15 Minutes: Burning desire — German man to give helping hand in Katrina country
November 18, 2005
Felix Brosch, 38, will go to a small town near Gulfport, Miss., at the end of this month to help clean up after Hurricane Katrina. He will join a group of people from this year’s Burning Man festival who decided to gather in the South to help out.
Originally from Germany, Felix, a waiter at Swiss Chalet and father of two, is looking for donations to help pay for the plane ticket he’s purchased to Mississippi.
Q: What do you say to someone who thinks Burning Man is just a sex-and-drugs festival?
A: You can make Burning Man whatever you want. All I can say is that I brought my kids to Burning Man and they had the best time of their lives. We kept them safe and out of the heat. You must be very conscious at Burning Man because you are in a desert environment. It’s adventure and survival.
Q: Did Hurricane Katrina happen during Burning Man?
A: Yes. And people started collecting money right there and started thinking of ways to help. A recent newsletter asked for volunteers to go to Mississippi, to a little community near Gulfport. It’s a Vietnamese and black community. They are rebuilding the church.
Recommended Stories For You
Q: What will you do there?
A: I have no idea. I think it’s heavy work. Cleaning up.
I have no clue how it’s going to look. You see the pictures in the news. I wanted to go there and do something rather than just watch it on the news. I have time.
Q: You have time off from Swiss Chalet?
A: About three weeks, but I will only be able to go for 5 days. My wife and I share all the responsibilities of our children. I’m a papa, too; that’s one of my jobs.
Q: How many children do you have?
A: I have two: Maya is 6 and Zoe is 2.
Q: What else do you do in town?
A: I also have my own company. I don’t make much profit; it’s my hobby, my passion.
Q: What is it?
A: Good Vibes Tribe. It’s kind of a network of friends and people I meet to make each other’s lives easier, so we can learn from each other. So we know we are in this together. It’s very international. Our Web site is http://www.GoodVibesTribe.com
Q: How many people are in it?
A: Maybe 100.
Q: What is it about Burning Man that makes you aware of the rest of the people in the world?
A: It’s that melting pot of people. There are many kinds of people there. Because it started at the Bay Area, there are corporate managers or politicians. You don’t know who’s going to be there. They are people from all shades of life.
It helps break down stereotypes. It’s very empowering. You really see that we are one world.
They basically make fun of everything. You are allowed to be politically incorrect, or religiously incorrect. It’s like being a kid again. All your senses are completely engaged.
And it makes you think. It’s food for thought. You shed all those skins, skins of race and political correctness. Your tolerance level gets very strong; you don’t judge so easily. The desert is cathartic.
Q: Does Good Vibes Tribe have something to do with going to Mississippi?
A: That’s my philosophy: to be compassionate, to help each other out.
It’s been around for a million years that people say “Love each other,” but we really have to put those words into action. There’s so many times we have good thoughts, but we don’t put them into action.
There’s so many things in your way, obstacles and excuses.
Money is a part of it, but I thought it could be overcome. So I thought I’d ask you guys if you could help.
Q: That’s what this whole thing is about for you, not just watching the TV?
A: Yes, not just having sympathy. There’s too much bad news and not enough good news.
And sometimes all that bad news kind of paralyzes you.
I try not to be paralyzed but to do something.
I’m a foreigner, and I really love America. I live in this country and I don’t have civic duties like jury duty, so it’s kind of my way of repaying the hospitality of the U.S.
Q: How much do you need?
A: I’ve got $150 and I’ll need $350 more.
– Donations can be mailed to 2962 Oakland Ave., South Lake Tahoe, CA, 96150. Brosch invites people to drop off a tent or sleeping bag to donate to people in Mississippi or any small supplies.