that my future is fulfilled.
Name: Hana Smythe (Austrailia)
Where are you? You could call it the Wild West but its more of small beach town at the edge of the Australian world with nothing but desert to the east and ocean to the west. She goes by the name of Fremantle, and she’s a beauty. She’s freckled with a handful of Yippies, baking in the hot windy sun, which makes me warm in the that way only Yippies nearby can do.
What am I busy with? Busy is a such a strange small word that’s loaded with power in our society, I guess I’m in constant battle with Busy, trying to slow down whilst at the same time feeling an incredible urgency to create change in our world. I’ve almost completed my studies in Art Therapy and am about to go “out bush” with a group of youth at risk for a 14 day hike in the Flinders Ranges and combining Adventure Therapy with Art Therapy to hopefully get these guys back in touch with their own compass and their own true north.
Sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating for me taking small and slow first steps to get up to that mountain of mine, but I think in those small slow steps there are ripples I can’t even see and I don’t know how they’ll affect my mountain or my trip up. (More info: True North Expeditions)
Name: Mahlubi Zibi (South Africa)
I am Mahlubi Zibi, A YIP2 Alum, currently studying Public Relations Management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. I have had a roller coaster journey that has left me with a different impression of the world in which we live. My biggest lesson thus, since leaving Yip, has been discovering the secret of having patience and being able to persevere in the worst conditions.
I initiated Langa Youth Development Center and realized that if my calling is to invest in the development of young people lives, then I have to begin with my own. I need to be the living lesson of whatever message I am bringing or change I am making. Being involved in community events has assisted me a great deal in identifying key people to work with and be known better within my community. So, it was a necessary progression to invest three years of my life to achieve the necessary skills to execute and sustain my dream.
Being a father has had a good impact on me in bringing things into perspective and appreciating the gift of reproduction that has ensured the sustenance of our human race over the years. I am ever grateful for the YIP experience, as it has grounded me and kept me warm with the internal fire, the one that was lit in Järna to light the world.
Name: Sana Syed (India)
Today, I am in the loft that nestled me in my growing years in Mumbai. In the place where I most befriended solitude, danced to many a tune and slept while staring at the moon or with rain mist soothing my face on my bed by the window. I am here now after a year in my second home in Chicago; a year in which I witnessed many openings and the unfolding of a flow that I trust and participate in. I am busy being. Peering into the mirror of my relationships to see what they reflect about the ‘me’ that I don’t see. On a quest to overcome the inner resistance to be useful in ways that please me least- the boring, inglorious, partially unromantic stuff; the opposite of what usually captures my imagination. I am considering further studies because learning has taught me that in true knowledge, there is joy. Recalling good habits of my childhood, and hoping to befriend them once again. Besotted by excellence, not as something in my possession but as something to aspire for; be it in a movement, or in a gesture, or the stroke of a brush or pen. I am occupied with Beauty, Beauty as the splendor of Truth; seeking it, cultivating it, losing it all in one heedless, clumsy or arrogant moment, then sometimes finding it anew. And I am wondering what it means to bury one’s self in an earth of obscurity, for a man that once walked this earth said, “that which sprouts without first having been buried, flowers imperfectly”.
Name: Daniel Evaeus (Sweden/U.S.A.)
I live in an apartment in Hollywood, Los Angeles. I moved here wihing to grow in the freedom, warm heartedness and sunshine confidence that I found so alive here during my YIP internship. Across the street lies the Elderberries Threefold Initiative Café, where I work. It was founded by Dottie Zold, with the intention of creating a healing space, open to encounters with self, the world and others, primarily based on Anthroposophy.
It’s a place where imagination and creativity can express themselves and the question ‘What’s possible?!’ sets the tone for the journey toward a renewal of culture. We actively hold the possibility for growth, healing and transformation for anyone who walks through the doors. This is also a big part of being a co-worker here – what do we wish to create and how are we with one another? The process of decidedly meeting my own habits, gestures, wounds and potential, requires me to be both courageous and vulnerable. I have never before bumped up so strongly against the boundaries set by my ego. But the boundaries are dissolving and I find myself deeply nourished and inspired by the work here.
