France: EU AID VOLUNTEER

France, 47 years old, French

Our adventure in Ecuador

Somme people ask us why we decided to unfreeze at the antioodes of our usual life.
Indeed, the warmth, the vegetal exuberance of Amazonia, at about one hour from the city of Ambato where we live, the altitud of the Andes, the distance from the sea… what a contrast with our life in the Arctic! Geagraphicly the parallel 0 of Ecuador and the 80° north that wemcomed us for 17 year are really opposite. Same for the cycle of the sun, in constant renewal in the arctic and so immutable in Ecuator.

We left Vagabond, our polar sailboat, for a 1,5 year half-year break in Ecuador. Whith for goal, to be more even concretly usefull than in the Arctic. In fact, before to sensibilize an Andean population about seismic and volcanic risks that surrounded them, we lived 10 months out of 12 on our polar sailing boat, working for scientists, near by Inuit communities. Each, time we come back in France, schools, municipalities, scientifc congresses, press or TV ask us to witness about the climate changes, about our life en the Arctic, and each time we take the opportunity to restore some ecological and ideological truth (about the Arctic). The sea ice has become our field of work as well as place of realisation.

From sea to solid ground

We choose this “Vagabond” life before to imagine funding a family. Today and with Eric, we enjoy to look growing our girls, Léonie 10 years old and Aurore close to be 8. Since their birth the Arctic has been their daily life. They are totaly adapted and helped us to take a turning point : in order not to desocialize them we decided to live closer to isolated Inuit communities. A rich experience of lessons on difference. In 5 years, we have gone beyond the wonderful clichés of Arctic and understood the extent of societal and cultural problems. Whith the Inuit we made a link whith scientists, indroducing a big scientific programm in the little community of Qikiqtarjuaq (500 people) with about 50 scientists, also indroducing a cultural exchange such as artistic workshop related to their territory and their stories, in order to bring fresh air into their sometimes difficult dailies.

Before that, to talk more about me, after a diploma (DNSEP-bac+5) at the Marseille arts school, I turned my life towards the sea. Naval desing and regattas in Brittany, Antarctic expedition. I then worked as part of the team of “Fêtes Maritimes de Douarnenez”, in communication and editing of exhibitions. Art has never left me, I still gave last year watercolor classes (in France and Nunavut with Inuit) and continues to answers some requests. I am also president of the recent festival “Les aventuriers de la mer”, which gives to hear, to see and understand contemporary issues related to the sea.

Similitudes whith our mission in Ecuador? There is a lot. First, to be “passer” of knowledges. But also, continuing this adventure life, which exist in every new experience of life.
To choose our destiny and live our dreams is not a chance but it’s a work. First step is the most difficult? But then comes confidence. Our faith, whatever it may be, which carries the seeds of our realization.