Salut! Ce faci? My name is Maria Dolores Maeso Rus (friends call me “Lola”). I´m 22 years old and I’m from Jaén, in the south of Spain, Andalusia. I am studying social work, but before finishing my studies, I decided to live an experience like volunteer. And… I never would have thought that this experience would mean so much to me.
I arrived to Baia Mare, in Romania, on first of August for a project of 3 months and now, these are the last days of this experience. Time has passed so quickly, I cannot believe!
Team for Youth Association gave me the opportunity to be part of ReAnimate project. I worked in a multicultural team in which we were 4 people from Italy, France, Hungary and Spain. We did activities for children, our task was to prepare activities and to play games with them, like a social animator. We worked in hospital, different orphanages and “Esperando”, a center for disabled people.
It has been very rewarding to work with them. They were always waiting us and we really enjoyed our time together. We learned a lot of things during the activities with children, also we tried to learn a little of Romanian to communicate better, although we had also the help of the local volunteers that translated for us. We play a lot with them, they love to play outside, in the garden, they love to play football or just to go for a walk. They are children and we tried to make them enjoy the activities and forget bad situations.
We learned so much especially in “Esperando”. At the beginning, I was worried because I had never worked before with disabled people and maybe I didn’t feel confident enough. But it has been a pleasure, they have been an example for us, they are strong and smart people. We made a lot of activities together and they were always smiling. Also, some of them speak English, even better than me! But the story about my English is another thing!
When I arrived in Baia Mare, I was the only one Spanish in the association, so it was the key to learn and to improve my English, because I had no choice, but to communicate! And like this, I met so many great people: people like the Turkish mafia or the French Empire, they were a big group, and they were the funniest; good people from Romania; and also genuine people from Italy, Nepal or Portugal, to whom now it’s very hard to say goodbye.
It was one of the most impressive, enriching and good experience that I had in my life, I will never forget this country, the experience and of course the people, they have been my support here and are close to my heart.
It will be hard to say goodbye to the country, their culture, their foods, their drink… Sarmale and mamaliga, ursus, timisoreana and of course pălincă! I had the opportunity to discover Romania, we travelled, together with the volunteers, around the country, we discovered other cities and villages like Timisoara, Sighisoara or Săpânţa. Beautiful and interesting places. But, we also discovered the complicated transport of Romania… long long time by train or microbus, the hitch-hiking or the crazy drivers! This was Romania!