I co-host a weekly study group on Steiner’s “How to Know Higher Worlds”, and a men’s gathering at my home. I am very much involved with the special community that surrounds the café and my apartment is usually full with guests – friends, travelers, Yippies. Often, when people come to visit, they do not want to leave again and are surprised by the warmth and connectedness they feel with the people here. As the community grows and more and more people are choosing to either visit or move to LA, we are working toward having a house available to meet these needs. I picture a warm and welcoming guest-house-sanctuary, where an array of co-workers, travelers, interns and Bed and Breakfast guests can inspiringly co-exist. Maybe I will see you there.
I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see,
I sought my God, but he eluded me,
I sought my brother, and I found all three.
Name: David Bravo (Mexico)
Life after the psychological wreck that is YIP is quite a puzzle. While I was packing my stuff to head back to Mexico (on the midst of the campaign for, probably, the worst Dictator we´ve had as a country) I thought I would be a new messiah bringing the life answers for my family and friends, and ultimately my community. Tough luck, it wasn’t that way. It appears that being an eco-friendly vegan activist with a feminist approach is considered “gay” and not very welcomed in a “macho” society like my own. Who would have known? Along that, somehow my world famous stubbornness, that I’m sure all YIP4 may recall, led me to drive many of my friends and family away, “you are too radical” kind of thing. Feeling a bit by myself being the only yippie in my country, I fled to find some contacts from the “Walk out Walk on” book: Yeyo and Aerin. Also Sebastian Wittstock contacted me with a warrior without weapons named Paola de la Concha. Thanks to this people I found a way to canalize my anger, distrust to society and fury against Babylon, into something quite nicer…Art.
Long story short after two years, I have organized, and in many cases helped paint, over 300 murals in my city, especially in my neighborhood and a World Class Mural in Mexico City´s Homeopathic Hospital. I am currently part of the “Carnival De Resistance” at the U.S. and all my work has given me the resources to build from scratch my home and make it a social center called “Verbos y Vibras” (Verbs and Vibes). All this mess has drained all the love injected in my veins from all that hugging and singing and holding hands I ran from at YIP. So now, to refill myself of that love, I have decided to follow the footsteps of the Latin American Idol, El Che, and grab a bike to cross the continent with his biography.
The Project is called Bykings (It´s not that I couldn’t find a Mexican culture to stand for, but more like a tribute to the land and people that let my mind free, specifically from a region called Järna). It started with a homie from my town that I barely talked to before the trip. And now we have crossed from the Crazy dangerous north of the country, through Narco occupied highways and guns being pointed at our face, to the majestic land of the Aztecs, down to the Zapatista territories and into the peaceful Caribbean coast. We have picked up much more than amazing experiences. We are now close to celebrate our fifth month cycling and we will celebrate it being 10 bykings from all over the country. We intend to document this path intensely through video recordings and constant articles (for those of you getting ahead of me, yes it´s basically classroom alive on wheels).
Bykings is based on 4 pillars:
Spreading the idea of gift economy, and we rely on it on every aspect of our lives.
- Cross-pollination of eco village’s techniques, and guerrilla gardening (In Latin America we have not had many tropicalized data of regional permaculture and eco techniques focused on endemic flora and fauna).
- Enhance or create activists networks (probably the one that has worked the most!).
- And last but not least, share the idea that traveling this way is also something you can do with a low Budget, and without fear, specifically in Latin America where the shock doctrine is our daily bread.
So as we prepare to leave the Caribbean (before all the Disney cruise ships and all those silly spring breakers arrive) I send light and good vibes to all ye mateys starting the YIP brain-cleanse and to all you alumni that get the patience to read this article.
With Love, El Nova Vrabo…Hasta la Victoria Siempre!
