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 ;)
THE LAST MONTH IN PALERMO
After 9 months, I finally felt more integrated at work. I improved my Italian (and of course my English), and then I could have personal conversations with my colleagues!
While the teachers finished their programs with children for the last month, I still took care of one disable child (12 years old) and I started to create strong links with her. We did some last projects together like creating a cover for her works, or doing some decoration (flowers with paper) for summer holidays.
At school, we did a last “festa” with lots of shows (like songs, dance or theatre) made by students from each class, for the beginning of the holidays, and at the same time, we also said goodbye to the 8th class which joined the high school. I felt a mix between happy and sad feelings for everyone. With Clara, the other volunteer we said goodbye to some children, and we just realised that it was, as well, the end of our adventure together...
It would have been a little bit frustrating to leave Palermo without proposing my own activities to children (I mean to a whole class), BUT HOPEFULLY there was the SUMMER CAMP which lasted 4 weeks! The topic of the summer camp were the 4 elements: Earth, Water, Air and Fire.
The objectives of the activities were to make children more interested to the 4 elements by an informal way and to have fun with them (because we are on holidays!)
For the first week, we did: vegetal painting, clay and games. During the second week, we created a wooden boat and an insects’ hostel.
These activities allowed all of us to create cohesion among children and between us! It was a nice experience!
It is recommended to prepare in advance the colour for painting, a day before it’s enough! I looked up a recipe found on internet at ‘Les petits radis’(https://lespetitsradis.fr/blog/faire-sa-peinture-vegetale-avec-les-enfants-n144). I went to Ballarò market (which is a local market) to buy some vegetables for preparing the colours: spinach for green, onions for yellow/orange, red cabbages for red/purple/pink.
Some days earlier, we began to experience the colours with Clara and Henriette at school. We used two techniques: colours by filtering with warm water or by smashing (we also used both in some cases). We used lemon juice to get a different colour: like Red Cabbage + lemon = pink.
I explained the process of making colours to children and we did it together. After we started to paint...each day a new painting: Day 1: the sea; Day 2: the mountains; Day 3: the wood; Day 4: the desert.
We used the vegetal paint 2 days and add classic paintings later because it was smelling bad with the temperature.
Results: children were really interested to see the colours and how to make it. They realised that they can do it by themselves by a natural way (and cheap one).
WORKING THE CLAY
The activity was organised with Maestra Lydia and Benedicta. Clara and me helped children to create animal and on the last day we told the legend of Colapesce and made a creature half human half fish to illustrate it.
We proposed to play some games during the break time. I brought cans to do a “chamboule-tout” game and proposed games like basketball with wool balls and baskets from the school.
THE WOODEN BOAT “la zattera”
For the second week, we decided, Maestro Eduardo, Clara and me, to build a boat with natural materials.
After collecting some wood, we cut wooden logs to make the boat and, after, the mast. Later, we cut and paint a piece of tissue of the sailing and helped children to make decorations for their own boats.
Results: Children were really happy. It was a good activity for the summer (they will try it at the beach!)
I collected cans and natural materials from villa Trabia (a public garden in Palermo)
The last 5th of December, in honour of the International Volunteer Day, we, Lidia and Leticia, ESC volunteers in InformaGiovani, had the pleasure to do a presentation about European Solidarity Corps and the opportunities which this offers to youngsters.
It took place in the Liceo Artistico Catalano in Palermo, several groups of adolescence attended the meetings. We had a puzzle game, a presentation about differences and similarities between volunteering and working... Students became very motivated, asking a lot of questions, they were interested in our experience, as well.
We informed young people about the volunteering opportunity of ESC which is a great chance for them to develop their skills in different areas in non-formal education.
Volunteering is an option to develop yourself as a person and to grow up in many ways.
If you are between 17- 30 years old and you would like to live an experience abroad, follow this link to join ESC and find further information about volunteering: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en
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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