ubuntu in Caldonazzo 2012

"Mine Mask - mine Face" - a review

August 2012: In line with Ubuntu theme 2012: “Paths to happiness”, friends and supporters of Ubuntu gather in SOS-Children’s Villages Camp in Caldonazzo for the summer project: “Mine Mask – mine Face”.

Charting ways of life is like making masks

How fascinating it is seeing young and old chart and design ways to attaining happiness and satisfaction in life. The forming of a face mask is similar to this exercise. Then, we carry on our face daily without seeing it. Only the people we meet, both friends and non-friends behold our face exactly how it is. Each one of us can only imagine his or her face.  We depend on those we meet to know the actual disposition of our face.

So the labour and fruit of our daily endeavours to happiness are always collective acts between ourselves and those around us. Present and future happiness in our lives come from the joy, expectations and challenges we face and master together in our very present moment. In attaining this, many instruments come to mind. The one most easily at hand to arouse brightness of face is COLOUR.

Can Masks put on a smile?

“Colours convey happiness”- and in combination with moments of freedom, this happiness doubles. Our heart feels and our face bears witness to it. During the ubuntu workshops in Caldonazzo, it is our concern to make this connection visible. For instance, a smile on someone else’s face can be a source of life for another person. While a moment of happiness could be caught up and preserved in our memory, a smile on the face can be immortalized on a face mask.

No wonder a child asks if masks can put on a smile? Not on its own, is the answer the child gets. But if you put on a smile, your mask equally does so. And truly, the child smiles and her mask smiles also. Her joy and happiness know no limits.

Making Masks

Gypsums are cut into small sizes; Tables to lie down are prepared. Water and Vaseline cream are set ready. The first courageous child gets in position and we set out to make her mask. First step is to lotion her face thoroughly with Vaseline so that the mask could easily be removed afterwards without causing her pains. Has the child long hairs, then roll them backwards and tie behind. Then wet up the cut gypsums and place them serially while styling and forming the face. As the child might wish, nose, mouth and eyes can be styled open or closed.

In less than twelve minutes, your mask is ready. Slowly and gently free the child and place the mask in the sun to dry. Normally the children are not worried that they are coloured white by the gypsum water. Already water is around to assist them wash it off.  Right there in Camp in Caldonazzo, the guardians of the children really help enough to see things work out smoothly. Indeed a great support!

This very first mask making of the very first courageous child breaks the whole ice of “uncertainty” and fright. Now you see the children coming up in large numbers all desiring to have a face mask of them made. They want to see their masks smiling. Previously nursed curiosity now turns into practical creativity. Our happiness shoots up as we see young and old (three to over fifty years of age) desiring a face mask. Some coming with ideas of their own mask designs and we really start out in full swing satisfying every wish and making all happy.

Decorating the Masks

Over hundred face masks are lying out there in the sun – all white. In this uniformity, it is amazing seeing children moving up and down, round and about the masks asking: which of these is my face mask? Only few children with strong distinctive facial features could identify their masks. Cleverly enough, inside every mask is written the name of the owner. So just turn up a mask and behold the owner.
It is now time to transform the uniform masks by the power and beauty of colour into strong diversities of individuality.

With delight, passion, playful creativity and care, the children paint and distinctively decorate their masks with colours of choice. In utmost mindfulness, they appreciate and admire the creativity of one another. There on the open field, basking in the sun, the masks form a fabulous landscape of beautiful and creative display of art.

Presenting the Masks


Raising the masks on wood stabs and ranging them in front of the Yurt, the children, their friends, siblings and interested parties all gather together for the final presentation of the masks. Entertaining the mood and spirit of all present by a youth musical group, people once again meet and experience one another with Ubuntu in appreciation and recognition of the creative ability of the children.


In the sameness of well over hundred masks, all white, it is extremely hard to identify one’s own face mask. Surprisingly after the self-designing and decorations, every child can, even from a distance, with all ease, pick up own mask. That shows us that we recognize ourselves most by what comes out of us, by what we make out of ourselves and by the results of the diverse experiences we make daily at home, at work, at school, with our friends and role models.

Thank you for your diverse supports

Caldonazzo Team:

Alexander Gabriel; Carmen Eberle, Hans-Jörg Manzl, Fruet Margherita

ubuntu Team:

Gabi Schatz; Evelyn Fröhlich; Patricia Mungenast; Waltraud Gaugl-Anyanwu; Werner Dernier; MC-Dernier; Himmet Dogan