My name is Marta. When I ask myself about the reason why I found myself coming from Poland to volunteer in Palermo I think it was some kind of calling from the inside to do something more than just routine student life, challenge myself and meet people. So here I am and still couldn’t believe that it has already happened.
In Palermo time flies differently. It has been 2 months since I arrived but it feels like I have been living here very meaningful part of my life. At first glance everything in this city seems similar to what you already know but after a while you realize that the truth is „everything is different”. Coming here from Poland I didn’t expect to be suprised as much, I have been in Italy before, I have volunteered also in my life but I feel like I have been living a different life here, and what’s more it started to be the life which I fell in love with.
My project was about co-leading international project organised by IG in cooperation with local partners Scalo 5 B focused on urban decoration and restoration local areas. I worked with 4 amazing volunteers from Spain, Italy and France. Our goal was to build the flower boxes to decorate Piazza Mediterraneo in Ballarò and also paint the theatre structure in hosting organisation.
But in reality we achieved even more. For over a week we have been spending whole days together working, eating, discovering Palermo and all of these days made as to become friends.
Thanks to people who create Scalo 5B we had an amazing boat trip on Lisca Bianca.
We had also trip to Cefalù nearby Palermo!
Moreover we met with local society from Azzizart association who takes care of periphery of Palermo. Together we did urban decoration activity in Romagnolo. We restored and painted old abandoned boat at the beach area to put the plants inside.
Working with the wood and painting was sometimes challenging experience but totally worth of excitement and happiness we could feel at the end of our work celebrating the final result of our project. We left little piece of us at Piazza Mediterraneo installing our boxes there and I hope this will be the way in which Palermo will remember us because what is sure we will remember Palermo…
In August I was also involved into supporting an international mobility with many young people from 5 different countries: Estonia, Belgium, Slovakia, Spain and Italy. We have been having workshops about many topics: tolerance, intercultural understansing, digital activism and how to use digital tools. We could explore other cultures through disscusions and tematic nights organised by each country about its culture.
What I realised is that even couple of months spent in different environment around new people, being dedicated to meaningful work can make a big impact on your life. To change yourself a little bit you don’t have to change your whole life, you can just rearrange your plans for a couple of months thanks to Erasmus volunteering. What still remains inside of me is the feeling of wonder how my volunteer work and people I met here have made me a happier person.
I’m Paulina, 20 years old student from Lithuania. I was taking part in a short-term volunteering in Isola delle Femmine village near Palermo. There I spent one month and I had two work camps in Natural Reserve of Isola delle Femmine.
Palms and huge cactuses in the streets, clear blue sea, hot sun and stunning mountains were the first signs that time here will be unforgettable. From the first days in Sicily I was amazed by its landscape. It was my first time in southern Europe, so this place was unique for me.
On work days we were going to the natural reserve. We had to prepare water bottles, then sail with motor boat to an island. There we were planting and watering plants. In the hottest summer months island looks really poor, so our work helps them to survive. Another thing is that island ground is full of rocks, that means it’s hard to make holes for plants and even for the plants it’s not easy to grow.
We had free time after work, so we tried to spend it usefully. We were going to the beach, hiking or exploring city of Palermo. To my mind, it’s worth to try Palermo nightlife, because it was fun at our time.
This volunteering was great for me, because I improved my English skills, I experienced multicultural group, met different people and expand my horizon.
And the most import thing to me was the feeling of freedom. By saying this, I mean how easy everything was going there, how people was relaxed and opened to make friends. That everyone enjoys the life, don’t worry too much and feel free to be themselves.
These fast-pasted days it’s common to forget those things. So, for all others that need this feeling, I wish to experience it while volunteering abroad.
Big thanks for the InformaGiovani staff and other volunteers that made my experience great and unforgettable!
By this project I improved my English skills. I lived with foreign volunteers, so I must to talk in English all the time. I notice that, now I am much more confident in expressing myself, making dialogues and talking in English. What is more, I broaden my vocabulary and improved my listening skills, so it's easier for me to understand others better and faster.