P.S. Give us a like in Facebook as the Bykings and help us expand our social network, in order to help get sponsors to facilitate new bikes for more people that decide to join the fleet! (More info: https: The Bykings )
Name: Fumi Hirano (Japan)
I am currently working for a company that produces and sells organic apparels and makeups. I mainly produce makeups with different kinds of oils, butters, herbs and wax, that are certified organic, minimally or non-processed and grown by local hands. We recently released an organic multi-purpose balm using Japanese beeswax from a local beekeeper. Japanese bees are known for their soft honeycomb and an incredible taste of honey with a bit of sourness. The wax from these unique bees melts in a low temperature so it can avoid being overly processed in heat and works wonders for those of us who live in the same climate as the bees. It took us a full 6 months to collect all of the ingredients and bring everything together. It’s now sold out…within a month! Our customers already gave us some positive feedback about its rawness and simplicity. That just blows my mind every time.
After the year at yip ended, and a couple of months later, I got sick. Really sick. I couldn’t get up from the bed and I had to leave everything and finally went back home. My immune system broke down and I was heavily medicated for months. It felt like forever. When I finally realized my treatment wasn’t working I knew I had to start healing myself in the way I believe in. I was fortunate to have such supportive parents and friends to keep me going during the most difficult time.
I tried so many different natural remedies. Some worked, some didn’t. But each one of them had its own uniqueness and healing properties. And it naturally became my passion. I feel blessed to be able to still stand here and share whatever I have to share and hopefully bring some more environmental issues to the table so as not to lose these special gifts.
So, that’s the good part of the story and now the real stuff comes. When I was asked what my question is, this popped in my head immediately: What is “Organic”? This word appears many times already in my writing. Because that’s exactly how we promote our products. But what does this word mean to you?
I have been battling with the company over our working conditions for quite some time now. The way they treat us isn’t ok. It’s becoming a huge trend over here to have this O-word in front of everything. But it can be very vague sometimes. I get so upset when I see other employees losing their health while producing “Organic” products. What really defines the word? Is it really….?
Name: Shirin Eimermacher (Belgium)
April 2014. Only three months after I arrived back in Belgium from YIP and then Classroom Alive, our little community in Gent of YIP Alumni and other awesome friends got together. Many years there had been suggested that one day we would be working together on some kind of a project contributing to a better world. Today we are working to organize a Connect Conference in Belgium, an international conference for high school graduates. We are four, working half of our time on a voluntary basis for Connect, surrounded by all the others helping out wherever it’s needed. The other half of our time we are earning our living. I started working in an Anthroposophical day care (pre-school) in another city in Belgium. Before rush hour even starts, I’m on the train enjoying breakfast.
I’m one of these full-time working people, counting the days of the week until weekend (but once it’s there, still continuing to work a little), holding unhealthy habits, missing quality time with friends, longing for a more prominent role of nature in my life, having an issue in general with time (i.e. not finding it), being stressed often and struggling to find a good balance between work and rest.
But I’m also one of these people loving their job(s), seeing the value of what I’m doing, feeling compelled to take care for the world and being driven to change something in this world, in my own small way. I love the children in the day care, I love witnessing their growth, taking care of them, singing with them and helping these little beings become. I love creating a meaningful experience for young people with Connect, I love working together with friends, I love being inexperienced but trying to act as a professional, learning by doing and believing in the importance of this project.
If I would imagine myself in, for example, January 2016… Starting a day care myself in Gent is a pretty likely option in the moment. Or, continuing to organize Connect Conferences? Or, why not starting an educational program for young people in Belgium? I could also be working to make an unconditional Basic Income a reality. Or starting a restaurant that is able to change people’s perspectives, knowledge and habits concerning our daily food? Deepening my knowledge of Waldorf education? Creating my own foundation year in Anthroposophy? Or maybe I will leave Belgium again and meet the unknown? Leave the city and start farming? So much still to do!
