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20 Settembre 2017

Hello Everybody, it is me Meryem. This time I would like to talk about my experience with Voluntary Workcamps. As you know I am working in InformaGiovani’s office and during the summer time one of our task is to be camp coordinator for the workcamps in Sicily. Until now I have attended 3 workcamps. Their names were Geraci Siculo, Isola Delle Femmine and Porto di Terra. All these camps were specific by their own way. There were different types of volunteers, dynamics, works and everything teach me something new for sure.

Before start to tell my experience about workcamps I would like to explain what is being workcamp coordinator. Coordinator of the workcamps are the people who are responsible for connection between camp hosts (municipalities, associations etc.) and the volunteers of the camp. Coordinators also responsible for inform their organization about any changes and emergencies. As Italian you can be the coordinator of InformaGiovani’s workcamps during the summer and improve your English more. If you are interested for next year’s summer, you can send an e-mail to to get more details.

Geraci Siculo Workcamp- Gardening Work

In Geraci Siculo workcamp we were 6 young volunteers including me. By chance on this camp age were between 17-24 so basically everybody were getting along each other very well. Their countries were France, Germany, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey. In this workcamp we were staying in gym of a school in Geraci Siculo. Geraci Siculo is one of the village which is located in Madonie Regional Natural Park (Parco Naturale Regionale delle Madonie) protected area. Geraci is very historical place with beautiful buildings. It is a very typical Sicilian village which is on top of a beautiful mountain. I was coordinator of this camp and with my volunteers we were responsible for garden of the school that we are staying and painting the fences of the main road of Geraci Siculo. We stayed in there 2 weeks. It was so good experience to meet with locals and join them with a festival which had happened while we were in there.

While painting the fences of main road of Geraci Siculo.

My second camp was in one of the natural reserve area in Palermo. The place we were called “Isola Delle Femmine” but we were working not on the area but island itself. This camp was so cool when you hear it because no human can step on island except the association (LIPU-Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli) who is responsible from the island. So as lucky volunteers we were able to go to island with a boat every day.

Entrance of Isola Delle Femmine Island

In this project we were 5 volunteers including me. There were volunteers from Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy and Turkey. Every day we were going to island from LIPU’s office between 9:00 until 12:00. Our tasks were cleaning the Island from garbage which carried by the sea during the year. It was unbelievable to see how many trash we collect around the island. Most of them were plastics and mostly plastic bottles. One more time we saw that as intelligent creatures on earth we are the most dangerous ones for the earth. At the end of the camp we collect around 20 big garbage package of trash and 16 of them just were plastics. During our voluntary work LIPU invited some local newspapers to Island to raise awareness about the environmental problem of Isola Delle Femmine. Even I had an interview one of the news. If you would like to see me with my amazing! Italian you can click in here 😀 You will see my name as something like Meriam. It is me.

While separating the trash that we collect according to their type

My last camp Porto di Terra workcamp was in again Madonie Regional Natural Park area and it was close to one the village called Polizzi Generosa. This workcamp for me very special with all different aspects. First of all we were 7 young volunteers including me. They were from France, Germany,Italy, Japan, Portugal and Turkey. In this camp 2 of the volunteers were my friends; Marie and Victor (you may know them from their previous posts on the blog). Being with them on this amazing workcamp made me so happy I have to say. Except this fact the area of the Porto di Terra and everybody who are living in there to create eco-friendly life for themselves and for others were amazing as well. I won’t explain you what is Porto di Terra but if you are interested with it you can take a look of their webpage. (It is in Italian) 🙂

During the breaks there were always music by some musician friends in Porto di Terra

In this workcamp we were in there special event time for Porto di Terra called “Mutuo Aiuto” a monthly gathering of Sicilian farmers (but also friends, musicians, artisans). So that is why except the team of Porto di Terra and us, there were some people were coming and going for a few days to help to make area more livelihood for everybody. In this camp we were sleeping on the tents inside of the area with mattresses. It was very fun actually. As work we had different tasks like cutting the woods, working on kitchen to cook or clean, opening new roads or clean the woods, river and so many.I have to say this was my hardest workcamp so far but I also enjoyed most. Every night after sun dinner we were gathering around fire and making music. For sure I will never forget that one too.

Victor, Marie and me while working for some wood work and cleaning the river from some plants

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed too because I have enjoyed a lot while writing all of these 🙂
See you in my last blog post before I leave the Palermo.