Grazie, Abarraka, Shukran, Dhan Yabada, Merci, Thank You, Gracias, Tesekkurler
I am Gizem, 27 years old Turkish woman who has been living in Belgium for the last 3 years. I did my BS in Psychology and specialized on research and migration during my MS degree in Belgium. Migration has become a real life fact as well as a field of profession to me throughout the years. This constituted my great interest to commit for the voluntary work in the project named “Empowerment through volunteering activities” at the Associazione I Girasoli, an organization carrying out protection projects with both asylum seeker families and minors (SPRAR). My activity days were mainly in Milena, but I also assisted to the Girasoli in Sutera. I was very warmly welcomed –as warm as Sicilian heat :) - by the members of the organization and the locals of both Milena and Sutera.
My volunteering activities were started in Sutera, a historical town settled on top of a hill in the moorland area of Sicily. I Girasoli organizes an event named “Welcoming Refugees” every year in this town and I helped them with decorating the town and making it ready for the guests. This is a 2-days-long event consisting of traditional meals from different cultures, short-movie screening, music and flow-art activities, as well as discussion sessions on the current issues of migration in Sicily and Italy. Even though I have a very limited understanding of Italian and miss the opportunity to fully understand the discussions, I am very happy to be part of this event. Importantly, this event led a very peaceful and fun environment which reinforced a positive interaction between refugees and locals, including me. This was a truly a different episode of the reality on migration in comparison to what I had seen about Italy in the mass-media (usually pointing out the negative issues) before coming to Sicily.
Milena, which is another small town close by Sutera, was the main destination for my volunteering. I spent my time with asylum seeker minors and, also, with few families residing in the town. There were 14 asylum seeker minor guys coming from Gambia, Somalia, Mali, Ivory Coast, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Egypt. We did an art workshop (creating a migration-route map), half-structured conversation tables (accompanied with West African style made green tea so that we were calling it “Green Tea Conversations”) and cinema nights. I also joined to the Italian courses in the centre, museum visit in Milena and several religious ceremonies such as Baptism and Eid Al-Adha.
The art activities, together with the time, led me to create a trustful relationship with the guys. We created a tolerant ground that we could share our opinions freely on sensitive topics such as religion, nationality and our past experiences. We talked about being religious or atheist, our migration journeys, cultural and legal barriers when you migrate, as well as our future goals. I must tell that my knowledge about the routes they took to reach Europe and what one experiences on the way has undoubtedly widened with their stories. I am more than ever sure that, with their words, “migration is not a crime”; it is a very humane response against man-made conflict or systematic inequalities around our globe. I, as a migrant in Belgium, stand more in solidarity with other migrants for safe and human migration after the lessons they taught me during our conversations.
I am very happy that I came to Sicily, to this beautiful island with warm and welcoming habitants. Since Sicily has been a nest for many different cultures throughout its history, it led me to take a journey through different cultures. I did not only learn about Sicily and Italy but also about the cultures of West Africa, Asia, Middle East and Europe. And most importantly, I am very grateful that I met the guys staying in the centre who challenged my horizon of reality and made my voluntary work such a wonderful and unforgettable experience! I am surely more hopeful and grounded and motivated to continue my way to be a part of a social change for a better world!
My name is Mohammad Zaher Akkad, I am from Syria and I have been living in Hungary for two years. I earned an MSc degree in mechanical engineering two months ago and I am going to start a PhD program in logistics this September 2019.
In August, I wanted to use my time in doing something good and refine my skills, therefore, I was looking for a volunteering opportunity related to environment and nature that I could develop my communication skills within it next to expand my networking in a new place. I was so glad to be accepted in this short-term project in Isola delle Femmine in Italy since it fulfils exactly what I wanted, spending one month in a teamwork project related to environment in an island in one of the best areas in Italy during August when everyone dreams about going to Italy. I was extremely excited about starting my adventure there.
Our work was in a small island called Isola delle Femmine located in front of a small town with the same name so near to Palermo.
The main service was planting plants and watering them daily next to other different tasks.
