Experiencia del Cuerpo Europeo de Solidaridad

Marina and Alejandra's experiences in permaculture education

Promote intercultural values and volunteering through participation in local festivals, and to provide support to Eco Center Latinovac capacity in Croatia

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Proyectos europeos
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Voluntari@s
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Becarios Erasmus
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Socios internacionales

Short term European Solidarity Corps project took place in Latinovac, Croatia. It involved 15 volunteers from France, Spain, United Kingdom, Lithuania, Greece, Belgium, Italy and Austria. Project activities started on September 7th and finished on November 6th 2020.

The main goal of the project was to promote intercultural values and volunteering through participation in local festivals, and to provide support to Eco Center Latinovac capacity in permaculture education.

As we all know, the year of 2020 is full of surprises. Project team of Eco Center Latinovac will remember the 2020 autumn for having a great group of 15 young people all over Europe.

The project took an unexpected turn right at the start – planned participation in the two festivals – Aurea Festival and European Day of Languages were cancelled.

Did that discourage our volunteers? Did they lose motivation? Nope. The amazing and creative people that volunteered did a lot. And then some more! They were working literally until the last hours of the project.“

We are very proud to list all of the results of the project during the two month of activities:

–        participation in European Day of Languages

    • creating video content – Corona dance
    • invitation to the Tree of Wishes activity
    • translating the articles written by the children
    • design of the newsletter

–        organised Fall Festival 2020. – a one day public activity with 50 visitors, local producers, NGOs and performers

–        permaculture education total of 20 activities in theory and practice

    • 2 introductory education videos:
      • Hot composting
      • No-dig Gardening
    • carbon footprint
    • composting
    • gardening
    • food preservation
    • tree planting
    • construction

–        6 successfully completed personal projects (3 individual and 3 team projects)

–        5 intercultural recipe videos made – Italian, Austrian, English, Belgium and French

–        3 ESC ambassador visits were made to local NGOs to promote volunteering and European Solidarity Corps

–        9 activities helping in the local community – firewood stacking, roof repairs, house renovations, corn storing

–        volunteers have participated in the making of the video that will be used for the schools of Jakšić, Kaptol and Čaglin, as part of the project “Volunteering Caravan” and video about “Tree of Wishes” made with cooperation of schools Jakšić and Trenkovo

Volunteering contribution was made by the students of  Crafts High school in Požega, who got indirectly involved in the European Day of Languages by making a symbolic number of masks for the participants of the activities.

Project and the activities were funded by the EU Commission and Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes as part of European Solidarity Corps and ERASMUS+, and Ministry of Demographics, Family, Youth and Social Policy.

Marina

As I ‘ve received the news that I was accepted in the proyect, my first thought was something negative because I was a little afraid to go to a new country, in which I did not control the language. I was also scared about whether I would fit into the project and connect with the other people, even if I could communicate. As I have already said, my level of English is not very high. However, these fears were also part of the motivation for which I chose this project. I wanted and want to continue improving my English, keep in touch with the wonderful people who are part of this group and teach everything I am learning.

On the other hand, I was also very curious about what permaculture and composting would be like, what would be the place where I would live, the new customs of the country, where I would sleep, what the food would be like … I had many questions and doubts in my head. I felt like my heart was divided in two: between what I wanted to learn and the fears that I have discussed.

The first two days were a bit complicated because there are many cultural differences such as: eating times, food, work hours, starting to speak English, living with strangers. I felt strange being so far from home and changing my whole routine, it was like a personal challenge.

Today, September 27, after twenty days in Latinovac, I can say that I am super happy to be here, that I am very happy to share experiences and listen to those of my colleagues, learn from them and travel with them. There is very good energy between all of us.

Besides improving my English I am learning Croatian, a language that is spoken in this country. It is very difficult to pronounce but quite interesting. Also, when meeting people from different countries, we sometimes practice their languages, such as German, French or Italian.

About permaculture and composting it was not important or essential to know about the subject. We were all interested in learning the same. Both theoretical and practical lessons started from a basic level. It is very satisfying to see how what you plant grows, how the garden expands… It is very nice to live in community and to see how we all grow together, each one overcoming their fears or their limitations.