Name: Michael*/Miro Prakesh (Germany/India/Star Meanderer)
YIP is quite a while ago for me already. One and a half years – to speak in numbers. And returning, or at least arriving here in Brunswick, Germany, where I left my studies behind to be revived in Sweden, has taken quite some time and struggle. Despite what I thought at YIP, studying is beautiful, mind-expanding, even in the sometimes-obvious critique I bear for it. I started a theater project for refugees with some friends. I dared to try out a modern, artsy life-style and learned some crucial aspects of myself that YIP, with all that it gave to me, was not able to even touch, though it gave me the strength to stand up. And so now knowing that I am able to walk, still resting in Brunswick, I see so much more of what there is set out, seemingly, in front of me. One possible way.
With all the struggles and confusion in mind, with all the desire to be born into this world as – what might be called in YIP-language – my (more) true self, I have to ask myself, what is it that I am about to become? A loving anarchist fag bitch? A radical peace-maker? Against all the odds? No, I’m even more ready for this: To become the odd fully, and not being afraid of it any longer.
This is a radical political act. As Ranciere puts it: It is when the part of the not-part (la part des sans-part) becomes aware of its position and starts fighting for its right, that social structures change. And there are aspects to me that were negated, by society and by myself. Not wanting to be heterosexual. Not wanting to be explicitly gay either. Not wanting to be a man, nor a woman, nor a transsexual. Not a capitalist and not a communist either. Not German, not Indian. It seems like a mess, but this isn’t about being shattered, it is about being diverse. So am I, and so is the world. But in the systems we are operating on it’s a struggle to keep this up, for even language can’t do justice to diversity, as long I can only speak in “either”, “or”. I’m neither and nor. You don’t have to agree with me. I believe, that we do not have to make sure we’re all walking the same way. But we do have the responsibility to make sure, that each of us can keep on walking. For her*’s, for his*’, for human* fucking star*’s own beautiful meander.
Name: Pablo Brazil (Brazil)
I felt slightly surprised when I realized my YIP year ended seven month ago, it doesn’t seem to be that long. When my time in Sweden had its end, I started a big travel without a plan. I just wanted to go, without a control of the flow of life. Freely, open to what could come to me. I think there was a desire to respond to the emotions aroused by the encounters I had during the YIP time.
In my path I started to write a book, which is a telling made by different letters for an unknown person, sharing how I experienced the encounters I had in my travels. Lovers, friends, family… All strangers, but all became friends. I always had the desire of living my life as a work of art, and in this way I was portraying my path and sharing who I truly am, as an invitation for a world where people are more open, more together, and a stranger can be a friend; a world as community.
I left Europe back to Brazil in September, on a particular day, which was the independence date. For some time I felt shattered and broken, for leaving the family I made in YIP and arriving in a city that seems to be so grey: São Paulo… Once I was told that life is a mosaic, an art that is imperfect, possible and in pieces. It took me a while to gather my pieces, but there it was.
It’s summer in Brazil, and I passed the last month in what for me is the greatest city of South America, Rio de Janeiro. I was enjoying the last sigh of my seven-month travel, falling in love and collecting stories. I am a story collector. Today I started my art studies at university; I’m doing fine arts. But I still keep following the advice I was once given: the true artist is not the one who does the art only, but the one who lives it. Love, Pablo
Name: Dace Vaivade (Latvia)
I recently started to be a part of the team for the biggest Street Sport and Culture Movement, that is so exciting, but also very challenging. It is called Ghetto Games and it has made a huge impact on young people here in Latvia, also transforming one of the areas in Riga that used to be full of drunks and addicts, and is now becoming the core place of sport and positive energy. During the summer we have our season and the biggest Street Sport and Culture events shaking up the country with so much positive energy. I never thought I could be a part of something so great. But as I have experienced again and again – life just brings surprises all the time.
Life after YIP has been such an exciting time, finally stepping into new experiences and bringing inspiration into creation. But then all the difficult human relationships, fears and the shaky ground of questioning everything has been very difficult. I keep asking what I am suppose to do with my life and what are the gifts I carry that I can share with the world. I guess patience is something that can bring more of a calmness within that storm, but maybe within that storm I will find the wave I am suppose to be catching.
When I think of YIP now, it feels like it was just filled with so much love. So much love and acceptance. So much of what the world so desperately needs.