Even it does not sound as a hard work, it was requiring big physical efforts because we needed to move the water and plants to the island daily in order to start working.
However, we worked mainly as six members team so our collaboration and enthusiasm made everything easier and enjoyable.
In addition to our main work in the island, we were counting on ourselves in our daily life tasks in the house where we live. It was quite interesting to arrange our tasks in buying what we need, cooking, cleaning or even planning what to do in our free time.
We hiked beautiful places.
We ate delicious traditional food.
We enjoyed the beach with gelato.
I loved how every day we were becoming more near of each other, involved in our work and tasks and without realising when, it was our home, which we live in as a family. The location was great in the middle of the town. Moreover, it was amazing minutes for me when we use the boat to go to and from the island every day.
I met many people from whom I learned many things. I improved my knowledge about the sea, the plants and how to take care of them. Moreover, I learnt a lot about organising, managing and leading the group work.
I am so glad to join this project and I am proud that I was a part of this great activity in Isola delle Femmine to take care of the nature there and do something positive regarding the environment, which is everyone’s duty.
Mohammad Zaher Akkad
Tutti abbiamo una storia che merita di essere raccontata. Fare volontariato, come qualsiasi altra esperienza che significa allontanarsi dalla tua realtà, è aprire un nuovo capitolo nel libro della nostra vita. Il mio capitolo si trova a Palermo, una cittá bellissima e carismatica della Sicilia.
Mi chiamo Sheila, ho 26 anni e vengo dalla Spagna, ho fatto un volontariato a Palermo per un mese. Un mese pieno di vita, gioie, e anche incertezza, paura, insicurezza, dire soltanto il buono sarebbe raccontare una storia di fantasia. Se stai leggendo questo, sai di cosa sto parlando. Se stai per vivere questa esperienza ti consiglio soltanto assicurati della tua decisione, sia un soggiorno di dieci giorni, due mesi o un anno. A volte le storie non sono più lunghe in relazione al tempo vissuto, bensì a ciò che facciamo con quel tempo.
Il mio volontariato è stato in Centro Tau, una associazione gestita da “Inventare Insieme (Onlus)” per la promozione sociale e culturale. Questo è un posto con molta storia ed importante nel territorio. Lavora nella comunità del quartiere Zisa, nella periferia della città di Palermo.
Forse ora non è considerato sulla mappa come periferia, ma lo prende nel suo DNA. Il concetto di periferia non ha senso senza l’idea di portarlo come identità. Vivere in periferia significa anche vivere alla periferia sociale y culturale. Basta solo vedere come ci sono periferie di città che sono ricchi quartieri e non sono chiamate “periferie”. Allo stesso modo in cui i paesi che non si trovavano in una situazione di ricchezza (economico, sociale, culturale...) occidentali, sono stati chiamati "periferici". La differenza è in chi racconta la storia e la lingua appartiene a coloro che hanno raccontato la storia di pochi.
L'origine dal Centro di Tau. Come tanti altri movimenti associativi di queste periferie delle grandi città dagli anni ottanta, sorgono come iniziative per migliorare le condizioni di vita di una popolazione e dei suoi abitanti. Nel tempo diventa una risposta alle problematiche sociali, la vulnerabilità attraverso la coesistenza, l'arte, l'educazione e/o lo sport.
Fino ad oggi, Centro Tau cerca di dare un’altra alternativa ai bambini ed i giovani dal territorio. Lo sviluppo dei cittadini nelle vicinanze è lo sviluppo di tutti i cittadini della città e del paese.
“Una società che presuppone passivamente che i bambini siano emarginati dai loro primi anni di vita, sarà una comunità malata, distrutta e incapace di affrontare il futuro". Marco Marchioni
In questo tempo ho visto come il Centro Tau è un spazio fisico ma anche un riferimento per la comunità. Sono sicura della sua necessità, importanza e capacità per generare trasformazione sociale. Intanto, la realtà la costruiamo insieme, e un gruppo organizzato ha capacità inimmaginabili.
Ma che cosa ho fatto io?