One thing I would like to highlight is what we have called the cultural dinners. Every Saturday the people belonging to a country prepare a typical meal of their country of origin. Also with some theater or game to get to know that country.

Until now, I could also say that I prefer hard work days before those that are more relaxed and especially dinner every Saturday.

It seems incredible to me that so much time has passed, and there are only four weeks of work left. Right now I don’t want November to arrive, I can only think that I wish this magnificent experience would be longer.

Agustina

Hopefully someone will tell you about this project, what you are going to grow, learn and enjoy with it. That they explain to you in detail what it can contribute to your life. As I would like to do it this time.

This experience represents a one-way journey to a new stage. Someone once told me about the European Solidarity Corps projects. It’s been more than a year that that idea has been around in my head, but it was finally put aside. Day to day, responsibilities, fears and my own limitations led me to live it at the exact moment. Today. Do not worry about this, life takes care of accommodating things in due time.

Amid a river of uncertainty and lack of encouragement, I have the opportunity to pack my bags and venture out again.

I was interested in reading all those proposals, almost all of them attractive. There was one in particular that caught my attention. I spent several days meditating on the idea and looking for a little information with everything related to it, comparing with other experiences and going in again and again to reread the description. I finally made up my mind. This was my first and only option. I filled in all the forms and while I was writing my motivation letter, I wanted to leave my soul, my essence, be honest, enthusiastic and make myself known through it. It only remained to trust because I knew that this was for me.

We did the interview. I remember they told me that they had all the volunteers chosen and that only one person was missing. For me it was already a fact, and indeed, I was selected.  At that moment, contradictorily, enthusiasm and fears were deposited in me. Everything I wanted to do, on the one hand, and on the other, I had to leave everything to carry it out …  A practice of emotional and material detachment that I appreciate every day. I gave away and sold all my things, I broke contracts, I left behind social convictions, I cut off relationships and I said goodbye to few people telling them that I do not know when I would return. And I started my journey.

I am enjoying from minute one. Nothing that my little head ever imagined is really happening. Here I am being able to connect with the real of nature or at least feel closer to it, go back to playing, running, laughing out loud, singing without tuning, breathing fresh air (or at least feeling it like that ), to listen to the sound of the wind without interruptions, to stop to observe the colors of the sky, to disconnect with the superfluous and reconnect with my essence, to see a universe of stars just by looking up, to develop the ability to communicate even if we do not speak the same language; to learn from others, to share from the heart, and to produce, see grow, see fruits, collect and taste them as if it were a metaphor.

When people ask me how your experience is being, I can’t answer with a single sentence. On the surface, I arrived with the intention of learning permaculture and gardening, improving my English a little more, surrounding myself with a multicultural context and experiencing life in a rural environment. And of course all this is happening.

I can only wish you that I hope you decide to put yourself to the test, choose under your instinct, encourage you and enter. My journey began the moment I was supposed to arrive. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re at that point too. It is worth trying, especially living it. You just have to be aware of the openness that this requires and that it resonates with you in your present moment.

Thank you ECO CENTER for receiving us in this place. Thanks to all the people who are sharing their energy and magic that nurtures me so much. Thank you VIDA for allowing me to have the optics, giving me the courage and enthusiasm to be enjoying this but above all, in this way. Thank you Yes Europa for providing this type of opportunity within everyone’s reach.

And saying goodbye, I would like to tell you that neither the place, nor the experience, nor the opportunity are the true authors of those lines, because the magic is made by each one of us. And that you stay with this phrase, perhaps the one that prompted me from the beginning:

«Let’s put on the balance what you want, against what you really need» because perhaps the problem is sometimes the solution.

¿Qué incluyen nuestras plazas?

Viaje

Un billete de Ida y Vuelta

Curso idiomas

Aprenderás el idioma del país

Dinero bolsillo

Cantidad fija al mes para tus gastos

Alojamiento y gastos casa

La casa y los gastos los cubre el programa

Seguro

Seguro gratis accidentes y responsabilidad civil

Comida

Tendrás una cantidad para comida y gastos corrientes

Pide tu plaza

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