Mi chiamo Stefano ho 23 anni e sono giunto ad Othona dalla Romagna solatia…. che dire!
L’impatto, soprattutto per il discorso climatico ma anche per la location isolata, non è stato dei migliori ma, subito dai giorni successivi ho capito che avrei vissuto un’esperienza talmente coinvolgente che mi avrebbe cambiato la vita.
FREEDOM. È la prima parola che mi salta in mente se devo parlare del mio anno inglese; libertà intesa come alto senso di appartenenza sia con le altre persone che rispetto al territorio circostante: la brughiera selvatica e allo stato brado, il litorale spesso acquitrinoso, il mare pur sempre limaccioso ti entrano nell'anima ed impari ad amarli ed apprezzarli nelle lunghe passeggiate, spesso solitarie, svolte nel tempo libero. Tim, Debbie e Richard i pilastri di Othona mi hanno accolto con affetto e calore tutt'altro che British, mi hanno permesso di vivere un’intesa esperienza che mi ha quotidianamente messo alla prova scoprendo una nuova persona dentro di me.
FAMILY. Il concetto è praticamente spiegato sopra ma è impossibile descrivere con poche parole il rispetto e il calore che ti trasmettono le persone che vivono in comunità e credetemi non esiste parola più azzeccata per descrivere Othona.
Il consiglio personale che posso dare ad ogni ragazzo che non ha ancora ben chiaro cosa fare nell'immediato è quello di prendere al volo la preziosa opportunità che viene offerta agli aderenti dell’European Solidarity Corps.
Vi mettere in gioco, ritroverete voi stessi e qualora ne abbiate bisogno diventerete perfettamente autonomi e cosa importantissima imparerete l’inglese punto di forza di ogni curriculum vitae.
Cosa aspettate????? Othona Bradwell Community vi aspetta!
Quando lo scorso maggio ho scoperto di essere stata selezionata per un’esperienza di volontariato europeo a sfondo ambientale in Islanda non potevo crederci: mentre il mondo si trovava immobilizzato dalla pandemia, a me veniva offerta la possibilità di realizzare un sogno.
L'Islanda è una terra incantevole ed è stata nella lista dei paesi che ho sognato di visitare per anni, uno di quei luoghi che ti attraggono e ti fanno sentire a casa senza sapere perché. Beh, nel caso dell'Islanda si può immaginare perché sia una destinazione da sogno: ghiacciai che terminano in spiagge immacolate, montagne gigantesche che nascondono villaggi immersi in fiordi, paesaggi drammatici, scogliere ripide e aspre, vulcani maestosi, canyon magnifici e massicci, cascate incredibili e molto altro.
Fin da piccola, ho sempre amato trascorrere del tempo immersa nella natura, godendomi lunghe passeggiate ed escursioni.
La mia aspirazione nella vita è riuscire a dare il mio contributo per proteggere l'ambiente, porre rimedio all'inquinamento e ai danni ambientali e aiutare le persone attraverso la comunicazione e l'educazione ad essere più consapevoli del loro comportamento, prediligendo uno stile di vita sostenibile. Credo che questa sia stata la ragione che mi ha spinta a diventare volontaria candidandomi attraverso il corpo europeo di solidarietà con SEEDS Iceland.
Le principali attività di SEEDS sono legate alla promozione della protezione e della consapevolezza ambientale, alla comprensione interculturale e alla pace attraverso l’impegno in progetti sociali, culturali e ambientali.
Sono arrivata nella Terra del ghiaccio e del fuoco il 3 luglio 2020, quando tramonto ed alba si fondevano nell'assenza totale di buio, mentre il mio progetto è terminato il 21 dicembre 2020, il giorno più breve dell’anno con sole 4 ore di luce. A causa della pandemia, non riuscendo a trovare soluzioni plausibili che mi garantissero il rientro in Italia, ho continuato a svolgere le attività di volontariato sino al 17 gennaio 2021.
Il mio ruolo durante gli scorsi mesi è stato quello di coordinare campi di lavoro dove gruppi di volontari provenienti da tutto il mondo viveva e lavorava insieme, generalmente di durata compresa tra 10 e 15 giorni.
Durante l'estate ho avuto la possibilità di condurre dei progetti con alcuni “host” locali. I campi all'aperto includevano attività di tipo manuale preposte alla conservazione della natura, protezione ambientale, attività di ristrutturazione e restauro per le comunità locali e perlopiù avevano luogo fuori da Reykjavik (quindi sono state anche un modo per esplorare e visitare luoghi meravigliosi: la migliore ricompensa dopo tanta fatica!). Non dimenticherò mai le giornate trascorse negli altopiani islandesi tra due ghiacciai, una delle zone più remote dell'Islanda con paesaggi ultraterreni e montagne pittoresche, o l'esperienza unica di calare nella camera magmatica di un vulcano dormiente, durante il mio primo campo di lavoro.
Da ottobre, a causa del freddo, i campi si sono svolti a Reykjavik. Anche durante il buio inverno ci sono tante alternative per intrattenersi e divertirsi, e il mio compito principale è stato quello di sviluppare workshop, discussioni, giochi, presentazioni ecc... La capitale è ancora più magica coperta dal candido manto di neve, illuminata da innumerevoli luci natalizie e dall'aurora boreale, che danza nel cielo!
Per quanto abbia vissuto questa bellissima ed entusiasmante esperienza in un periodo critico contraddistinto da sfide e imprevisti dovuti alla diffusione del COVID-19, dalle difficoltà sono sempre sorte nuove stimolanti occasioni. Un esempio è l’aver coordinato dei campi virtuali che mi hanno dato l’opportunità di conoscere persone da tutto il mondo, continuando a sensibilizzare sulle problematiche ambientali attraverso un continuo e ricco scambio di idee e cercando soluzioni atte a pensare nuovi modelli di sviluppo e stili di vita sostenibili.
Nel tempo libero ho avuto modo di approfondire la cultura, la storia e le tradizioni del posto, ho girato in lungo e in largo questa meravigliosa isola e compreso ancor di più che quando si vive a stretto contatto con la natura islandese, così ribelle e spettacolare, è immediato l’averne rispetto e cura così come trarne ispirazione per riflettere e migliorarsi. Infatti, durante l’autunno, ho trascorso un mese in un’adorabile casetta nel bel mezzo dei giardini botanici di Reykjavik, che è stato di profonda ispirazione per riprendere in mano passioni come la pittura e la scrittura a cui non mi dedicavo da anni e scoprire l’amore per la fotografia.
Essere coinvolta in vari progetti solidali e ambientali, collaborando con organizzazioni di volontariato come Icelandic Red Cross, Icelandic Forestry Association, Iceland Family Aid, The Blue Army of Iceland, Sea Shepherd Iceland, mi ha inoltre aiutata ad acquisire nuove competenze e ad arricchirmi in senso umano: specie durante il periodo natalizio, l’aver donato un sorriso e l’aver contributo attraverso iniziative di beneficienza a rendere più piacevoli le feste per persone in difficoltà, mi hanno restituito una felicità autentica che ricorderò come il miglior regalo.
Senza ombra di dubbio, la parte migliore di questo magnifico progetto è la possibilità di essermi resa utile per un obiettivo comune in grado di migliorare la vita delle persone e le condizioni ambientali, all'insegna della condivisione. Credo che la volontà di cooperare tra gli individui sia alla base dell'umanità: il corpo europeo di solidarietà mira a promuovere la solidarietà nella società europea, riunendo i giovani per costruire una società più inclusiva.
Ad accompagnarmi in questa incredibile avventura è stato un gruppo di fantastici volontari provenienti da tutto il mondo, con i quali ho vissuto momenti indimenticabili e condiviso la maggior parte del tempo tra risate, divertimento e spensieratezza, ma non solo. Ognuno di loro è riuscito ad ispirarmi, a contribuire ad un cambiamento necessario, ma temuto, rivelatosi del tutto positivo: qualcosa che resterà con me per sempre e che mi ha insegnato quanto siano importanti la volontà e il coraggio di inseguire i propri sogni e il credere in sé stessi, anche quando sembra che il mondo vada a rotoli in preda ad una pandemia.
Alla fine, posso affermare che il vero viaggio è stato quello nella vita delle persone: conoscere nuove personalità, rispettare le idee e le scelte altrui, ritrovarsi nelle esperienze di vita dell’altro, riconoscersi nel diverso e accogliere culture, lingue, abitudini, credenze come fossero proprie, ne è l’essenza.
Se dovessi riassumere questa esperienza in una frase, sceglierei questa citazione: "Come corpo tutti sono singoli, come anima mai".
Ciao a tutti.
I am Lidia from Georgia, 24 years old. I was an Erasmus+ volunteer in Italy, in Palermo, in the organisation called "InformaGiovani" and it lasted 1 year.
I am a filmmaker. My passion is to write scripts for movies, to direct, to edit videos and as a hobby I’ve got a photography.
The main reason why I decided to volunteering in "InformaGiovani" is that I could have the opportunity to follow my passion. What was I doing as a volunteer? – I was editing videos, taking pictures, supporting in adminstrative tasks, and also made researchments about different topics. What concretely I’ve learned is writing project draft, basic information about needed documents for organisation while having some activities or trainings. As I did video editing more than before I gained better skills in that.