C'è una cosa che è un po' ingiusta nel mondo della educazione, e questa cosa è che, il più delle volte prendiamo più di quello che diamo. A questo punto, ho colto l'occasione per conoscere le persone e il contesto nel posto facendo le attività che hanno programmato per l'estate (Arte, ludoteca, incontri, taubook, cineforum, i-stem gaming, narrazione, movimento, corso sartoriale, e uscite come al mare, ecc). Ho incontrato il mio amore per la creazione di materiali con il tessuto. Ho conosciuto i ragazzi, i giovani, ecc. Inoltre, anche ho insegnato spagnolo e raccontato la mia esperienza di volontario. Il mio più grande impegno è stato di aiutare con le attività, partecipare, proporre, condividere, vivere insieme e contribuire in un clima positivo di apprendimento e convivenza.
Essere una volontaria anche è vivere con altri volontari di diversi paesi, cultura, modi di essere, ecc. È trovare gente di Polonia, Francia, Italia, Mexico, ecc., e senza dubbio, conoscere una nuova città e tutto ciò che significa vivere qui. Potrei parlare di molte altre cose ma soprattutto per me questa esperienza mi incoraggia a tornare e muovere i miei passi nella direzione che voglio.
Alla fine è un'opportunità di apprendimento, di essere, di costruire la tua vita e forse più avanti tu sei qui raccontando la tua storia.
Sheila Tarragona Pérez
Che cosa vuoi scrivere nel tuo libro?
Sono Lorenzo, ho 28 anni e sto vivendo un’esperienza di volontariato all’estero grazie al progetto Erasmus+, raramente ho avuto occasione di andare all’estero e di vedere realtà diverse dall’ordinario. Alloggio presso la comunità religiosa di Othona, ma cos’è una comunità? È un concetto difficile da spiegare in poche parole se non si ha mai avuto un'esperienza simile. In questa comunità, persone da ogni dove prenotano il posto come luogo di relax, alcuni vengono per fare lavori di manutenzione, giardinaggio, costruzione… ed eccetera, gruppi di persone vengono a praticare la propria religione oltre a quella cristiana, altri semplicemente per venire a trovare compagni incontrati durante uno degli eventi organizzati dalla comunità stessa, funziona circa come una “seconda casa” aperta a tutti.
Questa comunità cristiana è aperta sin dalla seconda guerra mondiale (1946) e porta omaggio regolarmente alla cappella di St Peter-on-the-wall, una attività ancora rispettata nel tempo introdotta dal suo fondatore, Normad Motley.
Tornando alle mie attività come volontario, arrivando agli inizi di dicembre ho speso qualche giorno nella comunità, per la maggior parte guardandomi attorno e scoprire le piccole differenze che si possono notare solo quando non sei originario nella nazione in cui sei ospite, dalle prese con l’interruttore al fatto che stranamente tutti iniziano a mangiare senza dire “buon appetito”.
Successivamente sono stato incaricato di coordinare un Workcamp a Londra nella zona di Dulwitch, la cosa è stata un po’ improvvisa ma è stato comunque emozionante uscire dalla mia area di comfort ed avere responsabilità nel guidare persone alle attività programmate, in questo caso un sacco di giardinaggio nelle aree verdi a Sud di Londra, il gruppo all’inizio incerto sul da farsi è maturato insieme a me e si è stabilito un ottimo rapporto tra tutti i partecipanti. Il momento più curioso è stato quando abbiamo confrontato le nostre conoscenze riguardo ai diritti umani in base alle nostra nazionalità, esperienza che consiglio a tutti per rendersi conto di quanto è possibile viaggiare anche solo con il dialogo.
Il periodo in cui sono entrato in questo progetto è stato quello natalizio, non avevo ancora bene in mente come sarebbe stato passare il Natale lontano da casa, ma la comunità non ha fatto sentire molte differenze. Infatti, invece dei parenti, dalla porta arrivava gente da ogni parte del mondo che ha avuto a che fare con la comunità, tutti impegnati nell’abbondante cenone pre-natalizio. Ammetto che avevo un po’ di nostalgia di casa, quindi, dopo cena, ho iniziato ad insegnare il gioco di carte “Scopa” a chiunque volesse avere una vera esperienza natalizia italiana (magari l’anno prossimo sarà il turno di “Briscola”).
