As a theatre maker I came up
with a plan for a journey.
A journey of a little girl on a
tractor. A journey to the end of
the world, and back. But what
is the end of the world?
If I was a child, I would say: the South Pole! As an adult
I said: the worst war-country
I can imagine. Both voices,
The one of the child and the one
of the adult, said: We want to go!
Then I thought: All right,
we'll just dó that.
Many people talk about it,
but few actually do.
Fear holds people back,
Held-back people have regrets.
Fear and regret are damaging
to people's lives, are damaging
this world. Governed by fear
and regret, there's no room for
Southpole challenges those fears.
It tries to encourage.
Southpole is about the will to face
the world with an open-minded
attitude. The will to face world's
Southpole does not want to be
afraid. Southpole asks:
What is it you fear?
What is it that makes you happy?
What gives you courage?
As a child I mount a tractor
and head for the South Pole.
As an adult I'll make sure I
make it home safely.
On the way to Pristina it gets clear that he summer is over. Winter is coming and I see people chopping wood everywhere. Pristina appears to be a city full of antagonisms. You can tell that the war here still lives in the mind op people. The war is over for six years now but the city is still predominated by carriages of the UN, UNMIK and KFOR. The ordinary population moves around in a lot of cars and at foot. From time to time I also see small red tractors. I speak to women who have worked in the war with tractors on the field, it was to dangerous for the men to go.
I meet up with Suta and Visar from World Child and perform at a school and in a juvenile home. It is very special to see this young people realising that I will take their dreams to the outer world all the way to the south pole. I also meet people who are working for Unicef and the UN and learn how hard the work is that they are doing, politics is slow and exhaustive so its hard to get something done. Im really hoping that something good will happen here.
When I reach the border to drive back to Italy where we catch a boat to Egypt, I get some more company for the trip. A small pup is following me around and I cant leave him behind so I take him with me. His name will be Kosovo and I hope he will accompany me during my journey.
Novi Snovi (new dreams)
In Bosnia I finally met with the people of War Child that have arranged a real tour for me and my performance. The first show is in an SOS Childrens village, the second one on a building that is not actually a school and looks very battered. The director of the school is not complaining, they do what they can and the have a fine group of teachers, she tells me. The children are terrific on both schools. They write their dreams down (Laida and Selma of Educon translate them) and plant them. And the cuddle the tractor before he will be on the road again tot the South pole with their dreams.
I cant stop thinking: what has happened here? What did the war do to this people? How did it affect them? What happened here? Do people still live beside each other, or does everyone live separated? In the meantime I see a beautiful country. Many houses are worked at, people laugh if I ride along. And I think: perhaps it turned out better than expected. Later I get the whole picture, when I come near Mostar. All houses without new walls have thousands of bulletl holes and bomb shells. Or more terrible, and are empty. It is very impressive to realise what has happened here. Nowhere I hear so many honking or see as many thumbs up as here. As if anybody is sincerely glad to see something lively. I see a young little girl, looking at me: wow, this is how I want to be! I see many children, and I think: are this the children of hope? When I see how those children react to the tractor for example, I know that they are. These children are the hope, the love of this country.
Every citizen of Mostar has their own story underneath the happy surface, for example that of Selma who fleed from Bosnia in an icecream truck. Or the story of the director of a school who saw a granate flying trough his room, that exploded on the school’s front yard.
The tractor crew
In Bosnia we also welcome some new people to our tractor crew. Saar and Geert arrived to make pictures and interviews for their book about the dreams of children. And Marco and Joris arrived with their cameras to film me and my tractor for the documentary they are making. It is getting crowded in the truck
In Italy we take the time to redecorate and renovate the follow up truck. I conquer my first mountains and we meet up with friends along the road. Its a bit of a holiday before the real thing. In Ancona we take the boat to the land formerly known as Yugoslavia, which is departed in so many small countries where the consequences of the war are still present, I have no idea what to expect.
While the tractor team in Holland were working hard to get the follow up truck running, I found my way in France on the way to St. Etienne where I hope to be in time for the last stage of the Tour the France. I thought it would be great fun and good publicity to start with the cyclists on my tractor. After riding hundreds of kilometres I arrived in St. Etienne to find out that all camera teams already left for the finish in Paris the next day. Great disappointment, but the swimming pool at my camping relieved the pain a little
So I went on to the South of France where I met up with the follow up truck and its crew to play my performance DO on the open air theatre festivals in Aurrilac and Perigeux.
Day 2 of my journey abroud, in Belgium, the first obstacle came up! I was getting around the city of Antwerp where huge construction works were going on. Accidentally, I suddenly rode on the high way, not a good place for a tractor that travels 20 km per hour the police spotted me and noticed I had no licence plate and put me to a hold. In the Netherlands licence plates for tractors are not obliged and actually not even available. When I made my testdrive to Paris in 2002 Idid’nt have any problems and even drank a cup of coffe with the Frenh Military Police. Dutch authorities assured me that i only needed a good international insurance, andthis I’ve found in a great sponsor! (the Europeesche) With help from a local Deutz-dealer, the tractor switched owners and became Belgian, with a Belgium numberplate. A big relieve, the expedition could go on..
This summer I started my expedition Southpole on the well known theatre festival Oerol on the isle of Terschelling. I played my performance Do and at the end of the week on the 19th of June I loaded my tractor on the boat to the mainland. Last preparations were made and on the 9th of August I crossed the border in Baarle Nassau. The majors of this international border village which is both Belgian and Dutch surprised me by giving me a tent which will keep me dry in the nights And I got great news. A sponsor for the follow up truck has been found!