Rebuild of a new Yoga Studio
I need to raise € 50000 to rebuild my yoga studio and my family life after the Earthquake
Imagine that you hear a low, rumbling roaring sound. The noise builds up, gets louder and louder, for a few seconds. The earth is moving under your feet forward, backwards and sideways. As if someone suddenly slammed on the brakes in the car. Crash. It is hard to keep standing up, sitting up as well. I am a yoga teacher I should be able to keep up with my balance. Earthquake. It rocks. Cold wet shivering runs down my back.
It took exactly just 62 seconds to change our lives. Central Italy was struck by a series of major earthquakes causing catastrophic damage to infrastructure and large displacement of people. The strongest quake (6.6) ranks high from a 300-year historical perspective for the Apennine region. The social, cultural, emotional, and economic impacts are profound, creating an unprecedented crisis, and will be felt for generations. We have lost our town centre of Camerino. Our home is sitting right up the walls of the town. Which now has become a military zone. The entire town centre is now inhabitable. Nobody is allowed to enter the town only with permission one can recuperate things with the fire brigades. Besides I have lost my yoga studio in Camerino forever. And the income I earned from this for our family. I am heartbroken.
I feel like I just had a terrorist attack but without actually experiencing an attack as everything was taken away from my family, not just material things but my whole daily life too.
My name is Karin Montali. I moved from London 2001 to Italy as have decided to downshift our lives and spend more time with our children. My husband was looking after the four kids and the home and helped me to build up my yoga studio which was hard work as there was not so much yoga around in this area. The first year I have had only three students after 15 years just before the earthquake I counted 200 students, out of which I could make a living for our family. I love teaching yoga, when you do something you love it is not labour and for this I was always grateful. Now five months have passed, in between we have had a major snow catastrophe beside the earth keeps moving beneath us but nothing has happened so far. The Italian government has forgotten about us – at least it seems so to me. Actually, I feel abandoned completely, scared and helpless. But I know that life goes on and we have taken the decision to stay in Camerino and support the town with our yoga classes.
I want to raise €50000 to rebuild my yoga studio from scratch again, to be able to offer again yoga classes in our area where people can come and dedicate 90 minutes to themselves and regenerate. ॐ
In Camerino the race (or better marathon) to complete the building of the emergency homes is continuing. Of the 318 emergency homes (see photo) needed in Camerino as of today only 7 have been finished but it is expected that most families will have received their keys for the remaining 311 by the end of the summer and the rest by the end of this year permitting over a thousand people to return to Camerino. These homes are being constructed in many different areas in and around Camerino and are available in sizes of 40sqm, 60sqm and 80 sqm.
The historic town centre is still almost entirely an evacuated military zone. In these 18 months all that has been done is shoring up buildings to guarantee safe passage for who eventually comes in to repair the damage and for who has property in one of the dozen habitable buildings in the centre. Below you see photos of these efforts, some of you will recognise the buildings.
There is also news on the ex-textile workshop which was confiscated by the authorities to be put up for auction. If you remember we were given temporary permission to use it as a yoga school until a buyer was found. There was nobody interested in the first auction in March 2018. Under Italian law it will now go up for a second auction towards the end of the summer at a reduced base price of €120k with the possibility to make offers not lower than 25% less than the base price. We will see what happens but at least it is now unlikely that we have to move out before the end of this calendar year. Should there be no interest in the second auction there will be a third one in the new year at a base price of €90k, again with the possibility to make offers not lower than 25% less than the base price. We might be tempted at that stage but would need to find a second buyer to share the space as it is very big. 260 square meters is twice of what we would need. This uncertainty means that so far we have abstained from spending any more money raised in this fund raiser although there are quite a few things to do: double glazing, dividing walls, new toilets an so on.
It’s almost Christmas and here’s another update. Having just re-read my last update I am sorry to say that we will not make it back home before Christmas. At the end of July we were told by the number one engineer in the municipality that we’d be back home by the end of September. We were quite happy and naively started to get a few things ready for a quick move back. Comes September and we realized that the shoring up of the damaged building which obstructs the opening of our road hadn’t even started. After numerous visits to the authorities we eventually understood that, although the project for securing the building had been approved long ago, they could not go ahead because there was uncertainty among the different local government departments about who should pay for the architect who developed the project! We are talking 10% of the total value of the project (€65000), so that means €6500. Due to their uncertainty about who should pay the architect we have already lost 3 months in which the government has paid us €900/month in earthquake compensation (total €2700) for not having the permission to return into our habitable house. In the building next to our house (officially certified habitable, the same as our house) there are 10 large apartments … most but not all of these also receive the earthquake compensation. My guess is that the earthquake compensation for the eligible apartments each month costs the state around €6000 which makes €18000. Therefore, in the micro-context of our small road, a total of €20700 in compensation has been paid over last three months BECAUSE the authorities were not sure who should pay the architect’s fee of €6500. It is surreal here. When you talk to Italians about these issues they answer in a rather defeatist way “Ma siamo in Italia”! To cut a long story short, we have been told that the “problem” about the fees for the projects has been resolved now and that the shoring up of the damaged building which prevents the opening of our road should be completed by the end of March. We’ll see.
