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The dream machine that makes happiness

A story of Local Response by Marlou from the Constellation

“Are the children in the Village de Tamarinier poor?” asks my ten year old daughter Chiara when I call her after a day of visiting this Mauritian village. I hesitate. Yes, at first sight, her peers here are much less well off. Their families struggle with drug use, alcohol, finances, violence, housing and many more problems. But are they poor?

The visit with the children is noisy, hectic, and incoherent. Our little friends have difficulty staying on their seats…. My friends Celicia and Annick are showing the beautiful example of when we find a common language, we can create the space for a conversation. Very gently and playful they are leading us all through a full Community Life Competence Process.

The strongest part of it is the dream machine that produces…. ‘Happiness!’ With our own bodies and voices Célicia makes us build the machine. We all make a repetitive gesture. We all make a repetitive sound. And together we are a Dream Machine. A lot of laughter is there to testify that this machine can produce happiness indeed.

Our new friends don’t find it difficult to define next what we need to add in the machine so that happiness is produced. ‘Smiles’ ‘hope’ ‘friendship’ ‘imagination’ ‘patience’ ‘love’ they shout.

The self-assessment is replaced with the simple question, “And do we have all those ingredients here?” As the children were hesitant about some of them, we as visitors were happy to tell them the strengths that we saw!

Poor? No – probably not that poor. Rich they are, rich with a dream and rich with all the ingredients within their reach to make next steps towards their dream.

“When we gave space for people to express themselves, their capacities blossomed.”

The dream machine in action