INSP Advent Calendar: day eight

#INSPadvent visits Rita in Switzerland! Each day in the run up to Christmas, we have a message from one of our street paper vendors.

Donate to back INSP’s work supporting street papers and their vendors here.

Surprise vendor Rita. Credit: Diana Frei

Rita Voigt, 72, Zurich, Switzerland

Rita is retired. For a while, she lived beyond her means and felt like she had to travel a lot and she loved eating out, despite the fact she had to request social benefits. Then she met an vendor of Surprise and talked to him which gave her the idea to sell the street paper.

She had never finished an apprenticeship, but always had a job. She worked in factories, she was a saleslady in a supermarket and as an assistant in a dental clinic. She’s not married nor has any children. She lives in a one-and-a-half-room-apartment that she pays for by herself.

What is the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?

That’s a difficult question. Our family never had been rich, we lived simply. I never got big presents as a child. What I like most for Christmas are Honigtirggel, a Swiss cookie with honey in it. When I was still working, I loved to make gifts to my family myself. I have got one sister.

How do you plan to spend Christmas this year?

I do the same thing each year: my niece invites me for dinner with her family on 24 December, and as I am a Catholic, I’ll go to the midnight mass afterwards. The current issue with [the INSP News Service interview with] the Pope on the cover just suits me so fine, I truly believe in God. The Pope is impressing to me, secretly I even hope to also meet him one day.

Do you have a special Christmas message for your customers?

I know that people are generous before Christmas, and I am grateful when they give me a little extra. I’d like to wish happy holidays to my customers and I wish them a peaceful time with their family and friends, without any conflict. As a matter of fact, Christmas Day is on a full moon this year.

What is a traditional Christmas greeting in your language?

Schöne Festtage, schöne Weihnachten: Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas.