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
"Real cultural diversity results from the interchange of ideas, products, and influences, not from the insular development of a single national style."
- Tyler Cowen
Our experience in Liepaja was a joyous trip with a sad end, because the moment in which we had to leave there, was when we wish we could stay more. The city is filled with very marvelous sight-seeing post and we couldn’t complete visiting all of them but our encounter with the locals also gave us a sense of belonging to this wonderful city. During this experience, we had all the individual support we needed in the project from both the internal and the external organizations.
We arrived in Liepaja on a Monday dawn, so on our first day we had to rest. On the second day, which was a Tuesday, we had a general meeting with other volunteers and the association members. We had a general briefing and training of our on-going project. In this day, we also met our mentors and they were very happy to be mentoring us. We had to work five days (i.e. from Tuesday to Saturday) and our free days were Sundays and Mondays.
Our project involved working in the youth house, bicycle self-services shop and animal shelter. On our first day, we started with the youth house (House of Hope) where we use to meet teenagers and age mates. For us, it wasn’t a new experience coming from the part of Europe we live, so it wasn’t so hard to cooperate with them. The only difficulty we could say we had was the language barrier (some of them understood English but had little speaking ability, whereas most of them spoke either in Russian or Latvian). It also helped us to learn a new language. In the youth house we helped in systemizing the place, playing games with the teenagers, helped in cooking and etc. We also learnt how to make creative arts such as rope bracelets, playing instruments and creating a Japanese night event. One of the best times we had in Liepaja was in the youth house and we are grateful to the authorities of this wonderful organization for their hospitality and their cooperation.
In the bicycle self-service shops, we had to repair bicycles and also we made some arts from some parts of unused bicycles. We also helped in organizing a bicycle marathon which was successful at the end. We had locals and also foreigners to join, we had a live broadcast of this marathon in effect inviting more people to join us. "A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke", Johan Museeuw, former pro rider, twice world champion. We also rode some freak bikes after our general cleaning in the old garage and office.
On our weekends, we had plans to travel to other places but we couldn’t because we were so tired to travel. We spent most of our times in Liepaja but in one of the best places you can be. We met more locals over there and had more knowledge about the people and the city Liepaja. Also we had the opportunity to educate people about our origins in Africa. As said by Thomas Paine "The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark".
With the help of our mentors as well, we were able to find ourselves through this project in terms of our strengths and weaknesses. We are very grateful for both Sending and Receiving Organization for this wonderful experience and opportunity.
"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear
for newer and richer experience."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Mahammed Kijera & Joseph Dennis Appiah
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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