For example, I made a promotional video for 9th of November (antifascism day) where I wrote a project, shoot the video and edited. It was challenging for me as I worked on it with my colleague. Generally I prefer to work alone and I’ve never done such task with someone else. But we did it. I could cooperate with her. I’ve learned that the way of communication is the key of cooperation. And also I mastered project-writing skills.
I was editing a video for workcamps as well. We were in Prizzi in order to check the location. I took photos and videos so I was working on them.
I’ve created videos about "ESC and my experience" to inform youngsters about opportunity offered by European Solidarity Corps and short video making tutorial. By creating them I gained more information, learned working on new editing program, how to put subtitle in youtube.
I also have to mention archieving documents, putting them in order. For someone it can be boring but for me it was interesting. When I was a child my dream was to work with documents, so it’s like my dream came true :D
ITALIAN PASTA – well-known in all over the world. Of course, we also eat Macaroni in Georgia but I didn’t know that it doesn’t go with maionese. Before I couldn’t imagine pasta without this souce but now I became like Italians and forbade my parents to use maionese in pasta. :p
I had spare time to discover more and more new things, to do something what I like. So I worked on my short length movies with friends I’ve gained here, in Palermo, took some nice pictures, hiked, travelled. I visited some other cities of Italy. For me unforgettable was Etna.
I can’t continue writing without mentioning my exhibition. I’ve started to show my photos in public, for the first time in my life and it was big step for me. But then Mr.‘’Corona Virus’’ came and destroyed my ‘’exhibitions’’.
My cultural shock was little school boys with earings. I’ve never met young boys with such style but I like it =)) People are so nice and friendly here, in Palermo. They are always ready to help you even if most of them don’t speak in English.
There is always a question ‘’why to do volunteering’’ – But trust me, it’s hard to express by words, you should live it in order to understand it. Volunteering in European Solidarty Corps gives lots of opportuneties.
Ciao a tutti :)
I’m Tolunay from Turkey and I’m writing this article from Palermo/Italia.
I didn’t have any overseas experience before I came here so it was the first time abroad for me. I didn’t know what kind of people I’m going to meet or what kind of food I’m going to eat. Then I arrived in Catania and then took the bus (actually I’m late to take the bus but the bus also late, this is Sicilia) to Palermo. Our organizer Massimilano took me from the bus station because my sim card didn’t work and I called him from someone’s phone. He took me a place that I can eat something and meet some of my flatmates. When I arrive there all my worries are flown like a bird because I’ve eaten the best pasta of my life (almost 20 years)...
I can still remember the taste of paradise :) Maybe it was just a portion of pasta but in my country, there is nothing about pasta culture so the pasta was delicious. And then I’ve met 2 of my flatmates, Lidia and Leticia, they were also really nice (of course not more than the pasta). They helped me to take my luggage to the EVS house, showed me the best places in the city and house stuff.
I’ve chosen Palermo because... first of all this is Italy and Palermo is in Sicilia. Sicilia is the biggest island of the Mediterranean sea, the weather is always perfect (imagine, we were going to parks for sunbathing in December). You can find anything you need, maybe also the things that you can’t find in the North part (for example warm people like the weather). Someone can tell you that ‘there is mafia don’t go there’, just don’t listen to them and don’t worry about this.
The place where I work is an association which is in a disadvantaged district of Palermo. They work for children who have fewer opportunities and life difficulties. What I’m doing there is designs (logo, poster…) for their Erasmus+ projects and joining the workshops as a facilitator. Children are very cute and adorable, they can’t even speak Italian - some of them speak dialect -, also I’m not able to speak in Italian still but they always find a way to communicate with you. About workshops, there are rooms for sport, music, dance, computer, art… and I and other local volunteers help them about homework and join workshops to help children and teachers. If you don’t speak Italian you will have some headaches for a few weeks as I had…
If you’re a volunteer you will have free time and vacations. You can improve your skills, you can travel or you can do both.
During my stay in Italy I visited almost all the dream places I wanted to see in Italy before Coronavirus. I was really lucky that I finished my trip and turned back to Palermo 1 week before the quarantine.
I also improved my English (before volunteering I was A2 level) and Italian a bit. I feel more comfortable using Adobe and other design programs, and I have beautiful friendships here. I’m already thinking that how I’m gonna leave this city and my friends.
This volunteering is the biggest experience in my life for now, if you are already European citizen, maybe volunteering abroad will not sound interesting to you, but as a Turkish citizen, I needed one hundred pages of documents and spent almost 1 month to take a visa for long term so it’s hard to find a way to go to Europe and take advantage of opportunities.
I think everyone should do volunteering once before die, also volunteering is good break if you're bored with your university exams.
Thanks for reading.
My name is Maria Pavlova. I am from Russia and I am a volunteer in Palermo with program “Erasmus+”, and I want to say that this project for me is a waking dream.