Dopo Natale, si è subito iniziato a parlare della prossima destinazione, l’isola di Wight. Il luogo di residenza del Programme officer: Cedric “John” Medland, incaricati con gli altri volontari di restaurare il museo fotografico di Dimbola (con tanto di angolo dedicato a Jimi Hendrix). Mentre ero lì, ne ho approfittato per offrimi volontario per lo storico festival della musica dell’isola di Wight per il periodo di giugno, il periodo adatto per visitare l’isola, a gennaio...era tutto una pioggia misto a vento gelido.
Tornando nella comunità verso il mese di Febbraio, si inizia ad avere un periodo di calma assoluta, purtroppo dettata dalla stagione bassa che più o meno è uguale ovunque. Abbiamo continuato a tenerci impegnati il più possibile, i lavori dati erano vari: pitturare, curare il giardino, preparare il terreno per l’edilizia, cucinare, offrirsi come cassiere per il negozio del villaggio. Il tutto alternato da giorni liberi spesi girando i vari angoli dell’Inghilterra per conto nostro.
In conclusione, la mia esperienza è solo a metà percorso, ma ho fatto un sacco di incontri piacevoli, ho stretto amicizia con gli altri volontari del programma grazie all’inglese che fa da ponte per i nostri discorsi, e guardo avanti alla prossima parte del progetto... dato che, qui tutti ripetono che “la comunità prenderà molto più senso quando sarà estate”.
I wish to acknowledge the help provided by Massimiliano Greco at Associazione Informagiovani and Daniela Bellomonte at Centro Tau for their professional guidance and valuable support during this project.
Sicily has a long standing tradition of being populated by foreigners. It’s the land of blended culture, the remnants of thousands of years of history present in the people, the dialects, the art and the cuisine.
It was this knowledge that allowed me to embark on this journey without fear: I would be a newcomer but I would be welcomed in this concoction of people that are so different from each other and at the same time alike.
Nevertheless, the Palermitan feeling remains in the streets since the pride and nationalism of the people is poignant on every corner of the island. Everywhere you look there is evidence of its past, the blended architecture from the middle east with the ostentation of the renaissance scattered along the way. The fruit markets decorate the old roads and the pictures of Santa Rosalia adorn the houses of the population - that come out with fervour on hot summer nights do pay homage to their religious patron- and give the city of Palermo a communal feeling that is impossible to recreate.
I arrived in July, in the middle of a heatwave. I remember the day as if had happened yesterday, the blast of heat I received when the plane gates opened. I wasn’t prepared for it, considering I had taken a middle of the night flight, and the Mediterranean weather is always a surprise for a Portuguese like me. The view from the airport was already magical enough to make me forget about the sweat gathering at my temples at eight in the morning, and for a couple of blissful minutes I could ignore the imminent heatstroke in favour of sightseeing.
The next couple of weeks were a mixture of adapting to the culture, trying to figure out how to order coffee the way I like in Italian (spoiler alert, I never did) and evaluate how my next months would be spent. Palermo has an incredible offer of cultural activities, and so much traditional food you can spend weeks trying it out. The museums offer the opportunity to see art from ancient Greece, as well as contemporary artists that speak of social movements of inclusiveness and acceptance. Mondello beach is a tropical paradise that I cannot get enough of, even now during the winter, and the Tyrrhenian sea was great company during the scorching heat.
However, I didn’t move to Sicily for touristic reasons. I signed up to volunteer at the youth centre Centro Tau, a place in the heart of the Zisa neighbourhood.
When I first went to my place of work, I fell into the trap that all the tourists do: I only saw the smelly trash on the sidewalks, the disorganisation of the unmarked pavement, the rotting fruit left under the scalding sun, the people roaming the streets without apparent purpose.
