On the 3rd and 4th of March, the Barka Foundation, the Barka network and its associations, the community as well as friends and partners celebrated the 70th birthday of Tomasz Sadowski, the co-founder of Barka. The first part of the ceremony took place in Chudobczyce near Pniewy, with members of the Barka community on an organic farm. The morning began with an extraordinary Holy Mass service celebrated by Father Joseph Krawiec (a priest leading the community in Barka Strzelce Opolskie), which united everyone who participated in a spirit of thankfulness for Tomasz’s creative influence on the lives of many people and communities throughout Poland, Europe and the world.
The Mass readings focused on the role of Moses and his role in the exodus of the people who had lived in slavery in Egypt, providing them with a new beginning to live in dignity and freedom.
Father Joseph compared the story of Moses with the role played by Tomasz Sadowski, in creating conditions for the development and reconstruction of the lives of many people who were once lost.
After the Mass a lunch was held in Chudobczyce, which was followed by a social gathering. The participants shared their own personal reflections and memories since the beginning of the foundation of Barka. They shared their stories with Tomasz and all others present, some stories that involved Tomasz and the impact he’s had on certain people’s lives.
On Monday 4th of March at 3pm, Tomasz’s benefit performance was held at Barka’s cafe „The Old Bakery”, which is near Poznan’s Środecki Square. This event was organised by member of his closest family and co-workers. It was a pleasant surprise for Tomasz.
The event was attended by representatives of local partnerships of the Social Economy, employees of the Barka Network Foundation, Barka representatives from the Netherlands, Ireland and England, as well as immediate members of his own family and friends. First of all we read wishes which arrived from all over the world, including Africa. Tomasz has been given the title of chief Mutua by the chiefs of the tribe of Pokomo. This occurred during his visit to Kenya and Ethiopia, where the Barka Foundation received 25 hectares of land in a place where the river Tana flows into the Indian ocean.
Then the delegations concluded the ceremony providing Tomasz with flowers and gifts. Among the gifts was a telescope that Tomasz “could monitor effectively”, publications on Africa, as well as seeds and bulbs of flowers and a fishing rod. Finally, Tomasz was asked to give a speech. He spoke of his reflections regarding his 70th birthday, and also mentioned how materialism can have a negative impact on society.
In the second part of the ceremony Tomasz’s daughters: Jadzia, Marysia and Ewa sang „Hymn to the Father,” to the tune of the musical „Les Miserables”. The lyrics were put together by Ewa with Dominik Gorny on keyboards.
Mateusz Kofta, the representative of the Środecki Partnership played „Mission” by Ennio Morricone on the bassoon .
Subsequently, his wife Barbara and Ewa said a few words “from the heart” about a difficult, but an extremely creative journey that they have taken with Tomasz.
Tomasz blew out the seventy candles and received seventy maroon roses from his family.
Tomasz’s 70th birthday created a window for a prompt reflection and discussion on the role of elders in the lives of families and clans, the impact of fathers and husbands for the building and creative development of family relations, and above all, the immense gratitude for Tomasz’s life and his contribution to the development of civilization, solidarity for the common good.
Baiba Dhidha Mjidho, the chairman of the African Forum in the United Kingdom in his wishes for Tomasz wrote: „persons who have been rescued are the largest witness and the fruit of Tom’s work. „
The celebrations of Tomasz’s 70th birthday marked the beginning of a new phase in Barka’s journey, which is associated with the progress of projects in Africa and preparations for the 25th anniversary of the Barka Foundation.
A Hymn for my father in dedication of his 70th birthday
In the melody of the song “Do you hear the people sing” from the musical “Les Miserables”
Lyrics: Ewa Sadowska
Translated by: Magdalena Herbik & Lee Seaman
For Seventy years
You have had an unenviable task
living here with us
Standing proudly as our chief
Your wisdom provides us
with a guiding light
And left his mark
Come here and join us
Let’s sing out loud
And work restlessly
Let us not delay
Before our weakness
snaps us on the bones
Have you heard the beat of the drums?
Have you noticed the eagle’s shadow?
Destiny has brought the eagle to us
For the glory of humanity
The freedom is ours
That is why we worship
We do not stain our gates
And we return to virtue
You have always repeated it to us
That revolution is not the way
In the wake of evolution
It will come to look despite our scars
Love will give us a way
To avoid the path of vanityBe the voice of society
They will renew the spark of the community
You will become a part of the brotherhood
There is a journey awaiting you
You will hear the loud beats of the drums
Here comes the glorious day
We will persevere
So long as we are strong
You will recognize the fruits of their labour
When the time comes for the results
And then you will call
You will recognize us as brothers
Giving a sign of victory
On the trail of the brotherhood
Give us a hand!