“Who is the team running this not for profit organisation?”
Marieke Van Coppenolle (president), also know by her ‘soulname’ Wandering Oak, was the first to shoulder the whole project. She is convinced that many will complete this dream project for many others! Therefore she decided to devote herself entirely to the building of Robur. It has cost her blood, sweat and tears to let the building grow.
She was born on 21st March 1960 in Turnhout and grew up in Brasschaat. While her three children were growing up she lived in Kontich-kazerne. Her main tasks were housekeeping, mothering and volunteer work. Since 2004 she lives a simple life in a converted light truck and she wanders, mostly on her own, in harmony with nature. She lets her soul dictate where she goes.
Despite the fact that she barely has enough income to survive, she has invested all her savings in this project, knowing it would not be enough: “I know one thing: if this project is meant to be, it will be. And everything we need will come our way.”
Read the full and mysterious story of the beginning and development of the project of Robur at The Oak here.
And below a nicely framed and inspiring short interview by Martin D. Guevara with a slightly tired Marieke, in the summer of 2018.
Be sure to check out the maker of the video, Martín D. Guevara, and
Katia Van Avermaet (secretary), elf in disguise, was attracted to this project after reading a column by Marieke about the project Robur at The Oak. She immediately became friends, both with Marieke and with the project ‘Robur at The Oak’.
Katia was born on April 15th 1979 in Duffel and grew up in Boechout. She still lives there with her wonderful husband and five lovely children. Managing and coaching her family comes first. In addition to that, she tries to help adults and children in her own particular wise way. People can find her for a nourishing chat, powerful tools that help them, inspiring stories, rituals for the important moments in life and a calming reiki treatment. She loves to write and is working on birthing her first book at the moment. Would you like to get to know her better? Take a look at www.elfendroom.be or www.ancalimavzw.wordpress.com!
“I’ve committed to supporting Robur at The Oak’s growth. I’ll offer both practical help and my talent as a fan club coach. Within my own boundaries and possibilities I’ll be present a listener, motivator and thinktank. And who knows, lateron I may help guests who are staying here!”
Kris Meyers takes care of the finances and accounts for Robur at The Oak. He has a busy job in an international company and trained at a business school. His constant contact with ambitious professionals has made him realise how important a quiet space like Robur is. Kris likes to relax by doing sports, making music in an orchestra or looking at architecture.
Anne Martine Humblet (Feeder at The Oak, light jobs and enthusiastic support) was born on 9th April 1959 in Tienen.She is married and has two grown up daughters.
Anne Martine grew up in town but later moved to Bost, which was still the countryside at that time. She roamed around with her friends and enjoyed the water of the river Grote Gete and the woods and fields before the E5 moterway was laid. She would come home full of scratches and sleep like a log. She is still very grateful for the education nature itself gave her!
Anne Martine had a difficult career as a natal nurse, film operator and ADL-assistant for people with a physical handicap. Nature escaped her consciousness and she lost her connection to herself. A few years ago Anne Martine had a serious physical and mental burnout to cope with. It helped her stand still and take stock. Slowly she rediscovered the healing power of nature and found herself again, deeper and more firmly earthed than ever.
Anne Martine is gradually getting back into working on a voluntary basis and taking on some commitments. One is Feeder at The Oak. Because she is no longer able to do heavy work, she took it upon herself to cook at The Oak during volunteering days. And she continues to do so in good spirit and with great creativity!
“Robur at The Oak stands for all the important things in my life: nature, connectivity, healing and finding yourself. So you see: everything we need comes on our path!”
Tony Claessens (Master of the Fire at The Oak, odd job man and supporter), is a dock worker and father to three children. “I have always had a passion for nature and adventure, hence my fondness of Robur at The Oak, a lovely project that brings nature, healing, spirituality and connection to the people.”
Bart Meyers takes care of the website for Robur at The Oak. Bart is a researcher in computer sciences and so he spends a lot of time staring at a screen. He finds the possibility to spend time in nature, to stop rushing and to digitally detox particularly valuable. He goes on (long) bicycle and walking trips and he reckons that Robur can be a beacon of peace for many.
And then there are countless other, willingly helping hands, not only from Flanders, but from all over the world! Robur would not be there without all those hands!
But how do they find their way to The Oak?
Robur at The Oak is a host on three online traveler / volunteer platforms: HelpX, WorkAway, and especially Worldpackers. We were pleasantly surprised and proud: of more than 5000 hosts at Worldpackers, Robur at The Oak appeared to belong to the 60 best in 2018!