A very long time ago I carried a secret dream about travelling, about the volunteer work. But the concept was so vague for me. Every moment when I were free from studies and I started looking for some volunteer project, I couldn’t understand anything on foreign websites and couldn’t imagine how to cover the whole scale of the work. So the dream was distant and unrealistic, until one day.
Once in a social network I found an announcement about a meeting dedicated to volunteer projects abroad. There I met the guys who already participated in the projects and told in detail how they got there, what they did and what they saw.
Everything seemed so clear and simple - just do it. So I had only one question - “why don't everybody participate in such projects?” - everything pays, you live in another country, etc. So I finally decided to try, because I was already 29 years old, and you can participate in “Erasmus+” projects only up to 30 years old. It was my last chance.
After browsing the site, I chose for myself the projects that interest me, wrote my CV and wrote motivational letters. For each project, I wrote a certain motivation letter, which outlined all my skills, projects, experience and unlimited desire. In total, I wrote about 10 letters. It was impossible to leave an application on the site at that time, since Russia was not in the list of countries, so I wrote directly to the organisation, by mail.
I got an answer about three months later, only from Italy, from the mysterious city of Palermo, in Sicily. At that time, I had already forgotten what I wrote to and where, so getting an email from a school in Sicily was not only surprising, but incredible.
After the letter, we agreed on a skype interview. At the same time, I already contacted the organisation that is involved in the preparation of volunteer documents - the sending organisation. They inform what documents need to be done, contact the host country, reassure you if you lose your nerve when you apply for a visa, etc.
I looked through all the materials on the Internet, where the volunteers talk about how they had a Skype interview with them, I got ready for mine. I was surprised, but everything was very comfortable. I spoke in English with the teachers of the school where I had to work.
I was a little worried about the language and not in vain. You need to know English well. If you speak English well, everything will be easier - in communication, preparation of documents, etc. I did not know Italian well. I could only read a little and say a few phrases. I studied Duolingo (foreign language study program). When I first arrived, sometimes I had stress about misunderstanding. At the school where I work, only about three people can speak English. Children speak only Italian and teachers too. So at first it was difficult. My program included Italian language courses at the university, after a couple of months I was able to understand Italian and speak.
So, what am I doing.
I am a volunteer at a school in Sicily. This school has a Waldorf education system. This type of education is from Germany and there are such schools everywhere and in Russia as well. Features of this education: the emphasis is on art, mobile phones during classes are prohibited (both for children and teachers).
My main task is that I help a girl with special needs - she has down syndrome. She studies with ordinary children. I help her in the lessons, play with her in breaks and so on. Also, for two hours every morning I help in the kitchen - I make coffee, salad, cut bread. And then I go to the class.
Since the school is creative and I am a versatile person, that is, the opportunity to participate in school activities - at Christmas, the feast of St. Martin, the Christmas market, summer school activities. We sang at a Christmas concert with a music teacher, during the fair I painted portraits of children. So a lot depends on you - if you don’t want to be limited only by your immediate duties, you can ask to organise a lesson in additional education or to do some work, which, of course, will be an invaluable experience.
At the end of summer activities, when there were no children in the school, I was preparing the school for the new school year. I tended the garden, washed the classrooms, and painted themed pictures on the walls. One of the features of the Waldorf school is the thematic design of the class. It all depends on the future topic. For example, I painted a 7th grade wall on the topic of geometry and astronomy. In the fifth grade, the year will be devoted to the legends of the North and the world of the Vikings and their mythology. On the wall, the maestra and I depicted a mythical tree with eight worlds. So I tried another profession during my volunteer experience.
For myself, I understood that volunteering is probably a profession of the future. This system: "work is not for money, but for the idea" has opened for me a new world, new opportunities.
Volunteering is a knowledge of the world and of yourself in this world. This is an opportunity to live a completely different life, in a different country with other people. To discover the qualities that you did not even suspect about, to develop communication skills, responsibility and fall in love with this beautiful world.
Where and how I live.
In school, besides me, there are two more girls volunteers. Vanessa came from Germany, Clemence came from France. I live with Clemence. We share a room in an apartment, and we share an apartment with the family of one of the school’s teachers. This is not very unusual for me, because I have always lived with someone. I try to avoid domestic conflicts, and it’s not difficult for me to wash the dishes and the floor. But, of course, we are all human beings, so it’s not easy to come and live with a big Italian family. Everywhere you need time - to look at each other, to understand how comfortable it is for them, to join the team. Our family is big - four children - two teenagers and two kids and parents. But there is enough space and, to my happiness, there are no conflicts. Sometimes we arrange dinner together, prepare traditional food. I cooked borscht and looked for sour cream everywhere, Clemence baked crêpes, Emanuela (the hostess) prepared pasta and we had fun talking or playing games.
