North Macedonia has changed me a lot. I have to say that I didn’t expect this country to be so marvellous.
We have spent around two months in North Macedonia. Since Martin lost his passport, we agreed to be a long season here. The first thing we did was look for ways to integrate with the community. That’s how we ended up in The Men Movement Foundation.
While looking for Toma with Ardita, we visited a community in Skopje where some posters were looking for people to join The Men Movement Foundation. I contacted the number without knowing what that was about. They didn’t even have any information on Google.
The next day they invited me to a meeting. The team was composed of 10 Macedonian guys whose partners had suffered some kind of harassment only for being women. Since it was a sharing circle, we were invited to share any experience we felt we wanted. Nikol and Gregor told the group’s story and how they came up with the idea while Martin and I listened carefully. They decided to do an English session that day so we could participate. I felt pressure to share anything because they were trying to communicate in a language they weren’t fluent.
At the start, I didn’t know what to share. I wanted to talk about Pietro and Jessica, but I preferred sharing something different since this case had reared its head again (James Punjabi attempted to communicate with me). So I gained confidence and narrated the events of my mom and dad and the challenges of growing up with separated parents. Three guys came to hug me and then sent support to my mom.
Then Martin raised his hand and told the story of his mom and Toma. When he told the story, a guy in the corner started crying. It was a guy around 50 years old, with a long beard and green eyes. After Martin finished his story, he stood up and walked to hug Martin.
I could acknowledge by watching Martin’s face that he didn’t want to take this too seriously because the guy was speechless, crying without saying a word.
Nikol brought him a glass of water, and when he finished, he could speak.
“Martin, I am Toma. Your mom’s Toma.”
I adverted strange reactions while Martin shared his story with everyone. Gregor and Nikol’s heads seemed like they were in a tennis match, moving between Martin’s speech and Toma’s reaction.
I decided to join the Men Movement Foundation while staying in North Macedonia, not only because of Toma but because I believe Men have to understand that women are equal to us.