It was after months being here that I got over my initial prejudices and saw this community for what it was: full of life, dynamic and vibrating with young people full of potential. The people that gather around the street do have a place and an important position, to help unite the local population in its diversity and peculiarities that make Palermo what it is. The stigma of mafia is still around in every corner, as well as poverty; but that doesn’t stop Centro Tau from trying to engage the youth and create opportunities. They provide English classes, teacher workshops, self-defence courses and so much more. Together they are equipping the locals with tools that can help them improve their life and develop their sense of civic duty.
My volunteering job was to assist the educators and other senior volunteers with their tasks such as giving English lessons to teenagers with non-formal methods, organize media workshops and support children with their homework.
I can say that I learned a lot about empathy, project management, leadership, teamwork and adaptability. I found how open and compassionate children can be; always happy to greet me with a smile and kind words, expressions that I eventually adopted as part of my vernacular, an exchange of idioms that made us all richer.
There were difficult times too, days where my country seemed too far away and communication was stilted as my Italian is not fluent. Homesickness is as real as any other affliction, since it makes the heart ache and the belly hurt, and although there isn’t any remedy for it, it can me managed: long Skype calls, friends willing to listen and a good old care package from parents.
Volunteering is not only about servicing a community, but also about building character and finding out about the power that lays in vulnerability. There is strength to be found in the hard moments, a lesson in the quiet silences of living alone, empathy with oneself that can only be created after rising up against self-doubt. I will leave with a new insight on life, brought to me by everyone I have worked with, lived with and shared incredible moments.
The people I have met along the way (however brief our time together has been) will be a part of the milestones I achieved this year simply by gifting me their company and attention.
Overall, I had a great experience living in Italy and allowing myself to broaden my horizons with this opportunity. I hope I can come back to Palermo someday as I think we are not finished with each other yet.
My name is Odysseas Fotopoulos I am 24 years old from Greece. I arrived in Palermo in the middle of June and I do one EVS project in Palermo for the association InformaGiovani.
This project it is called “Building bridges of culture” and is about the culture of Palermo and how this helps the people with different background and different origin to communicate and to create relationships.
I also helped in many kind of activities organized by InformaGiovani, for example youth exchange and workcamps. During the workcamps I was a helper of the coordinator.
One workcamp had taken place at Isola delle Femmine a small town a few minutes from the Palermo. Our role was too clean the island from the garbages and to plating plants on this island and in this way to keep it alive and to help to survive the migratory birds that use it. In the second one our role was to help the teachers of a school to make some repairs and painting on the building and school gear (chairs, desk, blackboards...). I enjoy all of these activities, I learnt many things, I visited in this way some nice places and I met new friends from many different countries. And also I really like the manual work.
Something that wasn't easy to manage was the difficulties to communicate and to create one common way to understand each other but somehow in the end everything was possible with a good will from all of us.
Also I am teaching guitar for kids and adults at Centro Tau. Teaching guitar is something I know well since playing guitar is one of my passion, and I really like the idea to give to someone the opportunity to learn guitar.
In reality this experience so far it's not only one opportunity to improve my English and to learn another language, Italian in this case.
It's one opportunity to socialize if this means to meet new persons, some of them new friend, but the most important thing to start to understand more about one new culture. How this new society works. What kind of traditions that people have. The history of the place. And many other things.
With this EVS project I have also the chance for myself to organize what I want to do in the future. For example I have the time and the space to practise classical guitar and to search for my master degree in classical guitar. Otherwise perhaps my options would have been less.
Ciao a tutti !
I’m Lucie I’m 25 years old and i live in Normandy (France).
I finished my studies in International Management (and Marketing) 3 years ago but
I quickly realized that I was a graduated girl among many others and that the only thing to make the difference will be to develop “my personality”.
Also, I realized that Marketing might not be my sector and that I might be destined to do something else/to be someone else...that’s why i began to looking for a volunteering experience abroad…
First, I started looking for a volunteering in line with my expectations: to integrate an alternative structure that acts to change our future society…
Then I saw the offer from InformaGiovani about Waldorf school. I was really curious to know this kind of pedagogy and to see what is going on inside!
