At the end of 1989, I ended up in Switzerland, and a few things surprised me. One of them was that our village was always cleared of snow, and any residual snow was never a problem. “How do you do it?” – I asked my host – “In Warsaw, there is always a problem with that. If the snow is cleaned up at all, it is not done with any urgency.”. “We decide who is responsible for cleaning the snow. Every year, those who want to do it, give us the offers. Then we analyse these offers and we choose those that are cheap and reliable.” – was the answer. “We? Not the government?” – I thought.
In my first few days in Switzerland, I was shown one of the most important museums in a nearby town – a museum of an unknown entrepreneur. “Is there really nothing else to be proud of, but some capitalist from 100 years ago?” – I was amazed that they thought so highly of a local businessman.
I was an ordinary worker and, one time, I was invited for a dinner with Hans – the owner of four diamond factories. There was basically no difference between his house and my boss’s house – the owner of a precision mechanics factory employing 20 people – or a skilled worker’s house.
I was fascinated by how this small country is organized and how it operated. Life there was much easier than in Poland, which was on the edge of bankruptcy at the time. At one point, I realised, that I did not know who is the president of this country. When I asked my host about it, he smiled and said: “You know, we basically do not have a president as in other countries.”
During another dinner, this time with a teacher, I was shown a satirical drawing of God in the heavens, with the Earth below, and the cries of: “God free us from hunger!”, “God save us from war!”, “God, help, there was a flood!”, and a small country marked with the Swiss flag: “God, could you increase the speed limit up to 130 km per hour?”. I was ashamed that I come from such a poor country, because I was neither smarter nor dumber than the Swiss. I decided to share the knowledge of how perfectly a country can be organized with my compatriots. I finally succeeded. Joanna wrote exactly what I wanted to write.
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