Mostly, I spent all my free time walking around this magical city: gardens, parks, museums ... And of course, discovering the amazing nature - mountains and the sea. But also after a hard working week, I sometimes succumbed to nationwide classical Italian relaxation and spent the day in a nice cozy cafe, enjoying tart hot coffee and listening to the incessant conversations of local residents.
I really fell in love with this phrase "Dolce far niente", which teaches us to relax and slow down in a constant cycle of life's problems.
About the opportunity to travel during the project.
Since you have a visa and free time, you can travel. The distances between the countries are small; you can find very cheap tickets. Two hours and you are in Rome or in Milan. My program provides for such an event as a meeting with other volunteers from all over Italy. Our meeting was held in the suburbs of Rome, where we shared our impressions for a week, made joint projects and, of course, discovered wonderful Rome.
During the school Christmas holidays, I went to France with my neighbour. We became good friends and I lived at her house in Nantes for several days. Then I went alone to Paris and Lyon. There I lived on coaching. So I spent surprisingly not too much, and got enough impressions.
So, I want to say that everything in this life is possible. This project gives a lot - indescribable impressions, experience, acquaintances ... Laughter and tears. My little and big life - new and beautiful!
Who am I and why did I choose Palermo?
Hello, my name is Leticia and I am from Spain. Here there is some information about my experience volunteering in Palermo.
I was 26 years old when I arrived in Sicily in August 2019, within this opportunity I was looking for trying a different professional field than mine (I am a pre-primary teacher); to live in a foreign country, to learn the culture and language; to live with people from other countries and to find out who am I and who I want to be in the future.
When I was searching for a volunteering project, in my priorities list was to work with vector images and I found out this opportunity within IG in Palermo.
At that moment, I did some researches about the city and the population, like reading old volunteer’s articles and talk to them, and the answers were different depending on the person so I realised that I didn’t want to have any expectations and just let the city surprised me…
When I arrived, it caught my attention all the differences with my city and culture: the crazy traffic, the trash and cats on the streets, the Italian language, the food… little by little the new became normal and I adapted to this place, incorporating into myself the culture and language. I realised now that after these 11 months in Palermo, I end up loving the good things and understanding and respecting the rest.
What was I doing during my time in Palermo?
Working time: I was supporting Massimiliano and Monica at the office of InformaGiovani. In resume, my tasks were to create logos for projects and banners for events; to support preparing informational meetings with youngsters and to support the international projects like youth exchange, workcamp and training course. In this time was included my study time of the language courses, very helpful to learn Italian.
As the final project of my volunteering, I wanted to do something for Palermo’s society so I decided to do a workshop about sexuality. Searching for information about contraceptives, I realised how broad the topic was and that I had to focus on one point, so I came out with a new idea that became my final project: to create a board game about contraceptives and sexually transmitted infections named SAFERSEX.
In my opinion, the work during these last 11 months has been pleasant and smoothy. Furthermore, I can now work with agility on vector software and image edition, I consider that I am more able to do team working and I have improved my languages and communication skills in both Italian and English.
At the beginning was a priority to learn Italian, so I joined a theatre group and Wingchun lessons. It was very helpful to raise my confidence in speaking Italian and enjoy learning theatre and Wing-chun.
With friends I used to go to the beaches and natural reserves nearby: Monte Pellegrino, Cefalù, Capo Gallo, Mondello beach, Virgin Maria beach...
Also, the historical centre was a usual meeting point to take a walk, eat pizza, listening to the musicians playing on the street.
I discovered the best ice cream shop of all Palermo… I did a great investigation, the winner?
A famous ice cream shop of the centre… I love it.
Finally, I would like to outline that in a volunteering service not everything is great, sometimes it is not what you expected, as in my case, it has been a totally different experience from those that my friends told me they lived. Each volunteer service can be different.
However, I would like to say that I am happy about my experience because having in mind to be useful to the association but also to myself, I developed skills and abilities that I didn’t have before and now I feel more experienced and ready to the next adventure.
* Feel free to download the game SAFERSEX at the following link: https://safersex.wixsite.com/game
A little part of discovering...
Hi ! I'm a French girl leaving in Palermo for 10 months as an European volunteer. My name is Clémence. I'm 23 years old. I love to work on photography, to create, to travel and to handle time with friends. I came from Nantes, a dynamic and beautiful town in the west part of France, near to the end of the Loire river. I discovered that Palermo got this cultural and human dynamism as well, which make me feel better as home when I came here in September 2019.
I already did a volunteer service in my own country last year and needed time for my professional project. So it was the perfect time to get this experience in Italy. I choose this country because I wanted to learn Italian, most of all. I'm enjoying now to talk in this beautiful language. I'll improve more as well because I still need to learn more.