The “transitional” yoga studio in the ex-textile factory is in working order and, thanks to your help, is being greatly appreciated by my yoga students. So far, I think there’s a 50% drop in the number of people who come to class when compared to pre-earthquake times. That number should rise over the next few months because over 1000 displaced people are hoping to return to Camerino soon. Slowly but surely the construction of the new wooden emergency homes for these people is being finished …. of course they were supposed to be finished months ago! As far as the auction of the yoga studio is concerned it is possible but not decided that the first auction date will be sometime in March.
I’ll keep you posted. Happy Christmas and a healthy 2018 to you all!
Karin & Scuola Yoga Camerino
Time for another update. And there's good news.
A few weeks ago (10 months after the quakes!) the authorities finally visited our road and inspected the houses. Unlike most others our house was officially declared "habitable" but as we are still in the evacuated area we cannot move back in right now. There is a good chance though (but no certainty) that we're home by Christmas.
The other development concerns our search for a new yoga school in Camerino. We found a suitable space in an ex-textile workshop which was confiscated by the authorities and will be put up for auction. The judge who follows the procedure gave us the ok for the "temporary use" of the place. This means that there is a good chance that we will have to vacate it again after the auction but at least it buys us some time. It's likely that we'll be able to stay for an entire academic year until June 2018. It's also possible that the potential future owner will tolerate us for longer. There was a lot of work to do as the place was uninhabited for many years. In addition, the boiler needed to be exchanged and this is the first expenditure covered by this fund raiser (see attached invoice). In total we spent €2500 on the minimum work possible to get the place in shape. We could have spent a lot more (double glazing, partitions, etcetera) but the uncertainty about the length of time we can stay there prevented us from investing more money.
I will post other updates as soon as there's any news.
Thank you all again for your help!!!
Karin & Scuola Yoga Camerino
I am overwhelmed by your response and very grateful for your support.
6 months have passed since our small medieval university city of Camerino was destroyed by the earthquakes which hit middle Italy at the end of October 2016. Unfortunately, not much has happened since! The building which you can see on the main campaign page has been demolished, some seriously damaged buildings have been shored up to allow some roads to be opened for traffic and the local administration is still asking us to fill in forms; I presume they are trying to get an accurate picture of who is where and needs what. Some malicious people say that they are intentionally slow to encourage natural attrition among the population.
The historic town centre which many of you have experienced is still completely evacuated and off limits and all entry roads are guarded by the military. It is particularly difficult for me when I go to my beloved (and thankfully undamaged) house on the old city wall in the historic centre in order to get out some things we need and, of course, accompanied by the obligatory fire fighters. We are not allowed to take furniture; just things of “primary need”. There is no plan yet as to when we will be allowed back into our homes. Anything is possible from 1 to 10 years!
Recently the social services released some interesting data. In the Marche region 29.945 people are currently being helped by the civil protection. Of these, 22.423 people are from the Province of Macerata which is where Camerino is located. You see that we are right in the middle of it. In the administrative area of Camerino 72,3% of the population have lost their homes, in the City of Camerino the figure is 79,6%. Of all these people 74% have managed to find alternative accommodation and receive government support to cover the rent (I am one of them), 5% live in accommodation containers, 2% live in residential structures and 19% still live on the camping sites on the Adriatic coast.
As you can imagine the pharmacies are doing great business at the moment: After the quakes prescriptions for benzodiazepine (anxiety and sleeping disorders) have shot up 72%, other psychoactive drugs by 6,6%, antipsychotic drugs by 7% and anti-depressive drugs by 3,8%. I am still looking for a suitable and not too costly space to properly start again with the yoga classes in Camerino. As you can see from the above there is great need for yoga here! The search is not easy but I will give updates as soon as there is news.
Love to you all.