Camphill, out of it’s nature, is often a place of unexpected stories and life twists. The story of how Jonny and Tania got together and came to Newton Dee is a rather romantic story full of coincidence and links from the past.
This young married couple, coming from different cultures (Colombia and Britain) while celebrating their birthdays on the same day, could talk all day about their meeting, and we would listen. We would listen to how they met for the first time when Tania didn’t know how to roll a cigarette; how they drifted apart and came closer again; how Tania discovered Jonny’s mum’s secret past and married him in the same place as his mum had got married; and how they ended up in the place where his parents met and his aunt used to live – in Newton Dee.
But let us start from the beginning. They met in the Pennine community in England. Tania took a sabbatical year before finishing law studies at university and Jonny wanted a change after being a co-worker in Newton Dee for two years. They happened to come there at the same time and fall in love. “Camphill changed my life, it wasn’t just Jonny”, said Tania about the decision to stay longer in the training center for students, even though her family wasn’t supportive about the way her life started to go.
After two years Tania headed to America, to Copake Camphill Community in New York, and the whole situation seemed too complicated for both of them. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for Jonny to realise what it meant for him and he didn’t want to loose her. Despite the ocean lying between them, they were keeping alive their relationship, even though it meant waking up at 4am to have 10 minutes of chat together.
After half a year in America, Tania was offered a house to run, while also mentioning her wonderful boyfriend. Jonny decided to leave his community in Yorkshire after three years, where he had been co-running the biggest house, which had given him a big share of confidence, and come to Copake to run the house with five villagers together with Tania. “It was all well prepared for us, the whole situation”. The Camphill community there was much more traditional - in the countryside 45 minutes drive from the nearest city, with no alcohol drinking allowed in the village.
Finally, in Copake, Tania had a chance to gain all the knowledge and skills she was striving for; about anthroposophy, festivals, care, homemaking and more. For Tania, coming from Colombia, the issue of her visa was always on the table. Also having both families on different continents from where they lived proved to be challenging. The time came for them to get back to the UK, and there was not much time left for hesitating, with Brexit just getting under way.
When they came to Newton Dee in August 2016 they started running Orion house, where they tried to bring together all the experience they had gained. Later, they were asked to move the whole house community to Woodburn and merge the two together. They moved in one day and are very happy with their new home.
Jonny is working on the estate and Tania has gradually got into the finances. But homemaking is her thing: “In Colombia, you go to school, to university, get a good job and have children somewhere in between. ‘Then you die and go to heaven’, my mom always told me. And I said ‘No mum, there must be something more’. I always was a rebel. And then I came to Camphill and heard about karma and I said to myself, Ha!” She admired her granny for making a home for the whole family in Colombia and wanted to do the same. Jonny will probably always be connected through his family’s bonds with Camphill and Newton Dee in particular; but they will continue on their life paths, having travelled from such different places, together in Newton Dee.