When I was looking for a mission, I saw this one in Palermo at Libera Scuola Waldorf.
It's an alternative school with a teachers and personal team really involve in the confidence of the student kids. The kids can come from ~3 years old till ~15 years. Their way to teach follow the Steiner philosophy. A way to teach without a class fuller than 10 or 12 school student, without note so with more time to explain and give knowledge to them and without any competition aspect. That was a really allure way to see the school. For my personal improvement, I knew it was the good project for my year. So I candidated and didn't leave it away until I got the opportunity to come here.
«Che faccio qua ? »
My mission is to support a 14 years old girl with special needs. She's a school student in Libera Scuola Waldorf 7th grad class. She can do a lot of things: painting, make jokes (a lot of jokes!), try again and again to improve her dance moves, for examples. But she's doing it slowly and sometimes with a big difficulty of movement. She speaks less than us. She began to speak at school last year. She needs to improve all these aspects. She also loves water. It's her matter because she's so in fluant materials to create and to live in the present moment. She's the kind who live with a lot of freedom in her personality and in same time too much of restrictions, her body as well.
So I'm helping her to live in school with hours to respect, activities to do and involvement in the school work to get. It's an handsome work because you really feel useful and you got a deep human relationship. If she's not allright today, I have to deal with it and find a double-energy for the school day. Energy for her to be more in her school day and energy for me to give her this source of zeal.
I have other tasks to do for the Libera Scuola Waldorf, like help one kitchen work, or take care of the space by cleaning stuff. It's happening when my girl is not at school for the day. Most of time, I'm only working on a day with my girl : from her arrival to the lunch time. I'm doing it from September of 2019 and finish it in the end of June 2020.
There are also some events in the school like the Day of «San Martino» where we went for a walk on mountains with only light in our home-made lantern, or the «Bazar» where the school create a market with responsable items, jewelry, soap, etc. for school, for parents, and who ever is coming ! We also did the «Carnevale» of course ! All the day, the whole school was celebrating and enjoying to be together. Such a good memory!
This experience show me more about how to handle a common rythm. When I’m with my girl, I must get her rythm for being with her and, in same time, find a way to get her in the rythm of school. So I take more time to talk, to make her understand how much time we have before the next class, etc. It needs a lot of patience and sometimes it’s hard, to be honest. But she needs it, so I’m getting motivation back. It can be usefull for later when I’ll work with team, as well.
In plus of this daily activities, I got the opportunity to create my own project in the school. It’s an activity we must do for and during the volontary time. Because of the exceptional pandemic situation, it was not sure how I will do it (by computer, in face-to-face, etc.), but I got all the time the insurance to do it. I planned to do an italian class about the right of the pictures (law) and the principe of the journalistic angle and the proximity law that use journalists to write articles. I got this knowledge during my studies and I did this class by animations activities that I knew how to do it thanks to my last year of volontary in France. At the end, I did this course for one class of the school. I choose the age of teenagers because it’s closer to their habits with phones, and to their growth time. They’re becoming more autonomous, but still need good informations to understand well. I’m glad to be able to try a new activity here.
Volonteering is not just the mission
Volonteering is not just a discover of your abilities in, most of the time, a relationship work. It's also a moving in a new city, a new culture, a new way of living. Learning a new language gave it to me a little headacke at the beginning of my journey. It passed out really quick because I'm lucky to have a mother language near to Italian.
It's an experiment as well about what's a language are. I discovered it's not just a way for communicate. It's also a way of act, with gesture, movements and way of expression. So I get a step to learn myself to another way to act.
The culture is so mind-attractive as well. I had to find my place in all of this. When I got it, I began to enjoy a lot to learn Italians’ way of living, cooking, etc. I saw how they used to take care about olives to make olives oil. Great stuff in Sicilian nature with such amazing people.
I took time (and money as well... haha) to discover a little more the country. I went to Milano, to Napoli by my own and I went to Rome with the «On-Arrival Training» organised by National Agency. All the time a great time to discover, to deal with another part of Italian culture. Even Italy is not the biggest country of world, there's so much to discover and so different way of living: the north and the south don't have the same road stuff, for example.
I knew already Sicilia because I went for a roadtrip with two friends in last June. It was such an amazing time also because it's such a beautiful region of Italy! I'm glad I didn't see just Palermo. It was, as well, an unexpecting opportunity to meet people from Libera Scuola Waldorf in first time and get one of my most human experience of my life.
I felt so useful, and I know a little more than before as well that it's so important to take a time for others.
Mi chiamo Efrem Mercer Miko, ho 24 anni e vengo da Maiorca, bellissima isola nel Mar Mediterraneo. Sono arrivato a Palermo il 15 marzo 2019 per un volontariato a lungo termine per l'associazione San Giovanni Apostolo. Da allora ho iniziato a scoprire Palermo, il loro stile di vita, cultura e lingua. Ero innamorato.
