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Taking care of ourselves

In February, together with Juliette-who is the founder of the zero-waste concept store Orybany, where I also organise my workshops- we participated in the episode 6 of the Nos.heritages podcast.

Nos.heritages is a fully voluntary podcast of two Belgian journalists, Sarra and Gloria, that aims to transmitting the migratory experience to the new generation while keeping our own roots.

The recording was quite an emotional moment and a little bit like a therapy (thanks girls!). We talked about our migration background, our experience with sickness and our creative projects as a healing tool.

Migration background

I told a bit about my home country, Hungary where I was born and raised. Back then the folk culture was very strong in rural Hungarian towns, together with a traditional family model. My everyday child life was full of handcraft: crochet, knitting, sewing and jewellery making.

I was hardworking very early became a rebellious little girl. I wanted to prove that I am as capable as a boy, let it be football, languages, or history (!).

I was talking about my experience when I left Hungary the first time: it was my 20th birthday and I went to study in France. I got enlightened about the French way of life, feminism, but also modern politics, as well as racism unfortunately.

We also touched the topic of living in Belgium. I arrived for traineeship and stayed for work. I have always been dreaming of living in an ‘Erasmus’ (open-minded) society and I felt that I needed fleeing the difficult political climate in Hungary like sexism, pressure on women, homophobia, lack of solidarity-just to name a few.

I also learned so much about Juliette: She was born in Congo (DRC), in the province of Equateur to a Belgian Congolese father and a Congolese mother.

She spent her early childhood in the Equator province before immigrating to Belgium, more precisely to Brussels when she was 7 years old. This move was a heart-breaking experience for her and her older sisters as well as for her mother. To protect them, her parents chose not to tell that it was a one-way trip...

As a shy and introverted little girl in a tribe of 5 (4th daughter) and the second to last of the children, she lived her years in Brussels as a little girl in search of who she was until she turned 20. Everything changed after she left for London where she spent 10 years, asserting and accepting herself, her origins, and her culture.

Physical and mental health

We discussed by burn out that happened in 2019 due to a perfectionist style of living. I was also talking about the big pressure that Eastern European migrants put on themselves to prove themselves... the burnout highlighted my post-traumatic stress that I have always had since I was a child, victim of domestic violence with my mother until my 3rd birthday.

Domestic violence prevention became therefore a key fight for me: I link my passion to jewellery making with this cause in 2020 under the name Tulipane Design. It is not only selling jewelries but also work with volunteer models, organisation of therapeutic workshops, as well as conferences.

Finally, I mentioned my PTSD, and how living with trauma and rebuilding is for me: I am writing a blog about my therapy, the difficulty of living with anxiety and how to build something positive on that foundation.

Juliette told about her experience with breast cancer. In December 2018 she felt a lump in her chest, at the time she didn`t think much of it, as a young mother, she had other priorities. In January 2019, the time to do the exams, the verdict fell, breast cancer, stage 2. “Everything happens very quickly, from one day to the next, you cannot control anything, you are totally lost, your life as a wife, mother, partner, daughter, friend, sister, ... it's not just my life that's turned upside down, it's the lives of all the people around me directly and indirectly. No one is ever ready to face a long-term illness, we always think that it happens only to others until the day it is your turn.”

In 2020, the year after her treatment, she was staying at home during COVID, and she felt like a lion in a cage. She wanted to go out, to move, to see the world but above all, to live again. She does not have much choice but to stay calmly at home, and she uses this time to digest what she went through, the heaviness of the treatment and the reality in the life of a person who just went through an earthquake.

It is an opportunity for her to make a list of the failings of the system, the lack of information, the taboos, linked to the disease. And the injustice...and above all to dare to confront the authorities and public power in relation to the failings.

La maison Baob was born in 2021, a non-profit association whose mission is to raise awareness, accompany, inform, and support all women who are going through a long-term illness to rebuild themselves positively by using creation as a therapy towards a positive reconstruction.

Today she organises creative and therapeutic workshops with the members of the association as well as discussion forums to highlight inequalities while providing solutions and answers to the medical profession and to women who are going through long-term illness.

Podcast available in FR:


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