Polard Campaign in Capestang and the Municipal Election for Mayor
March 16th @ 11:00 am at campaign head quarters, across from the Superette Cali Market, the English speaking community of Capestang is invited for an aperitif and an opportunity to talk directly to the English members of the party ‘Un Avenir Pour Capestang’ led by Pierre POLARD, and guests Valerie BORY and myself. Feel free ask ask the questions that concern you most.
I haven’t been blogging very much as of late. I have been very busy with the POLARD campaign and his candidacy for mayor.
Pleased with all the things I have learned from this dynamic group of 23, I find myself in awe that there are no problems or conflicts in a group so large. Everyone has the same goal; to improve our village. It is a calm methodical process, nothing like North American political campaigns where you expect scandal and controversy.
When I joined the group, I was obviously the token foreigner. In Canada it is politically correct to have every major group represented and to have half your campaign female. It is no different in our group who were carefully hand-selected by Pierre himself. He started composing his list a year or more in advance, planting the seeds in our minds to become part of his campaign. There were other people in Capestang that asked to join the POLARD campaign after we started and were turned away, nonetheless they are still supporters and volunteer for the future of Capestang.
When we showed up for our first meeting at Salles des Douches, I was happily surprised to see three familiar faces on the registry. Beatrice, who I met the first two weeks after arriving in Capestang and her family, has become our friends over the last two years. She is a delightful person and her two children are very close to my heart. She also has two foster children that are adorable and our family spends a lot of time with them.
Sylvie and I are both members of the International Choir of Capestang and have been singing together for over two years. There are fifty-five members in the Capestang Choir, composed of mostly English expats, although we also have French, German, Canadian, and Americans in our group. Sally our director teaches us songs from all over the world
Caroline is the mother of Daniel’s friend from his class. She is a wonderful person, and over the last year has helped Daniel to improve his history grades. Before, I would spend hours translating the children’s homework to English and then teaching it back to them. It was hard for the children, though they knew the material in English, if the test questions were worded in a different way, they did not have the vocabulary to understand the question. Now, Caroline teaches him in French and he remembers it in French. This has brought his grade up from 11/20 to an average of 16/20 going from an average student to well above average. A huge improvement, and I am very grateful for her help.
All three have made my transition into Capestang and ‘A Future for Capestang’ campaign as painless as humanly possible. I wrote about how it felt being silent during these meetings, and observing while trying to understand everything going on at the meetings. The French talk in rapid fire, over lapping each other and for me trying to depict at first was difficult. As we went on and with the lessons from Fabienne at the S.T.E.F.I. (who happens to be on the Puisserguier list), I started to understand and contribute.
At first when I said anything, the room went quiet, and many were shocked I wasn’t a mute.
Since then I have gotten to know each and everyone on the list. They are motivated, friendly, helpful, sincere and above all good people. No one misses a meeting. While I took a month off to recover from my hysterectomy surgery in November, the group kept me informed through emails and they picked up my share of the work until I was able to volunteer again. They made certain that I knew what was going on and the main focus of our campaign.
We each made presentations on the topics we were most passionate about. Some of these projects may go forward once he becomes mayor. For me, it is how to improve tourism and awareness of our services when people pass through our village. I want us to become a flower village, and improve the over all appearance of Capestang. Through my writing I promote Capestang (especially in the local bilingual magazine BBB Midi ) and brought two film crews to share our story, bringing millions of viewers from North America through the TV show House Hunter’s International, who are now aware of our little French village.
We choose Capestang out of the entire European Union to build a life for our family. I am not the first to fall in love with this village. And for me volunteering is about giving something back to the village that took us in so open heartedly.
I am no a stranger to volunteering and my passion for the Montessori society and the children’s school kept me very busy in Canada. At Canada Safeway where I worked for twenty years, each month we had different charities to fund raise for and I always topped the most money raised list.
My views are not necessarily political. I believe it is our responsibility to leave things better then when we found them. If you see a need you either fill it until someone more qualified steps up or you find someone to show you how it is done; to find ways to make things happen, to connect people and show enthusiasm where often there is none. I am Canadian and nice to a fault, but do not mistake that for being simple. It is honestly hard to be nice all the time but it is something I try to maintain even in the face of diversity and cruel people.
You may wonder how a Canadian girl ended up on a campaign running for a position at city hall. As many already know, I am Hungarian descent and Alfonz was born and raised just outside of Budapest. Our family has dual citizenship. We have two passports and hope to one day add a third. In two years and four months into our new life in Capestang, we have managed to start two businesses, work in France and establish a life. If I can help make the translation easier for a foreigner, or help tourists find what they need while in Capestang, I would like to help. If there is a way to connect with our village I would like to facilitate in making that bridge.
The group has put hundreds of hours into developing our campaign platform. During countless meetings with members of our village and villages near by, we learn how to run a campaign, how to go door-to-door, how to keep commune budgets, how traffic flow works, the laws of a village and the list goes on and on. We listen to the issues and concerns of our fellow residents and researched how to improve these issues. From water quality, to inter-community, to services provided, to adding services to Capestang, to school schedules… our team has been very busy. In essence we have been in training since last summer, so when Pierre POLARD wins the election, his team is not only ready but also dynamically prepared for any issues that may arise.
What I love about this self-motivated group is that we truly represent the village. We have mothers, fathers, grandparents and our occupations vary to the degree that everyone in the village can relate to someone on the panel. What we do not know, we find out. What we cannot find out, we find someone who can. The sheer will and level of cooperation in this group can transform a village.
What it remarkable that we are volunteers with no pay, and no glory; other than making our village better than when we found it.