Ora ti spiegherò la mia esperienza di lavoro con i bambini palermitani.
Quando arrivi da qualche parte in cui non sei mai stato e non parli la loro lingua, all'inizio è sempre difficile affrontarla. Sei estraneo per i bambini e hanno bisogno di tempo per conoscerti e iniziare a giocare con te o parlare. Devi essere paziente, non correre mai per avere la soluzione in un secondo, dai solo tempo ai bambini.
Ma quando conosci la lingua e i bambini ti conoscono meglio, tutto è fantastico. Ho avuto un'esperienza straordinaria e meravigliosa lavorando con loro. Quando ti considerano parte della loro famiglia, è davvero bello.
Quello che stavo facendo nell'associazione è: prima i bambini arrivano dopo la scuola e poi iniziano a fare i compiti, poi fanno uno spuntino e iniziamo a organizzare alcune attività sportive e animazioni fino alla chiusura del centro. Questo è il programma in inverno.
In estate tutto è molto più divertente. Oltre alle attività sportive e all'animazione nel centro, andiamo in spiaggia, nel parco acquario, in piscina.
Nel prossimo video mostro tutta questa esperienza che ho avuto in breve.
We also used to organize our own public events, sometimes in collaboration with other Icelandic associations, such as clean-ups in various parts of the city and near the coast, documentary screenings and workshops about good practice to live a more sustainable life.
In every camp, we made also some excursions to show to our short term volunteers the wonders of Icelandic nature but also to make them touch with their hands the effects of the human activities on it, such as the glaciers that are melting because of the global warming and the plastic trash on the beaches.
During my 5 months in Iceland, I had a lot of camps all different because of the different people I met in each of them. Some groups were really active and positive, other were more calm and quiet but it was always really interesting to work and live with the people in the camps, where everyone comes from different countries and have totally different cultures. We always had fun and shared a lot about our lives, our countries and our typical foods during the long dinners.
The best about it was the variety and the understanding that meeting with different cultures bring in your life. But also feeling that my work was being useful and more people were learning about the importance of having a sustainable way of living, because our resources will not last forever and the planet is suffering the consequences of our actions.
However, during my time in Iceland I did not only led camps. Indeed I had also a lot of free time in between them. I really enjoyed this free time because I had the chance to go around on my own and with the other volunteers discovering people, places and the endless Icelandic landscapes.
Iceland is one of the wildest and more complex places in Europe. It is a land of continuous changes in time and in the space that inspired all type of travellers. The nature in Iceland is astonishing; between immense spaces, black beaches, geysers, glaciers, waterfalls, hot rivers, mountains, volcanoes with unrepeatable names and mystical northern lights it makes you feel like on another planet and you just want to discover his inscrutable soul.
This whole experience was very open minding. It was a great way to meet people, build connections, hear different stories, gain a new perspective and learn to appreciate things I used to take for granted. I got in return a lot more than the time and energy I invested in this volunteering experience. It was a fun new way to discover a beautiful little piece of world that made me a more active and involved person.
Hello, my name is Marita and in this blog post I will share my thoughts and emotions about greatest experience in this summer!
Everything started in the end of June, I send my application – motivation letter to my sending organization in Latvia (Radi Vidi Pats), they answered my email after some days saying that I should have interview with my hosting organization. At that time I was super busy, but I manage time for interview and I was not ready for it at all! At first I thought that it will be very long process for hosting organization to choose the right volunteer, but in the end of interview I ask question "am I already accepted in this project?" and they said, if I am alright with this project regulations, then YES! Wow, at that time I could not believe that...
After little bit more then one month I was already in the plane for direct flight to Catania, Sicily! And then, went out of plane, get my luggage, found bus stop to go to Palermo….but wait even in airport Sicily took my breath away – my favorite plants cactuses were growing almost everywhere and some great view to very big mountain, what I later figured out was part of real volcano!
I still had time before bus arrive, so I went for walk to check around, I found cool café and I went in there and took the best street food that I have tasted ever – “aranchino” (from that moment I start to get addicted from aranchinos :D ).
From Catania to Palermo (nearest city where was my volunteering house) it was 3,5 h drive by bus, at first I directly fall asleep, but in the moment I wake up I thought that I am still sleeping! Breath taking away beautiful mountain views get my attention so much that I just could not go to sleep anymore! :)
When I arrived our group leader, Ibra took me from bus stop to big volunteering home. There I meet for the first time 2 other volunteers with who we worked together for all month. At that moment when I arrived they were making pasta and it was really nice to start know each other, honestly at first moment Paulina (volunteer from Lithuania) and Zaher (volunteer from Syria) looked adult and serious for me, but after some while "ice was broken" between us!