Finally I ended up discovering this world: no prioritization between masters and childrens (a bit sometimes, it’s necessary!), the special talents and abilities of children are put forward, the rhythm of the child is taken into account for a better learning, they study basic subjects (mathematics, literature, languages, history, geography, geometry...AND others like botany, euritmie or manual workshops (knitting, sewing, carpentry...) that will make children more open minded.
Also, I’ve never been in Sicily before this experience and I thought it was really interesting to know another kind of missions, a new culture and language…
I live in Palermo since 5 months now. The city is really nice, full of historic places, churches, artistic exhibitions, natural spaces (like Monte Pellegrino, Mondello...)...
I took Italian courses at the University who helped me to have basis to communicate, but I still have to do some efforts to speak a fluent Italian…
Indeed, I think this point is necessary because I work most of my time with a disabled girl...so I often have to create activities (games, painting, sculpture with wax, gardening projects…) and sometimes show authority.
The other part of my time, I help with cooking and I take care of other children (in the playground, during sports classes...).
In addition, with the other volunteers (Clara, Naima and Jona), we participated to specific events outside and at school: There was “Festa d'Autunno” in November where we did a giant picnic and hiked in the forest, and the “Bazar di Natale” in December, a kind of Christmas market.
In my opinion, this kind of event are essential because they strengthen the links between volunteers, teachers, parents and children…
I started a small gardening project at school with children. The goal was to involve the school children and raise awareness about nature and global warming.
So, I decided to invest a small space of concrete to try to plant some flowers, aromatics and vegetables. I also put a shelf to highlighted the plants from school.
For now, it is a project which works day by day: We remove the dead leaves, we do some cuttings and as the school has a composter, we try to compost the organic wastes to have a beautiful earth and plant again!
I saw some children who were immediately interested about the new garden. Maestro Gian Luca as well takes care of the school garden, so i think it’s a good example for the children to see that and that’s why i wanted to propose this project.
When I arrived in Palermo I really got the cultural shock of which everyone was speaking about when I prepared in Germany for my volunteering project abroad at Scuola Waldorf. I was thrown into a city where you always have to make sure to not be knocked over by a gesticulating and impatient car driver and where all people are more full of temperament and more expressive than in the northern side of Europe.
But I think this is the experience of every volunteer when you come in a city you never knew before and you will get used to it so fast, don’t worry!
My first impressions of Palermo were the huge beautiful mountains all around the city which create together with the really blue sea a very nice atmosphere.
What I find very interesting about the city and what I liked from the first minute I came here is its mix of so many cultures like the Greeks, the Normans, the Moors, the Romans and a lot more who all gave their influence to the city which is represented by all the buildings like palasts, churches and theaters (etc.).
In Palermo you can meet people from all over the world especially a lot of young students or volunteers and there are a lot of cultural or artistic festivals (especially in 2018 because Palermo was the culture capitol of Italy) like the Morgana Festival which is a festival for string puppets and where I watched the tragedie of Macbeth, it was brilliant. Besides that you can discover a lot of very nice street art in every small corner.
My project is in the Libera Scuola Waldorf (a school for children from class 1 to class 8) where I work together with a mentally challenged child and help out during the daily routins in the kitchen.
One really nice experience was to play the piano for a nativity play which was presented by the parents for the whole school. Together we practised with the music teacher and it was so much fun and interesting to make music and play together with the parents who were really enganged and acted with all their italian passion.
Sometimes the school has also some excursions combined with festivals like the day where we celebrated the beginning of the autumn. That day we went to a natural reserve in the higher mountains and had a picknick on a huge greenfield in the forest. After that I went hiking on top of one of the mountains around with my volunteer friends from where we had an amazing view.
So, in general I would really recommend to do a year like this to get a lot of new experiences and to get out of your comfort zone!
Naima Scheffer, Palermo
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L'attività di InformaGiovani è supportata dal Comune di Palermo, che ha concesso l'utilizzo di un bene confiscato alla mafia per il progetto di sportello