EVS hello from Romania!
Recently our 2 Georgian youngsters (Ketevani Tsoragauli and Papuna Lomouri) implementing their 5 month EVS project in Craiova, Romania. Dear reader, they wrote the letter for you!
“Here we are, in Craiova and think, that we are members of the best project, which we are making with an amazing team! So, name of our project is Purple, which was created to increase the opportunities of intercultural development and international cooperation among communities in Craiova. For this we are working at schools, where have meeting with pupils about many interesting topics. Including intercultural education, bullying, LGBT community, European values etc. For us, discussing about these topics is very important, because you feel, that you can change something in the society and you have opportunity to work with these fantastic children!
But despite of working at school, we are making other interesting things also. For example, we made video interviews about the topics, which were mentioned above, made a very interesting brochures and photo collages, had events about international day for tolerance and celebrated international day for migrants, had intercultural event etc. Every day here is full of emotions and you are in the process of making something amazing. It is our third month here but we are sure, , that the future will be better! In general, our project period is five month.
But, you can not make anything if your group is not full of hard-working, friendly, lovely people and fortunately, out team is like this. We are volunteers from Georgia, Ukraine, Jordan, Russia and we are working together like one team. All is us have ambition to do our best and because of this working together is happiness for us. We are not only colleagues, who are working in the one place, we are the best friends now with so many sweet memories and experiences. These people became very important for us.
In general, EVS is not only team, with whom you are working. Here you meet too many projects and people, with whom you fell in love so much, can’t imagine life without them and it’s difficult think how life will be when you will go back in your country and not meet them every day.Here is a place, where you have opportunity to meet people from differences ethnic groups, with different religion, different culture and it is a very interesting, this experience really will change your life.
When you are volunteer you have opportunity to travel in other countries and of course in Romania. For us, the best experience is discovering other cities of Romania, how beautiful, historical, interesting they are. When you are traveling from one city to another you fell in love with this country and people, who are living here.
We think, that be volunteer is an amazing experience and we are lucky, because we are making this in Romania, in this small and green city with the best team! ” (http://evsrustavi.blogspot.ro/2018/01/evs-hello-from-romania.html?m=1)
A window to opportunities
There is a famous phrase by Loa Tzu “Even the journey of a thousand li begins with the first step” that came up in my mind when I just sent an application for EVS project in Romania. I did not really know what to expect, what exactly I should be ready for, what the outcomes will be. Nevertheless, I had a good feeling about letting this adventure happen. After two months of preparing all the documents, I said goodbyes to my family and left home the new chapter in my life.
The way to the project city included all kinds of transport -airplane, bus, car – but after almost a day of travelling I finally opened a door to my room and met my flat mates. It was so incredible to realize that one apartment can unite people from 5 different countries: Georgia, Ukraine, Jordan, Italy and Russia. I was amazed with the friendly atmosphere and welcoming beginning of my stay. Even though the living conditions turned out to be hard to get used to, I focused on beautiful people I live with and was looking forward to meet the rest of volunteers in Craiova.
Next day I attended the meeting with my project colleagues and got to know other EVS projects in our city I immediately felt comfortable with the guys and was happy to see that we were sort of on the same wave. For sure, there differences between us in many aspects – culture, mentality, views on life, but it only makes it interesting for me. Multicultural communication is the reason I decided to take part in EVS and that is why I feel like I am gaining so much experience from living and working with the volunteers.
During my first week our team led several classes with children where we talked about such topics as personal choice, cultural differences, and how we perceive others. We played some teambuilding games to make students feel comfortable. Our final activity for that period was creation of the costumes that represent the values we discussed about.
So far I believe this EVS can give me way more than from the first view. I see a lot of aspects that are needed to be improved but the main aim for me is to be in the present, contribute to the best of my abilities and to take the most out of Purple project. That is why every morning for me is another chance and I look to my window with excitement of the coming day.