Latter we meet other volunteers Lucas (volunteer from Spain) and Romein (volunteer from France)! We start to have conversations very quickly and actually we all spoke in very similar level of English, communication in this volunteering camp was super easy and understandable.
WHAT WAS OUR WORK?
Our every working day (monday - friday) started at 9 o'clock. At that time we needed to deliver water bottles (what we fill with water in before day evening) and plants to port, where we insert them in organization boat.
Imagine everyday we went to work by boat! Wow...
When we arrived to island sometimes I got really quick swim with all clothes to have more refreshing working! Then we manually went to water plants and plant some new ones almost every day. Usually it was not very hard job, because we were doing it all together, but sometimes weather was too hot to be very active.
One thing that suppressed me was plastic trash on island (it was so a lot not from people who comes here and throw something, but because of wind and big waves, so at second working day I started to wear working shorts with the biggest pockets, so I could collect as many as possible garbage.
To work and back we were usually going by one boat, but for two times, I did not want to hurry up, so almost every day I leave island with second boat, in that time when we were waiting for the next boat we were exploring waters with other volunteers, started to call sea creatures as our sons or daughters! Also me and Paulina were collecting seashells and stones, after few days we had them so much so we started to make bracelets from them.
We had pretty lot of free days in first workcamp, because of bad weather, so we took most of it – went to nearest reserve “Capo Gallo” where we excellent spend time and get to know each other better, we also took small trip around Isola delle Femmine. At first two weeks we really enjoyed time near to beach, often after work we went swimming together, took ice cream and played game that we will always connect with these memories - UNO (it was interesting how we complicated rules every time when someone start to get bored!).
In first workcamp (first 2 August weeks) we did such a great team job, we cooked foods by groups and separate other household jobs at second workcamp it didn’t went so good. I think one of the main reasons for it was that we did not had so good communication between us, but you know there is not good or bad workcamp, both of them had good side and bad side.
For example in first workcamp we really had timetable for cooking, but in second workcamp we were more flexible to job separation and in that time when you have already live together with 6 different people in one flat it is just understandable to have time alone. I am really grateful for this, because in these weeks I had one of the best hike in my life, where I really start to feel world power!
Speaking about myself, emotions, what I did in free time, I can surely say that I was not bored at any time, and how can you be if every where you go you see something new?
As I write I had this super cool craft hobby for all this time when we worked in island and when I had the chance to collect beautiful rocks and shelves. Also this hobby remained me about my home, because at home I am doing similar crafts! One day at Palermo city I even found shop for crafts and from that moment I started to get really in to this crafts! At end of volunteering I gifted handmade bracelets to all my friends these were my souvenirs!
The hobby that took my breath away in Palermo was roller skating! At the moment I got to know that it is possible to take big luggage with me, there was no questions to take roller skates or not! Before I packed my luggage I get to know is there some skateparks or some roller skating team, so at the time when I arrived I already know that I will have some great events where to meet roller skate friends! So I took place in two roller skate events – first one was on my second volunteering week, funny is that I explored Palermo city for the first time on roller skates! The second event was night ride to nearest beachside and back to city, in the end we went for about 26km! Number at this time when I am writing still looks very big, important is also that I started to exercise roller skating just 2 months ago, at first it was very challenging for me, but the great company and swim at beachside went so well!
But what about this one month, what did I understand about myself?
There was one evening when I had great talk with my group leader and actually at that conversation I figured out my life goals.
First – CREATE, be creative that is how I put in shelves my thoughts, clear my mind.
Second – TRY, big inner voice, who all the time is saying to try different things. And I will listen to this voice till I will be died, because this is the only way how I can find that I really like (also what I really do not like :D )
Third - ENJOY, be with me, be my friend and never ever let anybody throw away my dreams, sometimes just do not care about other voices, just sing with my soul voice!
Forth – THANK YOU, always remember to say these words, because it is just magic key to open another great door!
I think these kind of projects are perfect just because I met so a lot new people, who did not know me at all, I really get that feeling I can be myself...
101 THANK TO EVERYONE THAT MADE THIS MAGIC HAPPEN!
Meeting my mates again!
Recently I was one my Europe trip and guess what... I met both of my one month volunteering friends! I visited Paulina at Kaunas (Lithuania) and Zaher at Miskolc (Hungary).
We are good friends also after project although we are so different and I hope it will stay like that!
See you soon ;)
I nostri partner
Questo sito è realizzato con il supporto del Programma Erasmus+. Né la Commissione Europea né le sue Agenzie sono responsabili del contenuto, che rispecchia unicamente le opinioni degli autori. Responsabile Pietro Galluccio
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