From the feet to the heart

Ever since 1971, a week-long music festival has been held in the city of Roskilde, Denmark.  Music is, of course, at the center of this event.  This year 145 musicians from around the world participated.  But there were also graffiti painters, poets, and organizations presenting various themes for everyone to think about: capitalism, banks, corruption, immigration, etc.  Among the 130,000 participants there were 30,000 volunteers.  The majority were housed in tents.  You can imagine the spectacle !


The theme for this year was: “Economic Equality.”  This resulted in special attention to homeless people and immigrants looking for work.  The surplus income was distributed among the charitable organizations.


    Two aspects of economic equality being ecology and recycling, there were some stands that sold only vegan and vegetarian foods and had many volunteers engaged in recycling.

In this context, the association “Café Pant” was begun 5 years ago.  The idea was to recuperate the unsold food and to offer it to those were there collecting bottles for recycling: Roms, Nigerians, Gambians, Lithuanians and some Asians who came to improve the lives of their families back home.




Our space was reserved for them.  They could come there from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. to shower, eat, rest, recharge their cell phones and get treatment for various ills.  Almost every day there was a nurse and/or a lawyer.  This year a co-worker of mine invited me to join their group as podiatrist.  So every day I had to take care of the feet of those who were picking up the bottles.  I really had plenty to do!  So many blisters and sores on their feet and so many smiles of relief after a good foot massage!  We tried to find other podiatrists but without success.  As we developed this service, we began to collect clothes, shoes, and socks from second hand stores so that they could change.  It was good weather and very hot. 

I was lucky to be able to use the apartment of the priest there in Roskilde who was away on vacation.  A quiet calm night was very appreciated before starting up again the next day. 


For me this festival was a unique opportunity for a discreet presence among people of all ages who have little contact with the Church.  There were several opportunities for exchanges that gave me a lot of joy.  I have never received so many « blessings » on the part of those whom I treated.

Feet for walking, feet for standing, feet – providing the opportunity to encounter others.

 Johanna Marie