Natasha and Kristina post for Sfera sending organization (https://m.vk.com/wall-1571828_32099)
When I look back on 3 months EVS-volunteering, my memory starts burning with the bright fire. How many things have happened during this time! It’s easy to refresh that excitement, when me and Alexandr Makovey were going by bus for the road “Odessa-Bucharest”, and I told that time: “Do you believe, that we will live in Romania for 5 months?” He laughed cunningly and answered: “Frankly saying? NO!” And afterwards meeting with our receiving organisation ANTER, settling in the apartments, acquaintance with the new people. On the pre-departure meeting our favourite coordinator Nika Bunzyak joked: “You should remember how many friends on Facebook you have now and how many will be after the ending of your project”. And it’s truth!
This quantity of new people, meetings, interesting conversations I haven’t had in my entire life. Firstly, my Purple Project team. We’ve been gathered from four countries: Ukraine, Russia, Jordan and Georgia. It’s amazing to live and work near the people with different mentality, trying to understand different point of view, and, the most important, to look at yourself from the other angle, being opened and to open something absolutely unknown.
I remember our first presentation “Intercultural education” for 10th grade. When we were walking to get acquainted with Romanian pupils, I was worried a bit, in spite of the fact that I’ve had experience working with children. But everything was fine: friendly atmosphere of the class, sincere interest in the volunteers – this encouraged us for an interesting dialogue.
Next very bright impression – culture’s event with the youngest pupils. Each of us presented their own country and I really enjoyed when kids were singing Romanian songs so clearly and loudly that I got goosebumps. I’ve made a video about that day, where I tried to catch that nice atmosphere.
One of the main topics in our project is “Interreligious and interethnic dialogue”. For me, as for Christian, is vitally important to ask questions my Muslim friends from Jordan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Algeria. I know, it’s sentimental, but tears came to my eyes, because I had no idea that people with the other religion could be so dear and close to me. I discovered, that Islam is peaceful and tolerant religion, and Muslims are so lighthearted, that I have no words to describe. The topic of religion I chose for my interview with the student of Craiova University – Simona, and we had fruitful discussion about interreligious conflicts and ways of their solving. To take an interview is awesome experience for me, these skills I want to develop in the future life.
An important part of my volunteering is my On-arrival training. Apart from big quantities of new useful information, new great acquaintances, beautiful Bucharest, I’ve received few global changes in my mindset. Let me explain in details: previously I had thought, that if you don’t like something in yourself, you need to uproot this and to plant new. But in dialogue with Portuguese guy Tiago I understood, that you should not throw away anything! It’s better just to develop that you already have. Each of us has all the germs and our task is to water and grow them up. This is real discovery for me, I finally understand that “New life from Monday” doesn’t work. Yes, this is one of the biggest presents for my mind.
Our project topics are people’s values, conflicts in humans society between adults and children, without doubts, lead my thoughts for formulation my personal point of view on different questions. Sometimes it is painful. So the topic of bullying made me to remember, how I refused my school friend just in the reason that the class didn’t like her. Understand now, that choice made influence on me. I try to explain to the pupils, how important is to stay strong regardless pressure of the society.
You know, I can continue my article for long, because I really like being here. And Craiova, and Romania travelling, and opened people from the different countries… I’ve got used to this new life rhythm, although time by time it’s needed to be on your own and to think about something private.
During this time my English is getting better. Sometimes it’s faster to find a needed word in English and often I realised that my thoughts are in foreign language. Also I like so much Romanian celebrations, so when 2018 year came, each of us was looking on the wonderful fireworks on the whole skies. This New year’s night with dances and songs outside I will never forget! And how exciting was being in church on Christmas, how warm-hearted and amazing were that Christmas songs!
It’s a lot behind, but a lot is in front of me. I strongly believe, this EVS project is an opportunity for becoming better version of yourself. Every day I face up people, who motivate, who share everything with me. Of course, I’m not stopping and I’ve formulated my aims for 2018, grand year of my life, but these aims are just my secret… so good luck for all of us!
I don’t want to write here a lot, I just want to say that volunteering is not only about work. Of course we should work and this work is not like a job for us, ’cause each of us enjoy what are we doing. If we don’t want the way of doing, we can change it, it’s possible to add something interesting and not only children will enjoy the activity, even we. That’s why every time we are playing energizers at school. We like it and for us it’s not a really work. And we like to have a rest and to make parties as well. It’s like an integral part of our life here, in Romania. Because if not now, when?
Sasha from Ukraine